.

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 02/2010

383 posts categorized " 02) Soups, Salads, Sandwiches & Snacks"

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 ~"

05/09/2018

~Creamy, Cheesy & E-Z Chile-Lime Refried Bean Dip~

I love a starry night. Sitting outside in the warm Summer air, watching the sun set and listening to my next-door neighbors, the dairy cows, lowing in the pasture -- it's peaceful. That said, on some Summer nights, Thursdays during June, July and August, a band plays "up on the mountain" (the ski slope to the other side of the cow pasture). Weather permitting, on those toe-tapping evenings, if you stop by, you'll find a snack or three on the table next to the cooler of Corona. My neighbors, music on the mountain, &, bean dip. This easy bean dip...... View full recipe for "~Creamy, Cheesy & E-Z Chile-Lime Refried Bean Dip~"

05/04/2018

~ Spicy Mexican Ahogada-Style Grilled Shrimp Tacos ~

If you're like me, an American cook with a fondness for Mexican fare, you most likely have a recipe-or-six for tacos (American-style ground beef tacos, grilled-beef tacos al carbon, shredded-pork carnitas tacos, shredded-pork tacos al pastor, chicken tacos, fish tacos, etc.). Today I'm adding another one, and, the inspiration for my creation came from the signature sandwich of Guadalajara: the Torta Ahogada (in Mexico, "torta" means "sandwich" and "ahogada" means "drenched", "drowned" or "drunken"). After eating these famous tortas for our Cinco de Mayo celebration, it occurred to me that making these shrimp tacos tonight might be a fine use...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Mexican Ahogada-Style Grilled Shrimp Tacos ~"

05/02/2018

~ Mexico's Torta Ahogada Drowned-Pork Sandwich ~

Torta ahogada. Culinarily, torta can mean several things: in Spain it refers to a pancake, in Latin America it's a cake, in Central America it's an omelette, and, in Mexico it's a sandwich -- the kind that, unlike the taco, fits the culinary definition of anything edible placed between two slices of bread. Generally speaking, in Spanish ahogada means drowned, drenched or drunk. Putting two and two together, today's recipe is: a Mexican sandwich, drowned or drenched in sauce. A traditional torta ahogada is a fried-pork and onion sandwich drenched in a spicy red sauce, and, this Mexican working-man's lunch...... View full recipe for "~ Mexico's Torta Ahogada Drowned-Pork Sandwich ~"

04/30/2018

~ Sink or Swim: Mexican Drowned-Beef Sandwiches ~

Tacos and tortas -- two staples of Mexican cuisine. They are to Mexico's culture what pizza and hamburgers are to America's -- you can't pass through a city or a town where you can't find either. If you're an American cook with a fondness for Mexican fare, like me, you most likely have a recipe-or-six for tacos (American-style ground beef tacos, grilled-beef tacos al carbon, shredded-pork carnitas tacos, shredded-pork tacos al pastor, chicken tacos, fish tacos, etc.). That said, how many Mexican torta recipes do you have in your repertoire? I'm guessing not too many, or none. Sink or swim:...... View full recipe for "~ Sink or Swim: Mexican Drowned-Beef Sandwiches ~"

04/24/2018

~ Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail (a Salad in a Glass) ~

Cóctel de camarónes. That's Spanish for cocktail of shrimp. If you're a fan of Southwestern spice, but never tasted a shrimp cocktail prepared Mexican-style, I recommend giving this Southwestern perfect-for-Summer twist on the classic a try -- plenty of plump, tender, poached (sometimes lightly-grilled) shrimp, swimming around in a citrusy, tomato, cilantro and spicy-hot sauce, containing pieces of diced avocado, cucumber, onion and jalapeño. It's a snazzy fork-friendly salad in a glass, not to be confused with its cousin, ceviche, which contains raw, cooked-via-marination fish and/or shellfish mixed with spices, citrus juice, vegetables and/or peppers. Traditional shrimp cocktail, as we...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail (a Salad in a Glass) ~"

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 ~"

04/18/2018

~ Roasted Chicken, Strawberry and Brie Sandwiches ~

Looking for a pretty-as-a picture Spring-Summer sandwich to serve at a ladies lunch or brunch -- one that, once they taste it, will appeal to the men-in-your-life as well? You found it. Tender and juicy, sliced or pulled, poached- or roasted- chicken breast, served on freshly-baked buttermilk biscuits or toasted English muffins is divine. Topped with a fresh strawberry vinaigrette, it's sublime. There's more. A woman, by the name of Helen Corbett, a food-service mananger for Neiman Marcus, is to thank for promoting several unique strawberry dishes in a big way: During the 1970's, the chicken, spinach and strawberry salad...... View full recipe for "~ Roasted Chicken, Strawberry and Brie Sandwiches ~"

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 ~"

03/24/2018

~ How to: Perfectly Reheat a Leftover Slice of Pizza ~

Pizza is a staple in my kitchen, and, as a wife and mother who is well-known for craving a "slice of 'za" at midnight, leftover pizza is not something I throw away. More often than not, it's a few slices of my beloved homemade pie, on rare occasions it's delivery, and, snack pizza, the kind we quickly put together on flatbread (like pocketless pita, Naan and English muffins) are, like bread, milk and eggs, omnipresent in my refrigerator or freezer. That said, I am not a fan of cold pizza. I prefer my serving of pizza to be hot with...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Perfectly Reheat a Leftover Slice of Pizza ~"

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~"

03/12/2018

~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 ~"

03/07/2018

~ Sweet Heat: Peanutty Thai Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~

Mae Ploy brand sweet chili sauce, known in Thailand as "nam chim kai", "dipping sauce for chicken", is a staple in my refrigerator. We use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things -- from lettuce wraps and spring rolls to deep-fried chicken wings, coconut shrimp and batter-dipped vegetables, almost everything tastes better with the sweet heat of this sauce. Here in my American kitchen, my family affectionately refers to it as "the ketchup of Thailand." Using sweet chili sauce in conjunction w/the right ratio of other Thai staples renders a vinaigrette no store brand can compete with....... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Peanutty Thai Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~"

03/05/2018

~ Thai-Style Chicken Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~

Mae Ploy brand sweet chili sauce, known in Thailand as "nam chim kai", "dipping sauce for chicken", is a staple in my refrigerator. We use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things -- from lettuce wraps and spring rolls to deep-fried chicken wings, coconut shrimp and batter-dipped vegetables, almost everything tastes better with the sweet heat of this sauce. Here in my kitchen, we affectionately refer to it as "the ketchup of Thailand." Using it in conjunction with the right ratio of other Thai pantry staples renders a vinaigrette no store-bought brand can compete with. A salad...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~"

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 ~"

02/25/2018

~Bread Machine Herbed-Pizza-Dough Sandwich Loaf~

Can your favorite pizza dough be turned into a loaf of bread? I have no idea -- it's your recipe. With certainty, I can tell you: my slightly-adjusted Sicilian-style pizza dough recipe can be turned into an amazing loaf of savory, slightly-firm-textured bread, and, what's more, I let the bread machine do all the work for me. Imagine the ingredients for your favorite submarine- hoagie-type sandwich piled high between two slices of herbed-pizza-bread, or, an herbed-pizza-bread grilled cheese or panini, or, crispy herbed-pizza-bread croutons tossed into your favorite chef's salad. Put all ingredients in pan & let the machine do...... View full recipe for "~Bread Machine Herbed-Pizza-Dough Sandwich Loaf~"

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 ~"

02/08/2018

~ 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~"

01/26/2018

~ Deli Corned Beef on Swirl with Sauerkraut & Swiss ~

The Reuben sandwich. I crave one once or twice a year. And when I do, I don't waste time baking homemade rye bread, slow-cooking corned beef, long-simmering sauerkraut, or, whisking salad dressing. I don't try to save time by ordering delivery or take out either -- I don't live anywhere close to a NY-style deli that can begin to make this sandwich the way I like it. I take the 10-minute drive to the grocery store, pick up the ingredients and pass through the express checkout. Store-bought everything is fine. In about 45-minutes, including the drive time, I am eating...... View full recipe for "~ Deli Corned Beef on Swirl with Sauerkraut & Swiss ~"

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 ~"

01/21/2018

~ 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 ~"

01/15/2018

~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~

Welsh rarebit -- the original cheese toast. It's worth mention that I've only eaten what I believe to be the real-deal once. It was in the latter 1990's, in Wales, in the exquisite Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel (coy-dee-moo-ster). It came to me as a complimentary side to a lovely salad (which I ordered after returning from shopping in the city of Cardiff). The cheese toast, along with everything else in this hotel, was perfect. I kicked off my high-heels and enjoyed it in my lavish room, overlooking the How-Green-was-My-Valley countryside, with a very English G&T too. I gave cheese toast a lot...... View full recipe for "~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~"

01/12/2018

~ Well-Seasoned Vegetarian Vegetable & Bean Soup ~

I adore our country's famous Senate bean soup -- chocked full of navy beans, shards of meat from ham hocks or shanks, onion and celery. Everything from its rich history to is smokey flavor and creamy texture is perfection -- I've even had the pleasure of eating in the Senate dining room in Washington, D.C. That said, I have vegetarian friends -- not many, but, they enjoy making their presence known in my kitchen. When they do, I'm happy to go meatless for a few hours. Yesterday was one such afternoon. A pot of this relatively-easy-to-make vegetarian version of my...... View full recipe for "~ Well-Seasoned Vegetarian Vegetable & Bean Soup ~"

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 ~"

01/04/2018

~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~

Everyone loves a home-baked sweet or savory pie or quiche, but, for those times when you are out of time, or, just don't want to take the time, from appetizers to entrées to desserts, making a puff pastry braid using store-bought puff pastry is a valuable skill to have. As long as you play by the rules, they bake up perfectly 100% of the time. What are the rules? I'm glad you asked. My three basic rules/guidelines for filling a pastry braid: 1) With the exception of the obvious (any liquid or liquid concoction that pours or flows), any solid...... View full recipe for "~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~"

01/02/2018

~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~

Imagine eating a freshly-baked, still-warm chocolate croissant at your favorite coffee shop. Just thinking about one of those divinely decadent indulgences makes me happy. Now imagine it super-sized, more than enough to feed four, with sweet cherries and crunchy almonds added to it too. Need I say more? Valentine's Day will be here before we know it, and, if you're looking to surprise the chocolate lover in your life with something truly sweet, stash the ingredients on this list in your pantry and freezer, then, start counting the days to February 14th. Tick, tock. From appetizers to entrées to desserts......... View full recipe for "~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~"

12/31/2017

~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~

We all have our favorite breakfast and brunch casserole recipes -- I'd be lost without mine. They taste great, they're easy to prepare, and, some can even be made ahead, but, let's face it: casseroles aren't elegant. They're low-key, family-style, comfort food -- the blue jeans of the food world. Newsflash: Occasionally, it's necessary to dress up -- and that extends to the food. If I told you I have a small repertoire of AM meals that make a stunning presentation, taste as good as they look, and, are relatively easy to prepare, would you want the recipes? I thought...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~"

12/28/2017

~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~

Circa 1980-1985 -- better known as the cloudberry jam period of my life. One of Joe's business associates (a man from Norway temporarily working here in Happy Valley) introduced us to a Norwegian specialty: small squares of grilled bread cheese topped with cloudberry jam. It was served as an appetizer at a cocktail hosted by Rolf and his Swedish wife. I fell in love with this cheesy treat immediately -- and said so. When I reciprocated the invitation, I was gifted a jar of the jam, a small brick of bread cheese and a package of stroopwaffes as a hostess...... View full recipe for "~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~"

12/09/2017

~ Cranberry and Soy Sauce Glazed Pork Loin Sliders ~

Intermittently halting the holiday preparations to interject an impromptu tailgate party into the festivities is a pleasant break from the hullabaloo. Who doesn't love kicking back on the couch to watch a game for a few hours -- for me, the feeling is akin to playing hookie from school. That said, coming up with a menu (after the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone and before the Christmas gluttony begins), is tricky -- for me, it's gotta be low-key, stress-free, easy, and, seriously tasty. Did you know that sweet and tart whole-berry cranberry sauce (the store-bought stuff), when whizzed in the blender...... View full recipe for "~ Cranberry and Soy Sauce Glazed Pork Loin Sliders ~"

12/05/2017

~ My Favorite Big Salad: A Hoagie Chef Sans Bread ~

Let's discuss it over a salad at lunch. There's no counting how many times I've said those words. One thing is for certain, I said them and I meant them, because: a classically-made chef salad is my favorite item to order on a lunch menu. Let's be clear -- I don't diet and don't believe in dieting unless it's for real-deal medical reasons. Eating real and well, anything I want, in moderation + avoiding the drive-thru, has always worked for me. My opinion of trend-setting self-imposed diets is one you don't want to hear -- you can't handle the truth....... View full recipe for "~ My Favorite Big Salad: A Hoagie Chef Sans Bread ~"

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 ~"

11/28/2017

~ 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 ~"

11/18/2017

~ My Twenty-Five Minute Chicken Thigh & Rice Soup ~

During the past few months, due to the illness of a family member, I've had to cook and eat more than a few meals in a hurry and on the run. Even with a sort-of unlimited budget, I found out quickly how time constrictions affect purchasing decisions. I'd never shopped the aisles of "quick cooking" or "instant" before. I'd always had all the time needed to leisurely cook breakfast, lunch or dinner, so, I admittedly found this frustrating. That said, I had decided early to look upon the drive-through windows as last resorts. Successes intermingled with failures, but, before long,...... View full recipe for "~ My Twenty-Five Minute Chicken Thigh & Rice Soup ~"

11/15/2017

~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~

While watching a late-night episode of "Locked Up" on MSNBC last night, I learned an interesting fact about those super-curly square-block instant ramen noodles: They are the #1 selling item in prison commissaries. That didn't surprise me as much as the reason: Prisoners buy them for the seasoning packets, not the noodles. It seems that prison cafeteria food is so lacking in salt, those packets get sprinkled on or stirred into almost everything. Get in my my soup! I learn something new every day (or night). In my kitchen, we use the noodles, not the seasoning packets. Amongst other things,...... View full recipe for "~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~"

11/13/2017

~ Dare to be a Square: Individual Breakfast Frittatas ~

As an egg lover, for me, a frittata is a relatively-easy quick-to-make hunger-satisfying meal any time of the day -- for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack. It tastes great served hot, warm, at room temperature or cold, and, leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave. A bit of slicing, dicing or chopping is typically required, but it's minimal, and, since frittata can also be a tasty way to use up leftovers from a previous meal, in some instances, no knife is required. In my food world, making individual-sized frittatas, a perfectly-portioned quick-as-heck protein-packed meal or snack that I...... View full recipe for "~ Dare to be a Square: Individual Breakfast Frittatas ~"

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 ~"

10/28/2017

~Crostini w/Bacon, Pickles, Chicken & Honey Mustard~

Write this list of five ingredients down. Why? Because together, they make for some stellar snack sandwiches. Lightly-toasted French baguette slices, crisply-fried bacon, crunchy bread and butter pickles, roasted chicken breast, and, a drizzle of tangy honey-mustard salad dressing (which pulls it all together and complements each and every component perfectly). Feel free to put a thin slice or two of soft, mellow French Brie underneath the bacon, but, no ooey-gooey melted cheese please. These sandwiches are best with everything at room temperature. That said, "you only get out of something what you put into", so, for the best experience...... View full recipe for "~Crostini w/Bacon, Pickles, Chicken & Honey Mustard~"

10/23/2017

~ The Ideal Cubano: La Ideal's Cubano Sandwich ~

Almost all famous sandwiches got their iconic status thanks to the working class people -- Cuba's Cubano is one such sandwich. In the early 20th Century, vendors who were stationed inside the workplaces, sold hot meat and cheese sandwiches to the workers. When these workers made their way to the USA, usually to regions in Southern Florida, they, like all immigrants, brought their recipes and traditions with them -- that included their institutional but beloved Cuban sandwich. A bit about the Cubano: Like all sandwiches, it starts with the bread. Cuban bread is light and crusty -- alot like a...... View full recipe for "~ The Ideal Cubano: La Ideal's Cubano Sandwich ~"

10/12/2017

~ Homemade Bread and Butter Pickle Hot Dog Relish~

How 'bout them Yankees? Even though my sandlot days of being the only girl (and a lefty batter) in a neighborhood of boys are a far and distant memory, I still chuckle that, when they were choosing sides way-back-when, I was always one of the first. I couldn't throw or catch for crap, but it never seemed to matter. I typically hit the ball head on, strong, and long, and, I ran fast. I am typically not an avid watcher of America's favorite past-time (because college football is my gig this time each year), but, plenty of my family members...... View full recipe for "~ Homemade Bread and Butter Pickle Hot Dog Relish~"

10/05/2017

~ Caprese: Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella Bites ~

I'm crazy for caprese, and, while these caprese bite appetizers are a bit fussy to make, they're fussy in a fun way. That said, when armed with a serrated knife and a grapefruit knife and spoon, I can hollow out the centers from about two dozen, 1" cherry tomatoes in about ten minutes (it's not rocket science). They're fun to eat too. Just pop the entire thing into your mouth -- all things caprese are compacted into one bite, and, there's no toothpick to throw away afterward. That said, we all have our quirks. I'm no exception. Today's example: I...... View full recipe for "~ Caprese: Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella Bites ~"

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~"

09/18/2017

~ Balsamic Mayonnaise: The Other Italian Dressing ~

We all have our quirks. I'm no exception. Today's example: I love Italian dressing, but I don't love creamy Italian dressing. I don't love Balsamic dressing, but I do love creamy balsamic dressing -- especially if it is mayonnaise-based. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike creamy Italian or regular balsamic dressings, I simply have my (quirky) preferences. While I often make my own, like most folks, for convenience sake, store-bought dressings have earned a place in my kitchen. There is always a bottle of Wishbone Light Italian dressing on the door of my refrigerator, and, for a time, I...... View full recipe for "~ Balsamic Mayonnaise: The Other Italian Dressing ~"

09/15/2017

~Grillmarked: Ground Chicken Caprese-Style Burgers~

Today is a glorious day in mid-September, but unless we get a wealth of warm weather and sunshine for at least two more weeks, it's probable that I picked the last substantive batch of our garden's tomatoes this morning -- and it's been a banner year. While walking my basket of dew-covered beauties back to my kitchen, I passed by my last full-leafed basil plant, the one I've been saving for that celebratory "last caprese day" of the season. Today ended up being the day. While I'm always, and I mean always, in the mood for a classic caprese salad...... View full recipe for "~Grillmarked: Ground Chicken Caprese-Style Burgers~"

09/10/2017

~ Chicken, Cheddar, Bacon, Apple & Honey Mustard ~

Write this list of five ingredients down. Why? Together, they are a stellar Fall sandwich (or salad) combination. Piled high between two slices of bread or tossed together in a bowl, along with some thinly-sliced onion and a few greens, they constitute a complete and salivatingly satisfying meal -- savory, sweet, and ever-so-slightly-salty, with plenty of meaty protein, tangy cheese, tart fruit and crisp vegetables. It all gets pulled together with a drizzly dressing made of honey, mustard and mayonnaise, which complements each and every component perfectly. I like to stuff everything into a pita pocket, but, I have been...... View full recipe for "~ Chicken, Cheddar, Bacon, Apple & Honey Mustard ~"