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236 posts categorized " 03) Entrees & Main-Dish Casseroles"

07/18/2018

~ Thai-Style Pizza w/Grilled Chicken & Peanut Sauce ~

Bread and cheese -- they're not part of a traditional Thai diet. Even the Thai-syle sandwiches and wraps we lovers of Thai food enjoy, are American or Thai-American creations. That said, in Thailand they do sell a very limited selection of bread and cheese in their bigger grocery stores (mostly manufactured Wonder-type breads and processed cheeses), to satisfy the cravings of Westerners living in Thailand. I know this from on-the-ground-in-Thailand experience. When travelers return home from Thailand, it's almost impossible to wean themselves of the bold, addictive taste-of-Thailand. That said, as an all-American girl, I did miss bread and cheese...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Pizza w/Grilled Chicken & Peanut Sauce ~"

07/09/2018

~Grilled Gem Wedges w/Blue Cheese, Bacon & Filet~

You can teach an old dog new tricks. As a gal, who, for the most part, prefers her vegetables cooked in some manner to enhance their flavor and texture, grilling lettuce was a technique I learned just a few short weeks ago. I haven't a clue why it eluded me for so long, except, in my own defense, I don't remember a chapter entitled The Art of Grilling Lettuce in my foodie manual. Grilling lettuce might not be for everyone. After all, we eat with our eyes, and our eyes have been trained to seek bright green, crisp. lettuce leaves....... View full recipe for "~Grilled Gem Wedges w/Blue Cheese, Bacon & Filet~"

07/07/2018

~ The Perfect 12-13-Minute, 2"-Thick, Grill-Pan Filet ~

Feel free to take your filet mignon into the great outdoors to cook it on the grill, but, I don't recommend it. Why? The filet, cut from the tenderloin and leanest, tenderest cut of beef, is the least likely to succeed over the dry, open flame of any seething-hot charcoal or gas grill grids. That said, indoors, on a grill pan, where it has a solid, steamy surface to sear itself above its own bubbling juices, the filet graduates at the head of its class -- with perfect, 4.0 grill marks too. 4, 8-9-ounce, 2"-thick USDA Choice Angus filet-mignon steaks....... View full recipe for "~ The Perfect 12-13-Minute, 2"-Thick, Grill-Pan Filet ~"

06/02/2018

~ Hong Kong's Cantonese-Style Tomato-Beef Stir-Fry ~

Sit down in any Chinese western-style restaurant in China, or, in any Chinese-American restaurant in the USA and peruse the menu. Allow me to point out, there will be just as many, or almost as many beef options as there are poultry, pork and seafood choices. Beef will priced accordingly too -- right up there with seafood, meaning more expensive than poultry and pork. This would lead anyone with an enthusiasm for Chinese fare to conclude: the Chinese must eat a lot of beef. They don't. In fact, most Chinese diners prefer pork to the stronger flavor of beef. The...... View full recipe for "~ Hong Kong's Cantonese-Style Tomato-Beef Stir-Fry ~"

05/31/2018

~ Chinese-American Restaurant-Style Pepper Steak ~

A few days ago, one of my Facebook friends posted a photo of her dinner, Chinese pepper-steak, and, for a few days, just like that song that gets stuck in your head, I walked around wishing everything I ate was pepper steak. As a kid in the 1960's, it was one of the first Chinese-American restaurant dishes I was introduced to, and, as a young bride in the mid 70's, it was the first Chinese-American dish I made in my own kitchen. By the time the '80's rolled around, I had three boys in elementary school, and, pepper-steak was in...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese-American Restaurant-Style Pepper Steak ~"

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 ~"

05/12/2018

~ 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 ~"

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 ~"

04/07/2018

~ 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 ~"

03/21/2018

~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 ~"

03/03/2018

~ Thai-Style Oven-Roasted Barbecued Half Chicken ~

In the wide, wide world of food, almost every culture has a favorite way to serve grilled chicken. In Thailand, that would be gai yang. Those are the Thai words for grilled chicken, more specifically a very small, whole or half chicken that's been marinated in a soy-and-fish-sauce-based coconut-creamy, cilantro-greeny mixture laced with fragrant lemongrass, ginger, garlic and scallions. Throughout Thailand, the recipe for gai yang does vary from cook-to-cook, but not very much. Not to be confused w/authentic Thai gai yang... ... mine = American chicken infused w/authentic Thai flavor. In Thailand, small, lean chickens are skewered, cooked over...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Oven-Roasted Barbecued Half Chicken ~"

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 ~"

02/20/2018

~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~"

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 ~"

01/24/2018

~ Hatch Green Chile Chili with Pork and White Beans ~

Having traveled to Mexico and New Mexico, I've eaten green chili a few times -- twice "as is", out of a bowl with tortilla chips, and once, burrito-style (wrapped up in a flour tortilla with avocado, scallion, cilantro and crema). It was excellent -- different, but excellent. That said, each time I ate it, I secretly wished there were beans in it -- and maybe a little jalapeño Jack cheese added to the latter one too. Today's the big day. White beans are going into my green chili and I can't wait. In many regions of Mexico and New Mexico...... View full recipe for "~ Hatch Green Chile Chili with Pork and White Beans ~"

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 ~"

12/15/2017

~ The China Syndrome: An Easier Chinese Char Siu ~

During December and January, like clockwork, without notice, and, for reasons unknown, I crave Chinese food. It happens every year. Sometimes I order take-out or delivery from my favorite two places, and, other times I take the time to make it. In either case, in my kitchen, I feed my inner-Chinese about once a week. I affectionately and chucklingly refer to my condition as: The China Syndrome. All snickers aside, note that a great percentage of my Chinese recipes get posted during the months of December and January. December of 2017 is no exception. Char = fork (noun & verb)....... View full recipe for "~ The China Syndrome: An Easier Chinese Char Siu ~"

11/30/2017

~ Spin Off: My Kentucky Hot Brown Mac and Cheese ~

When it comes to television, we all know what a spin-off is. A favorite character or two breaks from the original show to start another show with no change to their name or relationship to the original show. Maude was a spin-off of All in the Family, Rhoda a spin-off of Mary Tyler Moore, and, Better Call Saul a spin-off of Breaking Bad. Under the right well-thought-through circumstances, spin-offs can be a resounding successes. The concept is the same for recipes. I love it when this happens, and, in the case of today's recipe, my turning a decadent open-faced turkey...... View full recipe for "~ Spin Off: My Kentucky Hot Brown Mac and Cheese ~"

11/28/2017

~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~

Simply known as "the hot brown", or "Louisville hot brown", this Kentucky sandwich is a culinary legend. Invented in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, unlike many other famous sandwiches, this one was no accident. It was specifically created, from some carefully-selected, well-thought out ingredients, to please his hungry late-night crowd. It was a sort-of spin-off of the British Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock (a fondue-like cheese sauce "on toast"). We're not talking deli-turkey & store-bought cheese sauces. The original, now classic, hot brown was an open-faced sandwich consisting of oven-roasted sliced turkey on white...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~"

11/23/2017

~ Some Hot & Savory Open-Faced Sandwich History ~

There's no time like the week after Thanksgiving to dive into a discussion about open-faced sandwiches. After all, a great percentage of our United States's population just spent the weekend making hot, open-faced sandwiches using their leftover turkey, dressing and gravy. I'm no exception. Shortly after sitting down to write my recipes for Kentucky's Classic Hot Brown and Pittsburgh's Original Devonshire, two iconic hot turkey sandwiches, both with rich histories (and my next two posts), I took a break to research the finer-points of the open-faced sandwich. Why? Technically, open-faced sandwiches aren't sandwiches in the true sense of the word....... View full recipe for "~ Some Hot & Savory Open-Faced Sandwich History ~"

11/06/2017

~ Caribbean-Style Pork Chops and Onions w/Sauce ~

Porcine arrived in the Caribbean (on the island of Cuba to be more specific) when Columbus landed in 1492. It's been a favorite meat ever since, and, if you've ever spent time on a Caribbean island, you know there are pork dishes galore to choose from on restaurant menus, and, to eat on the beaches. Ever heard of "Pig Beach", also known as "Pig Island", officially known as "Big Major Cay"? Located in Exuma, an Island in the Bahamas, a colony of feral pigs roam around, swim freely, and, are fed by the locals and tourists. One tale claims the...... View full recipe for "~ Caribbean-Style Pork Chops and Onions w/Sauce ~"

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 ~"

09/30/2017

~ Caprese Chicken Meatballs w/Mozzarella & Sauce ~

A Summertime caprese salad. It's classic Italian, and, it's my favorite way to enjoy our Summer garden. Nothing compares to same-day-picked tomatoes and basil leaves served with fresh mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of fruity olive oil, and, some freshly-ground sea salt and pepper. That said, in my food world, for most food, I can find a way to enjoy its flavors in every season, so, come Fall, a warm bowl of caprese-style ground chicken meatballs simmered in a warm, garlicy, homemade crushed-tomato and basil sauce served with a few bocconcini (small, fresh mozzarella balls) along with some spaghetti is Italian-American...... View full recipe for "~ Caprese Chicken Meatballs w/Mozzarella & Sauce ~"

09/23/2017

~ My Thai-Inspired Sesame Chicken Thigh Paillards ~

Once upon a time there was a woman in Happy Valley Pennsylvania who was planning to make chicken Milanese for dinner. "In the style of Milan", it refers to a thinly-sliced and lightly-pounded protein dredged in flour, dipped in egg, then coated with breadcrumbs. It's quickly-sautéed in butter and/or olive oil until golden. It's crispy outside, juicy and fork-tender inside, and, after squirt of lemon and a parsley garnish it's served the moment it comes out of the skillet. It couldn't be easier, especially when cooking for just two. I refer to it as one of my flash-in-the-pan dinners. (Italian...... View full recipe for "~ My Thai-Inspired Sesame Chicken Thigh Paillards ~"

09/13/2017

~ Thai-Style Chicken-Tender Peanut-Butter Red Curry~

Peanut butter? Yep. Pulverized wok-roasted peanuts are commonly served with or in Thai food, and: Oh my Thai -- if you love Thai food, as I do, you want this recipe in your recipe box. If you cook Thai food, as I do, even if only on an occasional basis, I'm guessing you already have everything you need in the Asian section of your pantry and refrigerator to make this meal without making a special trip to your local Asian market. Is this an authentic Thai recipe? Yes and no. Yes, in that the flavors are authentic Thai. No, in...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken-Tender Peanut-Butter Red Curry~"

08/31/2017

~ Say Cheese: How to Make Velveeta from Scratch ~

Scrootch over homemade mozzarella and ricotta -- make some extra space in the cheese section of the refrigerator. Two days ago, my friend Teresa shared "a link to a link" for today's recipe on Facebook. I could barely compose myself. I, Melanie Preschutti, almost always being of sound mind, always have, and always will be: a Velveeta cheese lover. Everything from its pale-orange color to its squeaky-smooth texture and tangy American-processed flavor appeals to me. Teresa's Facebook share couldn't have been more timely for me. The college football season started this week, and, living in one of our nation's premier...... View full recipe for "~ Say Cheese: How to Make Velveeta from Scratch ~"

08/08/2017

~ New Mexico-Style Green Chile Chicken 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 either a deep reddish-brown chili-powder-based sauce, or, a roasted green chile and tomatillo-based sauce. After that, they're filled, rolled up, topped with cheese 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). The word "enchilada" comes from the Spanish word "enchilar" which means...... View full recipe for "~ New Mexico-Style Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas ~"

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 ~"

06/21/2017

~The Ninety Nine Vermonster Cheddar Cheeseburger~

Ninety Nine is a restaurant and pub chain headquartered in Massachusetts, with over 100 locations throughout the Northeast. With 47 locations in Massachusetts, 10 in Connecticut, 3 in Maine, 12 in New Hampshire and 2 in Rhode Island and 2 in Vermont, they know a thing or two about New-England-Style pub grub and hospitality. They boast no-nonsense food at down-to-earth prices and "a passion to serve". My one-and-only experience with a Ninety-Nine restaurant was in Vermont, and it was a very tasty one, in the form of a Vermonster of a cheeseburger. While a big juicy cheeseburger with cheddar and...... View full recipe for "~The Ninety Nine Vermonster Cheddar Cheeseburger~"

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 ~"

05/18/2017

~Thai-Style Grill-Pan Chicken Tacos w/Peanut Sauce~

Over the years, like many other busy foodies, I've come to the conclusion that tacos should be referred to as a style of eating. Like two slices of bread, a tortilla is a great foil for anything that tastes great in a sandwich. I keep corn and flour tortillas on hand in my refrigerator 365/24/7, and, on any given day, there's "no telling" what cold or hot leftovers I'm going to put in them -- anything and everything is "fair game". That said, over the years, like many other foodies, I've started coming up with fresh, new-to-me ways to serve...... View full recipe for "~Thai-Style Grill-Pan Chicken Tacos w/Peanut Sauce~ "

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 ~"

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 ~ "

04/15/2017

~ Mel's Petite Porketta for Joe's Jessup Sandwiches ~

It was the Spring of 1980. That's when I had my first encounter with this unique roasted pork roll -- in the form of a cold sandwich. Joe and I (newlyweds of four months) were visiting his mother Ann in his hometown of Jessup, (Northeastern) PA. Joe's brother Tom and his wife Kathy walked through Ann's kitchen door on Wilson Street shortly after us, and, once the mandatory cocktails were poured, Ann placed a brown bag on her kitchen table. It was quite informal and I had no idea what to expect, until Tom and Joe tore into it (which...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Petite Porketta for Joe's Jessup Sandwiches ~"

04/10/2017

~ A Flash-in-the-Pan Dinner: Chicken alla Milanese ~

I love it when I am inspired by something I eat in a restaurant -- when it's worth every penny and I can't stop thinking about it. Adversely, I dislike it when I'm disgusted by something I eat in a restaurant -- a waste of money I can't stop thinking about. I abhor it when I order a restaurant meal, fall in love with it, and a few weeks later, order it again and hate it. Dining in a college town is a frustrating sport -- inconsistency seems to reign supreme. With the exception of three now two establishments, I...... View full recipe for "~ A Flash-in-the-Pan Dinner: Chicken alla Milanese ~"

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 ~"

03/13/2017

~ 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) ~"

01/15/2017

~ Butter Me Up: Mel's Capellini a la Clams Casino ~

Classic and fantastic, I made clams casino over the weekend -- a retro Italian-American favorite appetizer that pleases everyone who loves clams. Steamed clams, on the halfshell, slathered with an herby bacon-and-garlic compound butter, topped with a mound of crunchy bacon-and-breadcrumb mixture, baked until golden brown. What's not to love. There were just three of us, two guys and moi -- we ate two dozen and would have eaten more (and I stopped at four). Earlier in the afternoon, as I was preparing the compound butter and breadcrumb topping, it occurred to me how yummy the butter would be if...... View full recipe for "~ Butter Me Up: Mel's Capellini a la Clams Casino ~"