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My Recipes-of-the-Week are featured here on my Home page. You can find 2000 of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch over 125 Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. "We are all in this food world together." ~Melanie

03/30/2020

~Would You Like Onion-Laced Steak Fries with That?~

IMG_0371Of course you would, and these couldn't be easier.  All you need is two pounds of your favorite gold, red or Russet potatoes, some olive oil and one packet of the onion soup mix you forgot you had in your pantry.  Yes my friends, a packet of onion soup mix is a souper seasoning for oven-roasted steak fries.  After five minutes of prep time, they'll need 1 hour, 15 minutes to roast in a 350° oven, which frees of your hands for other tasks.  That said, because steak fries are best served hot, right out of the oven, plan for them to be the last item to go on the dinner table.

IMG_03292  pounds potatoes, gold, red or russet, your choice

1/4  cup olive oil

1 packet from one box of onion soup mix, your favorite brand

no-stick cooking spray, for preparing casserole 

serve with suggestions:  steak, chicken, ribs or chops, prepared as directed in specific recipe, plus a tossed salad and/or sweet corn, for accompaniments

IMG_0334 IMG_0334 IMG_0334 IMG_0334 IMG_0334~Step 1. Spray a 13" x 9" x 2" casserole with no-stick.  Slice the potatoes into large, "meaty" wedges, 6-8 per potato depending on the type and size of potato, placing the potatoes in a 1-gallon food storage bag as you work. Add the olive oil and the onion soup mix to the bag.  Seal bag and toss until the potatoes are evenly coated in the oil and onion seasoning.

IMG_0351 IMG_0351 IMG_0351~ Step 2.  Transfer potatoes to prepared casserole.  Oven-roast the potatoes on center rack of preheated 350º oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes, stopping to toss the potatoes with a large spoon or spatula every 15 minutes throughout the process.  Remove the golden steak fries from oven and serve immediately.

Would You Like Onion-Laced Steak Fries with That?  Recipe yields:  4-6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 1-gallon food storage bag; 13" x 9" x 2" casserole; large spoon or spatula

IMG_0403Cook's Note: Along with every protein, the price of steak has gone through the roof.  For those who have a family to feed, these costs are cause to take many things off the table.  It's disheartening.  That said, by purchasing steak and serving it portioned and sliced atop a simple, uncomplicated, well-dressed salad (alongside a side of simple, uncomplicated, well-seasoned steak fries), it turns out to be reasonably economical.  ~ Steakhouse Steak Salad w/Onion-Laced Steak Fries ~

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

03/27/2020

~Copycat Chicken, Beef & Spanish-Style Rice-a-Roni~

IMG_0296Coming up with copycat recipes for three flavors of made-at-home Rice-a-Roni made for a fun few days.  Truth told, I love developing copycat recipes -- I'm good at it too.  From sea to shining sea, as items we've come to take for granted disappear from our store shelves, many have reached out to express appreciation for these recipes.  There's more.  Many have reached out to request these recipes. ~ Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix & My Copycat Recipe ~  is one example.

Rice-a-Roni -- The San Francisco Treat.

Italian born immigrant Domenico (Charlie) DeDomenico moved to California in 1895 to open a fresh produce store.  After becoming a successful businessman, he married Maria Ferrigno, an immigrant from Salerno, Italy, where her family owned a pasta factory.  In 1912, Maria persuaded Charlie to set up a similar business in the Mission District of San Francisco.  Gragnano Products, Inc., was born and began delivering pasta to Italian restaurants and stores throughout the area.

IMG_9880Maria and Charlie's sons, Paskey, Vince, Tom and Anthony worked in the family business, and, in 1934, Paskey changed the name to the Golden Grain Macaroni Company. Tom's wife Lois fell in love with a pilaf recipe she received from an Armenian immigrant, Mrs. Pailadzo Captanian, which she served at a family gathering.  After tasting the unique pilaf, which was made by sautéing a combination rice and pasta in butter before adding chicken broth and seasonings, Vince went to work developing a new product.  In 1958, his creation, named Rice-a-Roni, was introduced to the NW United States as "The San Francisco Treat".  Four years later, in 1962, it went nationwide.

Amongst Rice-a-Roni aficionados, chicken-flavored Rice-a-Roni is still the undisputed favorite.

~ Copycat Chicken Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat ~

IMG_9879~ Copycat Beef Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat ~

IMG_0054~ Copycat Spanish-Style Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat

IMG_0281"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

03/24/2020

~ Spanish-Style Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat ~

IMG_0281

Back in the 1960's my mom was the queen of Rice-a-Roni recipes.  I was the princess who loved them.  If I was feeling under the weather, she knew I'd rather have a bowl of chicken-flavored Rice-a-Roni than a bowl of Campbell's chicken-noodle soup.  She served the prince (my brother0 and I pan-seared hamburgers and gravy atop a bed of beef-flavored Rice-a-Roni, to prevent us from bugging her to buy overpriced Salisbury-steak TV dinners.  To two boxes of Spanish-style Rice-a-Roni she added two pounds of peeled, raw shrimp.  In our kingdom, our family of four we ate it as a sort-of jambalaya dinner.  Fond memories of kinder, gently times indeed. 

Rice-a-Roni -- The San Francisco Treat.

IMG_0230Italian born immigrant Domenico (Charlie) DeDomenico moved to California in 1895 to open a fresh produce store.  After becoming a successful businessman, he married Maria Ferrigno, an immigrant from Salerno, Italy, where her family owned a pasta factory.  In 1912, Maria persuaded Charlie to set up a similar business in the Mission District of San Francisco.  Gragnano Products, Inc., was born and began delivering pasta to Italian restaurants and stores throughout the area.

IMG_0280Maria and Charlie's sons, Paskey, Vince, Tom and Anthony worked in the family business, and, in 1934, Paskey changed the name to the Golden Grain Macaroni Company. Tom's wife Lois fell in love with a pilaf recipe she received from an Armenian immigrant, Mrs. Pailadzo Captanian, which she served at a family gathering.  After tasting the unique pilaf, which was made by sautéing a combination rice and pasta in butter before adding broth and seasonings, Vince went to work developing a new product.  In 1958, his creation, named Rice-a-Roni, was introduced to the Northwestern United States as "The San Francisco Treat".  Four years later, in 1962, it went nationwide.

Copycat Spanish-style Rice-a-Roni is super-easy to make, tastes the same or better, &, saves money at the checkout:

IMG_0221For the 6 1/2 total ounces (1 cup) of rice & pasta:

3 3/4 ounces long grain white rice (about 1/2 cup)*

2 3/4 ounces fideo, cut spaghetti  (about 1/2 cup)*

*Note:  Yes.  I really did sit around for two hours one afternoon separating the rice grains from the vermicelli pasta, from one box of Rice-a-Roni, to make sure the measurements are correct.

For the 1/2 total ounces (2 tablespoons) seasoning blend packet:

2  tablespoons Knorr granulated tomato bouillon w/chicken flavoring (Note:  Contains salt, sugar, cornstarch, dehydrated tomato powder, chicken flavoring, turmeric (for color) and annatto (for color).)

1 teaspoons onion powder

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

For the sauté and simmer:

2-3  tablespoons salted butter, for sautéing the pasta and rice mixture (Note:  I use three. The box calls for two.  I never thought two was enough.  It isn't.)

2  cups water, for simmering the Copycat Rice-a-Roni

1  14 1/2-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes, undrained

2  tablespoons dehydrated green & red bell peppers (Note:  1/4  cup each, small diced green and red bell pepper may be substituted.)

IMG_0233 IMG_0233 IMG_0233 IMG_0233 IMG_0233~Step 1. In a wide-bottomed 3 1/2-quart chef's pan with straight, deep sides (or a 10" skillet with a tight-fitting lid), melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat.  Add and stir in the 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup fideo.  Increase heat to medium- medium-high.  Using a large slotted spoon, stir constantly and sauté until rice and pasta are light golden, about 3-4 minutes.

IMG_0248 IMG_0248 IMG_0248 IMG_0248 IMG_0248~Step 2.  Slowly add the water to the pan -- lots of steam will billow up, so, be careful.  Add the diced tomatoes followed by the seasonings: the chicken-tomato bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder and dehydrated bell peppers.  Give the mixture a thorough stir and wait for it to return to a simmer, about 1 minute.  Adjust heat to a gentle but steady simmer.

IMG_0260 IMG_0260 IMG_0260 IMG_0260 IMG_0260~Step 3. Cover the pan and adjust heat to simmer gently until rice and pasta are cooked through and have absorbed almost all liquid, 14-16 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside 5 minutes.  Remove lid and rake through the mixture with a fork to fluff and separate the rice grains and pasta pieces.  Transfer to a bowl or plate and serve immediately.

Spanish-style Rice-a-Roni -- "The San Francisco Treat!":

IMG_0284Spanish-Style Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat:  Recipe yields 4 cups/4-6 servings.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides and lid; large slotted spoon or spatula; 2-cup measuring container; fork

IMG_9248Cook's Note: In New England, baked cod with crunchy Ritz-cracker topping is everywhere.  The first time I tasted this delightful dish was in the restaurant of the Killington Resort's, VT ski slope.  Most eateries, from big city restaurants to small town diners, have it on their menu.  Recipes for this cracker-topped fish-dish don't vary much.  ~ Baked Lemon-Pepper Cod w/Ritz Cracker Topping ~  served with a side of buttery green beans atop a bed of Spanish-style Rice-a-Roni is a delightfully easy weeknight dinner.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)