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376 posts categorized "20) Just Plain Easy & Crockpot Recipes!"

03/18/2017

~ Simply: My Butter-Braised Cabbage & Egg Noodles ~

Throughout Eastern Europe, cooks make a side-dish that basically consists of green cabbage and egg noodles. It's quick-and-easy, totally-delicious, unpretentious, old-world comfort food. I simply refer to it as "cabbage and noodles" or "cabbage noodles", because every country has their own ethnic name and spelling for it and every cook is adamant that "their people" invented it -- the Eastern Europeans are no different than the French or the Italians in that respect. Sigh. Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to halusky, haluski, halushki, haluska etc. They define them as "thick, soft, dumplings or noodles", and, "the name can refer...... View full recipe for "~ Simply: My Butter-Braised Cabbage & Egg Noodles ~"

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. ~"

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) ~"

02/04/2017

~Cold & Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip w/Wonton Cups~

Crab meat. I love it. Fresh, frozen or pasteurized, it's an ingredient that has rocked my food world. With it, I make an array of hot and cold appetizers and hors d'oeuvres. I use it to make steamy crab bisque and add it to several seafood soups and stews too. I adore an ice-cold crab salad or crab salad sandwich, and, I can't resist a well-made crab cake or crab cake sandwich. There's more. I can't count the of number classic main-course meals I make with crab. If you've eaten in a Chinese-American restaurant you know what crab Rangoon is...... View full recipe for "~Cold & Creamy Crab Rangoon Dip w/Wonton Cups~"

01/31/2017

~ Open Sesame Asian Chicken Slaw Wonton Tacos~

What in the wild-world-of-culinary-sports made me ponder turning wonton skins into mini-taco shells? Over the weekend I made two popular deep-fried Chinese-American appetizers to celebrate Chinese New Year: crab Rangoon and firecracker shrimp. Yesterday, I roasted a chicken, for the purpose of making some Asian chicken salad today -- to use up a few of the miscellaneous Asian ingredients that were leftover, which, included some wonton skins. Wonton tacos? Why not? They're a ton of tasty fun. A bit about making mini- wonton cups & wonton taco shells: For those who don't know, these small squares of flattened dough are...... View full recipe for "~ Open Sesame Asian Chicken Slaw Wonton Tacos~"

01/22/2017

~ A Plain, All-Purpose, No-Nonsense Muffin Recipe ~

Who bakes plain muffins and why? I do and here's why. I enjoy a lot of treats unembellished -- doughnuts, cake doughnuts, cream cakes, crumb cakes and coffeecakes to name a few. Heck, I even like plain cheesecake. That said, for those who prefer their muffins chocked-full of goodies (fresh or dried fruits, berries, nuts, chocolate- peanut butter- or cinnamon-chips and/or toffee bits), having a basic muffin batter recipe in your back pocket takes the guess and stress out of making all sorts of muffins exactly the way your family, friends and you like them -- simply by adding a...... View full recipe for "~ A Plain, All-Purpose, No-Nonsense Muffin Recipe ~"

01/02/2017

~ Sweet or Spicy Easy Sausage and Cheese Balls ~

On a scale of one-to-ten, with one being super-easy and ten being extremely-hard, these are a one. No slicing, dicing or chopping, just hand-mix four ingredients together, form into "meat" balls and pop 'em in the oven to bake. So easy a caveman can do it -- but that's not the point. They can be made in an RV -- a recreational vehicle -- the kind you drive from Atlanta, Georgia, to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, while partying with five other couples from your tailgate group en route to a Penn State game (which we won). The year was 1986 and we...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet or Spicy Easy Sausage and Cheese Balls ~"

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 ~"

12/02/2016

~ 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 ~"

11/30/2016

~ Dried Cherry-Berry & Walnut Holiday Cheese Ball ~

'Tis the season for holiday cheese balls or cheese logs. They're in all ordinary grocery stores and specialty cheese shops, or, they can be ordered from catalogs or on-line. For the most part, they are a popular addition to the holiday nosh table -- given to the right person, they make a thoughtful gift too. They pair great with any type of wine or champagne and almost any cocktail. Did you know these tasty (and often pricey) cheese balls are really easy to make at home? Back in the 1970's and 1980's, port wine cheese, and, the relatively inexpensive store-bought...... View full recipe for "~ Dried Cherry-Berry & Walnut Holiday Cheese Ball ~"

11/28/2016

~ The Morning After: Thanksgiving Stuffing Waffles ~

Thanksgiving. I love all the pomp and circumstance and I always cook a full-blown, traditional feast with all the trimmings. Stuffing. Next to a cold turkey sandwich on white bread with lettuce, tomato and mayo the next day, stuffing is the dish I like best (we all have our #1 favorite). I could skip the other stuff -- I'm fine with a plate of steamy stuffing and a ladle of gravy on Turkey Day, reheated the next day, or, a cold slice of stuffing as a snack for a day or two or three afterward. What's the difference between "stuffing"...... View full recipe for "~ The Morning After: Thanksgiving Stuffing Waffles ~"

11/22/2016

~ How to: Oven-Roast Butternut Squash (Halves) ~

I love butternut squash and every Fall Joe's garden gifts us with a few beauties. Some are big and some are small, some are short and some are tall -- I love them all. Butternut squash, how do I love thee, let me count the ways: 1) Sliced raw and baked into main or side-dish casseroles. 2) Peeled, cubed, seasoned and roasted, or, sliced into halves, roasted and mashed as tasty side-dishes. 3) Steamed to make purée for appetizers, soups and desserts. A bit about butternut squash: Butternut squash is one of our healthy super-foods. That’s great but I'd eat...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Oven-Roast Butternut Squash (Halves) ~"

11/20/2016

~ Easy Rosemary-Kissed Butternut Squash Bisque ~

This sinfully-simple, creamy-rich butternut squash bisque is one of my favorite go-to Turkey Day specialties. I don't serve it every year, but on years when my husband has harvested a bumper crop, it starts off our traditional feast. It looks pretty and tastes divine. There's more: It is indeed easy to prepare, and, it can be made two-three days in advance too. All it needs is a gentle reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave and it's ready to take to the table and serve. A bit about butternut squash: Butternut squash is one of our healthy super-foods. That’s...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Rosemary-Kissed Butternut Squash Bisque ~"

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 ~"

11/05/2016

~ PA Deutsch (Dutch) Sweet & Sour Salad Dressing~

If you live in or around a region in Pennsylvania (and other surrounding states too) influenced by a Pennsylvania Deutsch community, you know all about this drizzly, creamy-yellow, sweet and sour, onion-and-celery-laced oil-based salad dressing. So as to avoid any confusion, it is different from Amish sweet & sour salad dressing, which is a thicker, similarly-flavored mayonnaise- or salad-dressing-based concoction (Miracle Whip is referred to as "salad dressing" in Amish country). How do I know this stuff? I've lived my entire life in Pennsylvania (I grew up near Pennsylvania Deutsch country and currently live near Amish country). You say Pennsylvania...... View full recipe for "~ PA Deutsch (Dutch) Sweet & Sour Salad Dressing~"

10/22/2016

~ Buffalo-Style Blue-Cheese & Celery "Slider Slaw" ~

Slider slaw. That's the nickname affectionately given to this tangy little concoction by the football-watching men in my life -- the ones who like my bacon 'n blue cheese hamburger sliders on college game day Saturdays, and, my Buffalo-style shredded chicken sliders on professional game day Sundays. While I first intended this to be a side-dish, nowadays, if you were sitting around my house watching football, you'd encounter my guys heaping it atop their sliders. Slider slaw. This is not a rocket science recipe. In fact, it took me twice as long to make it today because I had to...... View full recipe for "~ Buffalo-Style Blue-Cheese & Celery "Slider Slaw" ~"

10/20/2016

~ Frank's-Style Buffalo-Style Chicken Wing Sauce ~

Wander into a bar -- any bar, anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. No description is necessary. You know you're getting unbreaded, deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and melted butter sauce. They'll arrive with celery and carrot sticks, and either blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping or drizzling. You will most likely be asked to specify if you want your wings coated in a mild, medium or hot version of the sauce. Buffalo wing sauce is a classic concoction. Read on: Frank's RedHot is synonymous with Buffalo chicken...... View full recipe for "~ Frank's-Style Buffalo-Style Chicken Wing Sauce ~"

10/18/2016

~ My Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo-Style Chicken Dip ~

The first recipe for Buffalo-style chicken dip I came across was published by Frank's RedHot. This makes sense as Frank's was the secret ingredient used in the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce recipe created in Buffalo, NY in 1964 by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo. Their easy-to-make dip contained just five ingredients (shredded cooked chicken, softened cream cheese, Frank's Redhot, Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing, and crumbled blue cheese). Speaking frankly about Frank's recipe, it was and is very good. During the 1980's, the recipe was passed around to everyone in our tailgate group and it showed up regularly at early...... View full recipe for "~ My Spicy Blue-Cheesy Buffalo-Style Chicken Dip ~"

09/27/2016

~ Chef Paul's Blackened Flank Steak Sandwiches ~

Chef Paul Prudhomme is credited for helping to put New Orleans cuisine on the map. I was lucky enough to be a young adult during what many consider to be his "heyday" -- the 1970's, 80's and 90's. I ate in K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen in 1981 (a restaurant he opened in 1979), bought Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen cookbook the moment it became available in 1984, and, never missed an episode of his PBS-TV show, Louisiana Kitchen, which aired in 1998. When he launched his line of Magic Seasoning Blends, I experimented with all seven -- Blackened Steak Magic and Blackened...... View full recipe for "~ Chef Paul's Blackened Flank Steak Sandwiches ~"

09/22/2016

~ Asian Broccoli Slaw w/Honey-Sesame Dressing ~

My love affair with all types of Asian food is no secret. Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. You name it, I adore it. Give me a recommendation for an Asian restaurant in your locale, when I'm in your town, you can be sure I'm going there to eat. I dabble in cooking a great deal of it too. I crave Asian and rarely does a week go by without my needing it. Some of my recipes have been classically learned, while others are a product of my own creative cravings for Asian fare. Indulge me in this delish 5-minutes-to-fix Asian...... View full recipe for "~ Asian Broccoli Slaw w/Honey-Sesame Dressing ~"

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~"

08/31/2016

~ That's a Wrap: Creamy & Crunchy Shrimp Salad ~

Wrap sandwiches were not something I grew up eating in the 1960's or '70's, and my children, who were growing up in the '80's didn't either. Mexicans, Middle Easterners and Greeks have been eating wraps since before the 1900's, but, the "American wrap sandwich", the one all of us are familiar with now (a soft flour tortilla or thin flatbread wrapped in such a way as to fully encase any combination of cold or hot ingredients one could put between two slices of bread or on a roll), wasn't invented until the 1980's. The concept of the wrap is as...... View full recipe for "~ That's a Wrap: Creamy & Crunchy Shrimp Salad ~"

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 ~"

07/28/2016

~Grilled Chicken Wings w/Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce~

Purists will tell you there is no substitution for deep-fried chicken wings. I used to think that too, and, if you want to stay wed to that train of thought, for the time being, it's still a free country. While wings that are oven-fried or grilled can't technically be referred to as Buffalo wings (no self-respecting Buffalo-wing-maker cooks them in the oven or on the grill), wings that are oven-fried or grilled really can be as good as deep-fried wings. I make wings all three ways, I know. Whenever I have a lot of wings to make for a indoor...... View full recipe for "~Grilled Chicken Wings w/Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce~"

07/23/2016

~ Perfect Peach Preserves from the Bread Machine ~

'Tis the season for fresh berries and fruit, and I especially love the fresh fruit and berries Joe grows right here in our backyard. That said, besides apples, fruit and berries don't have a particularly long shelf life. During the first three weeks of July, I've frozen our sour pie cherries and blueberries in 2-pound bags -- enough to make 20 cherry pies and 10 blueberry pies during the upcoming year. These two fruits are easy to freeze, and, they freeze really, really well. Peach freezing is not for me. The end doesn't justify the means. Peaches can be frozen,...... View full recipe for "~ Perfect Peach Preserves from the Bread Machine ~"

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 ~"

06/22/2016

~ Lemony English Pea, Mint & Gold Potato Salad ~

The typical English pea salad, or English pea and potato salad, the one that graces picnic and potluck tables this time of year, has never been my cup of tea. While I have no ax to grind with most of the mayonnaise and/or sour cream concoctions it gets dressed with, traditionally it is loaded with chunks of cheddar cheese and bacon bits too, which I think does those pretty, little, freshly-picked green jewels a disservice. It's not easy being green -- please show some respect! For me this is a KISS (keep it simple stupid) salad. Why? The moment you...... View full recipe for "~ Lemony English Pea, Mint & Gold Potato Salad ~"

06/12/2016

~ Dinner's in 20 Minutes: Japanese Teriyaki Chicken~

On days when cooking is a chore, having a few recipes like this tucked away in your repertoire will keep you sane. Yes, even I have those kind of days occasionally, and, recipes like this do keep me sane and out of the drive-thru too. Most times, they're faster than delivery as well. In the case of this meal, I simply put rice in my electric rice steamer, open a package of fresh broccoli florets, chop a few chicken tenders and get a bottle of teriyaki sauce out of my pantry. I don't feel one bit guilty about it either...... View full recipe for "~ Dinner's in 20 Minutes: Japanese Teriyaki Chicken~"

05/15/2016

~ Thai-Style Spicy Peanut Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~

Oh my Thai. Oh my -- I love Thai food. When I get to craving it, unlike a lot of city dwellers, here in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, running off to a Thai restaurant is not an option (for me). That's mostly because I spent a great deal of time, almost two years, learning to cook Thai. Happy Valley's Thai eateries: they're good, they're just not great. They leave me saying, "I could have done better at home", because I really can, and that takes the fun out of going out for me. That period of time, under the...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Spicy Peanut Sauce for Poultry or Pork ~"

04/30/2016

~ Unstuffed: Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Rolls ~

Deconstruct. It is perhaps the oddest new-age foodie word I have ever encountered. When the word "deconstructed" appears in front of a menu item, I find myself wanting to ask, "what was wrong with it to begin with?" That's because, historically, in my kitchen, the reason for me to deconstruct, or, "dismantle a dish piece by piece", is usually to find out why a recipe doesn't work. In today's world, it's trendy for some chefs to artfully arrange the wreckage on a plate, serve it "deconstructed", then, charge you twice as much to put it back together on your fork....... View full recipe for "~ Unstuffed: Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Rolls ~"

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 ~"

04/12/2016

~ The Lazy Lady's Homemade Corned Beef Hash ~

Who's the lazy lady? At breakfast time, that would be me. Here's the thing: When you are the family cook, exemptions from morning detail are few and far between. Everyone wakes up hungry -- babies, kids, adults, dogs, cats -- even goldfish. The whole danged world wants to eat first thing in the morning, and, the last thing I want to do in the morning is cook. That said, my conscience doesn't allow for slacking. Instant oatmeal packets, pancake and waffle mixes, and, pop-in-the-toaster tarts of any type are frowned upon. Exceptions are: high-quality store-bought doughnuts and pastry. Cooking morning...... View full recipe for "~ The Lazy Lady's Homemade Corned Beef Hash ~"

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~"

03/24/2016

~ What's Up Doc? A Carrot Pie w/Gingersnap Crust ~

In the Fall, we all flaunt our favorite recipes for pumpkin, squash and sweet potato pie. Well, it's Spring now, and I am here to tell you: anything a pumpkin, a squash or a sweet potato can do, a carrot can do better. It's got way more flavor than a pumpkin or a squash and a lot less calories than a sweet potato. There's more: besides being a great source of vitamins and minerals carrots contain more natural sugar than any vegetable aside from beets, which intensifies during the cooking process. Also, I have it on good authority, it's the...... View full recipe for "~ What's Up Doc? A Carrot Pie w/Gingersnap Crust ~"

03/11/2016

~ Get Out Your Whisk & Make this Tomato Bisque ~

You need recipes like this, I need recipes like this, all of us cooks need recipes like this. This creamy, rich tomato bisque is what I call a "go to" recipe -- one I rely upon for a variety of kitchen encounters. From unpretentious eat-in-the-kitchen meals to upscale dinner-in-the-dining-room soirees, it's a perfect starter course to plug into a host of menus, and, it pairs great with many salads and sandwiches too. Plus, there is little risk serving tomato soup because almost all folks like it a lot. I've handed out this recipe countless times, which is just how I...... View full recipe for "~ Get Out Your Whisk & Make this Tomato Bisque ~"

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)~"

02/27/2016

~ Pretty in Pink: No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecakes ~

When you find a big beautiful box of fresh strawberries in your market in February, you don't pause to ponder. Into the cart they go, you checkout, and, by the time you're out of the parking lot, your mind is recollecting "that recipe" you made "that time" for "that woman", who, two days before her Oscar party, decided to add mini-strawberry cheesecakes to her menu -- which caused you to go looking for strawberries in February -- not to mention 28 mini-cheesecake pans. "That woman" would be me, and, as I always say, "the devil is always in the details."...... View full recipe for "~ Pretty in Pink: No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecakes ~"

02/24/2016

~ Take it Easy: Cherry-Berry & Triple-Ginger Crisps ~

This luscious, easy-to-make dessert turns a gloomy, cold, wet, end-of-February day into a bright taste of sunny, hot, Summer. Made with frozen tart pie cherries, sweet blueberries and ingredients I keep on-hand in my pantry, it didn't require a trip to the grocery store or more than about twenty minutes of my time. FYI: A "crisp" is an American heritage dessert consisting of a fruit mixture topped with a crispy streusel usually made with oats. I happen to love gingersnap cookies (and all things ginger), which, when used in place of oats, gives it an extra-crunchy top. Why don't I...... View full recipe for "~ Take it Easy: Cherry-Berry & Triple-Ginger Crisps ~"

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~"

02/11/2016

~ Back to Basics, Plain & Simple, Date & Nut Bread ~

I found myself chewing on some dried, pitted dates yesterday. Nothing unusual in that. We were visiting my parents and my mom stepped out to go to the hairdresser. I volunteered to organize her refrigerator and freezer for her while she was gone. That might sound odd, but, I like to organize everything and my mom gives me carte blanche to organize whatever the h*** I want when I'm there. I found dates in the her refrigerator. The mind works in mysterious ways. Dates yesterday, a vintage date-nut quick-bread recipe today. Recipes for Date & Walnut Bread started being published...... View full recipe for "~ Back to Basics, Plain & Simple, Date & Nut Bread ~"

02/04/2016

~ The Hasselback Potato: A Majestic Baked Potato ~

The next time baked potatoes are on your mind or menu, and you have a bit of extra time, make a batch of sexy, stylish Swedish Hasselback potatoes. Want to feel like a rock star? Go the extra mile and make them using using small, fingerling potatoes -- people adore fancy-schmancy, darling-to-look-at, petite food. Place two or three on a plate next to a perfectly-cooked steak or pass a tray of them around at a cocktail party -- majestic -- to say the least. The Hasselbecken Tavern was established in the 1700's as a small red hut located in a...... View full recipe for "~ The Hasselback Potato: A Majestic Baked Potato ~"

02/01/2016

~Bok Choy w/Ginger, Garlic, Mushrooms & Noodles~

Eat your vegetables. No problem. I've always loved vegetables. Granted, I typically like some form of protein with or in my veggies, but, every once in a while, an all-veg meal is AOK with me. This is one of them, and, it's one of the quickest, easiest meals you will ever make. Cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable, is one I grew up eating, but, until I was thirty-something, it came to my table via round green or red heads. Thanks to publications like Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and Gourmet magazine, I began experimenting with recipes for Chinese bok choy (an...... View full recipe for "~Bok Choy w/Ginger, Garlic, Mushrooms & Noodles~"

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 ~"

01/19/2016

~ Chinese: Crockpot Chicken & Egg Noodle Soup ~

I take soup seriously. Next to a well-constructed sandwich or a well-composed salad, a well-executed soup is a perfect storm of a meal -- especially during a snow storm. Soup-, salad- and sandwich-making all have one thing in common: all components must play well together. Like a perfectly-tuned symphony, no one ingredient should take center stage for a solo unless the composer carefully orchestrates it. No matter how simple or complicated, if one ingredient is out-of-sync, the performance, while possibly palatable, will not garner a standing ovation. When one 4 1/2-pound pack of chicken tenders = 3 distinctly different delicious...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese: Crockpot Chicken & Egg Noodle Soup ~"

01/16/2016

~ Indian: Crockpot Chicken Coconut & Curry Soup ~

I am an all-American girl who loves Indian food, especially curry. I don't claim to be an expert on Indian cuisine, but, I dabble in it enough to know how to put "a pinch of this and a dash of that" in a pot or a pan and come up with an Indian-style dish that would make anyone who enjoys the flavors of India happy. What I'm attempting to say is, this is by no means an authentic Indian soup recipe -- a least not that I know of. The recipe didn't come to me from a person or a...... View full recipe for "~ Indian: Crockpot Chicken Coconut & Curry Soup ~"

01/14/2016

~ Easy-Does-It Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup ~

When I use my crockpot, it's not because I have no time to cook, it's because what I'm letting it cook for me, without compromise, is really good. 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, and, at present, I have more than a few uncompromisingly yummy slow cooker recipes. I won't lie, that took work -- on my part. Crockpots per se, and, the cryptic way almost all crockpot recipes are written are: not all that they are crocked up to be. Without exception,...... View full recipe for "~ Easy-Does-It Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup ~"

01/11/2016

~ How to: Make Crispy Crunchy Corn Tortilla Wisps ~

My husband tells everyone he married me for my taco shells -- it's a truthful joke. There was a period in my life when I made homemade taco shells like some people make homemade pizza -- once a week perhaps. The first time I invited Joe and his two little sons to my apartment for dinner in 1979, I made tacos for the kids. There I was, me and my tortilla press, putting on a show for my future step-sons while my own toddler rode his Hot Wheel in a circle around the coffee table while watching The Price is...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Crispy Crunchy Corn Tortilla Wisps ~"