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

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 ~"

09/07/2017

~ Hey, Honey -- Pass the Honey-Mustard Dressing ~

Honey mustard. It's one of the simplest condiments in the food world to make, and, I bow to the mustard makers that invented it. In my kitchen, I use it as a salad dressing, a sandwich spread, a dip for vegetables, and occasionally, a glaze for baked ham. In the '80's, when my kids were in elementary school, there was always a jar of it on my refrigerator door. When we were traveling, if an eatery had chicken tenders and honey-mustard sauce on their list of menu options, my three boys were happy campers -- given the choice, all three...... View full recipe for "~ Hey, Honey -- Pass the Honey-Mustard Dressing ~"

09/02/2017

~How to: Make Roasted Chicken Carcass Soup Stock~

As unappetizing as the two words chicken carcass sound, culinarily, those are the words that describe what's left of a boned chicken (what's left after the meat has been removed from the bones), and, truth told, whether the carcass is raw or has been roasted, there is a ton of flavor in those bones. There's more, and this is important: Discarding a chicken carcass without extracting the flavor from it is such a waste it should be a crime. Whether I have raw ones (which I rarely do) or roasted ones (which I often do), even if I don't have...... View full recipe for "~How to: Make Roasted Chicken Carcass Soup Stock~"

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 ~"

08/25/2017

~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~

These appetizers were one of our Happy Valley tailgate traditions. I fondly remember one of our members, Joan Reilly, making them for our early AM pre-tailgate tailgates -- prior to leaving for the stadium. She and her husband Joe lived close to Beaver Stadium, and, it was not unusual for us to meet, as a group, on the cul-de-sac in front of their house, to wait for our friend with the RV to arrive from Harrisburg. While we were all chatting and sipping Stan's Bloody Mary's, Joan would pass around a baking sheet full of her cheesy English-muffin-based crabmeat canapés....... View full recipe for "~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~"

08/22/2017

~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~

When I was a little kid, pimento cheese spread was a staple in our refrigerator -- right next to the Old English cheese spread. I had absolutely no idea it was Southern. I thought it was Kraft. To this day, if someone puts a jar on of the store-bought stuff on the table next to a box of Ritz crackers, I'm more than happy to sit down and dig right in. Slather it between two slices of white bread and make me a pimento-cheese grilled-cheese sandwich and I'll follow you anywhere. Known as "the caviar of the South, or, "Southern...... View full recipe for "~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~"

08/13/2017

~ Hatch Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Tortilla Pizza ~

High-quality made-from-scratch crust, a fresh or slow-simmered sauce and some great melting cheese -- the three components of a well-made pizza. I'm no slouch when it comes to making homemade pizza, it's one of my favorite past-times for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon -- especially during the football season. That said, when I've gotta have "a slice", unfortunately, the world will only deliver the entire pie. That's why I've come up with a few creative ways to make what I refer to as "snack pizza", aka snack-sized pizza, using pita bread, naan, or, flour tortillas. Mexican-style snack pizza -- Taco...... View full recipe for "~ Hatch Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Tortilla Pizza ~"

07/29/2017

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

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

07/27/2017

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

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

07/24/2017

~ Spicy New Mexico-Style Ground Beef Enchiladas ~

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

07/16/2017

~ Strawberry Chicken & Biscuits w/Strawberry Mayo ~

Over a period of five-six years, Joe and I had occasion to be in the San Diego area once or twice a year, and, on a few of those trips, we had the pleasure of spending time at the La Costa Resort & Spa. Along with all of the amenities and services one would expect to find at a resort and a spa, they specialized in and excelled at serving lighter and healthier cuisine without being imposing. On one visit there, I encountered a refreshingly-fruity strawberry-mayo concoction that showed up in a tossed strawberry chicken salad with bitty bits of...... View full recipe for "~ Strawberry Chicken & Biscuits w/Strawberry Mayo ~"

07/14/2017

~ Spreads go Bread to Bread: Hellmann's vs Duke's ~

Mayonnaise. As a gal who loves deli-, tuna- and egg-salad sandwiches, I am never too far from my mayo. During the picnic and tailgate season, when side-dishes like macaroni salad, potato salad, cole slaw and deviled eggs reign supreme, I purchase bigger jars, in two-packs. When our garden tomatoes are ripe, I could (and will) eat a freshly-picked sliced-tomato sandwich, on white bread, with a big slather of mayonnaise, every day. There's more. I can't imagine my life without mayonnaise-based tartar and remoulade sauces in it, or, oh my Thousand Islands salad dressing, and, I'm very proficient at making homemade...... View full recipe for "~ Spreads go Bread to Bread: Hellmann's vs Duke's ~"

07/08/2017

~ One-Bowl Lunch on the Run: Tuna Macaroni Salad ~

I rarely make the time to sit down and eat lunch and almost never find the time to go out to lunch. I prefer to munch and crunch, while working, standing in my kitchen or sitting at my computer. For example: I am munching on some chopped cantaloupe, here at my desk, for breakfast, while writing this, at 6:30AM. Whatever time I get my mid-day hunger attack today, I'm literally going to, "stick a fork in it": tuna macaroni salad. I made it yesterday, am writing about it today, and shall enjoy it, in a small bowl, as a light,...... View full recipe for "~ One-Bowl Lunch on the Run: Tuna Macaroni Salad ~"

07/06/2017

~ How to: Make a Jucy Lucy Cheese-Stuffed Burger ~

A big, thick, juicy all-American cheeseburger with American or Velveeta cheese. I kid you not, I gotta have one "my way" about once a week -- topped with lots of onions, ketchup and a few dill pickle slices. Over the 4th of July, I decided to celebrate with exactly that, except, with a twist: I decided to try my hand at the iconic Jucy Lucy, a nifty Midwestern invention in which the cheese gets stuffed inside the 'burger instead of placed on top of it. The second you bite into it or slice it, the 'burger juices squirt out and...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make a Jucy Lucy Cheese-Stuffed Burger ~"

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~"

06/18/2017

~ A Classic Cobb Salad: Open-Faced Sandwich-Style ~

A restaurant that serves a great Cobb or chef's salad for lunch is a restaurant I will frequent. Like Seinfeld's Elaine, I like a big salad, light on the lettuce with a lot of perfectly-cooked good stuff in it, right down to more-than-a-few crunchy, buttery-rich croutons on top. The Cobb and chef's salads are both "composed salads", meaning, they are a pretty-to-look-at, arranged-on-a-plate, high-quality, meal unto themselves -- a perfectly-balanced mixture of color, flavor and texture. At the discretion of the chef, a combination of impeccably-fresh and perfectly-cooked ingredients (via poaching, simmering, boiling, marinating, roasting, broiling, baking, grilling, etc.) get...... View full recipe for "~ A Classic Cobb Salad: Open-Faced Sandwich-Style ~"

05/21/2017

~ Joe's Caribbean Chicken Dog w/Joe's Island Salsa ~

Because a lot of Americans will be firing up their grills this weekend, there's no time like the present for me to talk about an experiment I conducted on myself this week: chicken hot dogs. For years I've been telling people "I think I was a hot dog in a past life" (that is how much I love high-quality all-beef franks). That said, chicken hot dogs have been popping up (again) in stores of late. For years I've been saying, "If you dislike something, you really ought to try it once every ten years, just to see if your taste...... View full recipe for "~ Joe's Caribbean Chicken Dog w/Joe's Island Salsa ~"

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~ "

05/15/2017

~ Cooking 101 for One: Asian Ramen & Steak Salad ~

Occasionally I'm left alone at "the palace". This means I'm in the odd-for-me predicament of cooking for one. This typically involves a bowl of raisin bran in front of the computer in the morning, a wrap sandwich on the deck in the afternoon sun, and, a bag of microwave popcorn in front of the TV at night -- certainly nothing to write home about. Today, however, leftovers (a rare-cooked steak, Asian dipping sauce and diced scallions from my last blog post, a bag of matchstick carrots in the vegetable drawer of my refrigerator and ramen noodles in my pantry), inspired...... View full recipe for "~ Cooking 101 for One: Asian Ramen & Steak Salad ~"

05/10/2017

~ Savory Chinese-Style Scallion Pancakes (Flatbread)~

Crispy and flaky on the outside, tender and ever-so-slightly chewy on the inside, served hot out of the skillet or reheated in the toaster oven the next day, scallion pancakes are one of my favorite Chinese appetizers. Unlike our Western pancake, which is made by pouring a thickened batter into a skillet, the scallion pancake is made with an unleavened bread dough -- a kneaded mixture of flour, very hot water and salt which gets rolled into the shape of a pancake. In China, scallion pancakes are both a street food and a restaurant item. They are on the menus...... View full recipe for "~ Savory Chinese-Style Scallion Pancakes (Flatbread)~"

05/02/2017

~ The Iwatani Twelve-Minute Tornado Cheeseburger ~

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

04/23/2017

~ 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 ~ "

04/20/2017

~ Sour Cream and Dill Dressing for Cucumber Salad ~

Fresh, feathery and fragile dill "leaves" or "weed". It's a bit early for it to be available to me in my Central PA garden, but: big, beautiful bunches of it are showing up in my grocery stores. In Eastern European kitchens everywhere, dill, along with chives, mint and/or parsley, are commonly used to flavor all sorts of heritage dishes: fish (like salmon or sturgeon), various soups (notably red or white borscht), many vegetables (especially carrots or potatoes), and, classic dill pickles (or anything that can be pickled). The sweet, subtle flavor of dill is delightful in many of our ethnic...... View full recipe for "~ Sour Cream and Dill Dressing for Cucumber Salad ~"

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 ~"

04/12/2017

~ Happy-Valley-Ranch Deep-Fried Chicken Sandwich ~

One of my favorite all-weather meals is a piece or two of crispy and nicely-seasoned roasted, grilled or fried chicken. Pair it up with a well-appointed salad drizzled with creamy Ranch dressing and I can't resist it. It's gotta be Ranch dressing too -- no substitutions. Save the blue cheese dressing for chicken wings, Buffalo-style chicken 'burgers and all things beef. In my Happy Valley, PA kitchen, "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy", and this is my sandwich. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing has a fascinating history: A little over 50 years ago no one had ever heard of ranch...... View full recipe for "~ Happy-Valley-Ranch Deep-Fried Chicken Sandwich ~"

04/06/2017

~My Fully-Loaded Roast Beef Grilled Cheese Sammie~

Calling all carnivores. Gather round my table. You've got a friend in Pennsylvania. I love beef, and, when it comes to beef sandwiches, as much as I love a great cheeseburger with all the fixin's (on a cottony-soft white-sandwich-bread-type roll), I like a roast beef grilled cheese sandwich with all the fixin's (on two slices of firm-textured sourdough-type-bread) better. There's more. I prefer my cheeseburger to be thick, juicy, medium-rare cooked and topped with a slice or two of American cheese, ketchup and caramelized onions. I demand my roast beef grilled cheese be loaded with thinly-sliced rare-cooked beef (preferably home...... View full recipe for "~My Fully-Loaded Roast Beef Grilled Cheese Sammie~"

04/03/2017

~Braaibroodjie: South African Grilled Cheese Sammie~

Grilled cheese sandwiches. They've been embedded in our American food culture since the 1920's. That's approximately when affordable sliced white bread and inexpensive processed American cheese hit the market. Because this hunger-satifying sandwich was inexpensive, easy to make (under a broiler, on a flat-top griddle, or, in a skillet), and, met our government's nutritional standards, our Armed Forces began serving thousands of them to servicemen stationed all over the globe. Post WWII, the institutional food service industry (hospitals, prisons, school cafeterias, etc.) started pairing grilled cheese with tomato soup to provide the required Vitamin C component in order to call...... View full recipe for "~Braaibroodjie: South African Grilled Cheese Sammie~"