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219 posts categorized "10) Picnics, Barbecues & Grills"

08/12/2021

~The Best Way to Make Slow-Cooker Babyback Ribs~

When it comes to slow cookers and crockpots, most folks either love them or they hate them, period, or, they neither love nor hate them, they use them due to circumstances beyond their control. I've heard all the reasons in favor, against and in between. Trust me when I tell you, I understand. I neither love nor hate mine. I simply recognize it for what it can do and do not try to make it do the things it cannot. The machinations of making ribs in a slow cooker never seemed right to me -- kind of like trying to...... View full recipe for "~The Best Way to Make Slow-Cooker Babyback Ribs~"

08/06/2021

~ The Bell Pepper Season & Why We All Love Them ~

Ok, maybe we ALL don't love the bell pepper but the majority of us do, including me. Served raw or cooked, they impart both flavor and color in all sorts of dishes from cuisines all around the world. At first sight, it's hard not to be attracted to their bold green, red, orange or yellow color, and, even if a recipe calls for a specific color, it's nice to know they can be used interchangeably -- although the green bell pepper is not quite as sweet as the others. Store-bought or home-grown, kept stored in the refrigerator, they have a...... View full recipe for "~ The Bell Pepper Season & Why We All Love Them ~"

07/28/2021

~Tomato Season & Why I Adore the Compari Tomato~

The Campari tomato claimed its fame in 2002 when a brief reference was made to it in the TV series, "The Sopranos." One mention -- it boosted both its relevancy in the tomato-loving world and its level of respect within the all-important Italian-American community. In 2003, Campari was rewarded with a 50% uptick in sales. To this day, it is my year-round store-bought tomato of choice. In my opinion, the Campari tomato is the most perfect tomato ever produced -- it's so damned flavorful, having the ideal balance of acid to sugar, and a texture that endears each one to...... View full recipe for "~Tomato Season & Why I Adore the Compari Tomato~"

07/18/2021

~ That's a Wrap Cheesy Flank-Steak-Fajita Burritos ~

A fajita-burrito has its origins in Mexico and features the best of two South-of-the border worlds -- all those luscious strips of well-seasoned grilled or sautéd chicken or steak, bell peppers and onions that go into fajitas, wrapped-and-rolled, burrito-style, in a large, warm flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans and scattered with a layer of Spanish-style rice and shredded cheese. The outcome is indeed the best of two worlds and, there's no need for embellishments either. Hold the guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa. Pick 'em up 'cause they're ready-to-eat. No need for embellishments. Pick 'em up -- they're...... View full recipe for "~ That's a Wrap Cheesy Flank-Steak-Fajita Burritos ~"

07/15/2021

~ Kids-Stuff Tex-Mex Broiled-Flank-Steak Fajita Filling ~

Newsflash. A flank steak does not have to be grilled outdoors to be a great flank steak. While grilled is very, very good, truth told, my oven broiler method does a marvelous job with no stress, guess nor mess. The end result is wonderfully seasoned, perfectly-cooked medium-rare steak. The process is so foolproof, I prefer it. There's more. Once sliced, a flank steak feeds an entire family. When the flank steak gets added to an easy-to-make sautéed vegetable medley, this meal feeds a crowd. It's perfect for any indoor or outdoor gathering any time of year. When the steak is...... View full recipe for "~ Kids-Stuff Tex-Mex Broiled-Flank-Steak Fajita Filling ~"

06/27/2021

~ Pack a Picnic-Basket w/Boxed Turkey Chef Salads ~

I might not be an outdoor kinda gal, but, I do enjoy an occasional picnic, if it's a Hallmark Card kinda day. That said, if I'm the one in charge of the food, I'm not one to traipse around the great outdoors carrying a basket full of food containers that are gonna cause me a whole lot of cleanup when I get back home. When I pack a picnic, boxed lunches are my way of enjoying the day and the return trip. There's more. It's doesn't matter what I'm making and taking, everyone gets a bit of everything portioned into...... View full recipe for "~ Pack a Picnic-Basket w/Boxed Turkey Chef Salads ~"

06/20/2021

~Wrapped and Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos~

A fajita-burrito has its origins in Mexico and features the best of two South-of-the border worlds -- all those luscious strips of well-seasoned grilled or sautéd chicken or steak, bell peppers and onions that go into fajitas, wrapped-and-rolled, burrito-style, in a large, warm flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans and scattered with a layer of Spanish-style rice and shredded cheese. The outcome is indeed the best of two worlds and, there's no need for embellishments either. Hold the guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa. Pick 'em up 'cause they're ready-to-eat. No need for embellishments. Pick 'em up -- they're...... View full recipe for "~Wrapped and Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos~"

06/16/2021

~ Nacho Mama's Sheet-Pan Chicken-Fajitas Nachos ~

Spicy fajitas and cheesy nachos. Together. Carefully layered on top of each other on a sheet pan. Yes, a sheet pan. Why? Because nachos require a perfect ratio of cheese-to-toppings on each chip and the sheet pan provides the surface area needed to accomplish that. Nothing is sadder than picking up a cheesy nacho to find no goodies on top of it, or worse, picking up a nacho chip overloaded with goodies to the point they all slide off onto the plate or your lap. Research has revealed that nachos made their debut in Northern Mexico in the 1940's when...... View full recipe for "~ Nacho Mama's Sheet-Pan Chicken-Fajitas Nachos ~"

06/13/2021

~Kids-Stuff One-Skillet Tex-Mex Chicken-Fajita Filling~

Tacos and fajitas. Akin to Cheeseburgers and pizza, I can't much conjure up four more kid-friendly meals. That said, if you're a mom or dad attempting to get your kids to eat more vegetables, it goes without saying, fajitas are an argument-free way way to get the job done. If you're a mom or dad trying to cut some fat out of your life, chicken fajitas will accomplish that too. There's more. If you've got a big family to feed or the need to feed a crowd, simply do the math and double the quantities. In about the same amount...... View full recipe for "~Kids-Stuff One-Skillet Tex-Mex Chicken-Fajita Filling~"

06/10/2021

~ Tex-Mex Skinny Chicken-Fajita Corn-Tortilla Tacos ~

Fajitas were originally named tacos-al-carbon and were served as portable food, ready-to-eat-with-the-hands, by wrapping strips of unpretentious skirt steak that had been cooked over a campfire or on a grill, in a warm corn or flour tortilla, meaning they were served taco-style. "Faja" is the Spanish word for "strip, band, sash or belt", and, with "ita" added to the end, it means "a little strip, band, sash or belt", meaning the ingredients for fajitas are always cut into strips. The dish dates back to cattle ranching life along the Rio Grande Valley regions of the Texas-Mexico border in the 1930's....... View full recipe for "~ Tex-Mex Skinny Chicken-Fajita Corn-Tortilla Tacos ~"

06/04/2021

~ My Dijonaisse-Dressed Baked Russet Potato Salad ~

I'm a lover of potato salad, and, when a hankering for it hits, I don't want to waste a lot of time getting from point A to point B, meaning, I want potato salad, aka as quickly as possible. For that reason, this is my "go to" recipe -- it's nothing fancy, but, it's done within the hour (and in potato salad time, that's quick). There's more. While the potatoes are in the microwave oven baking, I often chop some optional additions (celery, onion and/or hard-cooked egg), and mix them in too, but, I'm here to tell you, this quick-fix...... View full recipe for "~ My Dijonaisse-Dressed Baked Russet Potato Salad ~"

06/01/2021

~So You'd Like Perfectly Caramelized Onions on That~

Caramelized onions are a marvelous condiment to have on-hand. They're an awesome topper for a hamburger, steak or cheesesteak, they're wonderful on pizza, and, oh-my-sigh, I love them in a cheese omelette for breakfast. That said, it does take a bit of time and patience (not energy) to properly caramelize onions, about 40 minutes, but, on average, that's how long it takes onions to properly caramelize on the stovetop, and, after all, one can't serve French onion anything without properly caramelized onions -- quite frankly, they're the star of any French onion show. The words I use to describe the...... View full recipe for "~So You'd Like Perfectly Caramelized Onions on That~"

05/29/2021

~Dijonnaise -- Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard and Spices~

As far as mayonnaise-based condiments go, this is the condiment that makes everything taste fancy schmancy in a French kinda way. It is sooooo good on sooooo many things. To name a few: French fries, steamed or grilled vegetables, an ordinary ham or turkey sandwich, and, of course, a mouth-watering cheeseburger. There's more. It's great used as a dressing for potato salad. Make a big batch or a small batch, whatever you need, it's only going to take five minutes. Make a big batch or a small batch -- whatever you need: For my French-style Dijonnaise: 6 tablespoons high-quality mayonnaise...... View full recipe for "~Dijonnaise -- Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard and Spices~"

05/26/2021

~ Pan-Seared French-Onion Burgers with Dijonnaise ~

Easy and decadent? Yes, decadent. That's how I describe these cheeseburgers. Trust me. All the steps are truly easy -- very, very easy. That said, it will take a bit of time, not energy, to properly caramelize the onions, about 40 minutes, but, on average, that's how long it takes onions to properly caramelize on the stovetop, and, after all, one can't serve French onion anything without properly caramelized onions -- quite frankly, they're the star of the French onion show. The words I use to describe caramelizing onions on the stovetop: a super-easy babysitting job. As for the contents...... View full recipe for "~ Pan-Seared French-Onion Burgers with Dijonnaise ~"

05/17/2021

~ Sweet Potato Salad w/Apples and Candied Pecans ~

If you'd like to try, or are in search of, a uniquely-different delightfully-delicious starchy side-dish to serve with those barbecued spareribs, smoked pork chops or perfectly-grilled chicken at your upcoming outdoor get-together, this vinegar-based sweet potato salad, in place of traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad, is the ticket. Porcine or poultry, sweet potatoes, and apples, are a common, not to mention very popular, trio. The pickiest of eaters mostly agree they all taste great on the same plate because the flavors and textures simply put: all complement each other. The vinaigrette for this salad remarkably easy to make, as well as...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Potato Salad w/Apples and Candied Pecans ~"

05/11/2021

~ Three Ways to Cook Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops ~

Smoked porcine (bacon, ham, sausage pork chops, etc.), when properly smoked, is enhanced with a sublime slightly-smoky flavor and an enticing pinkish color, meaning the aroma is pleasant (not at all overpowering), and the visual is pretty. There's more. The smoking process renders the meat cooked, meaning, it only needs to be heated to a safe internal temperature prior to eating and the information is indicated on the label: 125° if fully-cooked, and, 145° if not fully-cooked. In the case of smoked pork chops, in my kitchen there are three quick-and-easy options for cooking: a broiler pan in the oven...... View full recipe for "~ Three Ways to Cook Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops ~"

04/29/2021

~Steak My Day - Summer-Up & Try 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 "~Steak My Day - Summer-Up & Try Pork Blade Steak~"

04/08/2021

~ Bone-Suckin'-Sauced Boneless Chicken Paillards ~

Bone Suckin' Sauce. If this is product you've never tried, I suggest you make the pilgrimage to your nearest Lowe's (yes folks, our local Lowe's home improvement and appliance retailer is the only place we can buy it here in Happy Valley -- they sell the sauce in the same spot they sell barbecue grills, which, makes sense), or, get it on-line on their website. My son in Pittsburgh introduced me to Bone Suckin' Sauce about fifteen years ago, and, without exaggeration, the first taste changed my life. Before long, I was buying this sauce, on-line, by the case. Over...... View full recipe for "~ Bone-Suckin'-Sauced Boneless Chicken Paillards ~"

03/30/2021

~ Easy One-Skillet Teriyaki Chicken-Thigh Paillards ~

As a lover of Asian fare, teriyaki-in-general is one of my favorite ways to cook. Teriyaki is as well known outside of Japan as sushi or ramen is, so, most American people, kids included, will give "teriyaki anything" a try. A bottle of teriyaki sauce has been a staple condiment in my pantry for as long as I've had a pantry, standing right next to the elites: Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, Hellman's mayonnaise, K.C. Masterpiece barbecue sauce, and, Lee & Perrin's worcestershire sauce. That said, teriyaki sauce is seriously simple to make, and, it can be customized to suit your...... View full recipe for "~ Easy One-Skillet Teriyaki Chicken-Thigh Paillards ~"

03/27/2021

~The Lunch Special BBQ-Sauced Chicken Sandwich~

More than a few foodie people I know, me included, secretly fantasize about owning a small-town, mom-and-pop-type diner -- a simple little eatery, with a dozen or so counter stools, plus a few booths lined up in front of a row of windows too. A safe harbor where the local clientele can meander in almost any time of day for a cup of coffee and breakfast, the lunch or dinner special, or, a slice of lemon meringue pie. A big piece of juicy barbecued chicken, hot out of the skillet, slathered in a copious amount of semi-caramelized barbecue sauce served...... View full recipe for "~The Lunch Special BBQ-Sauced Chicken Sandwich~"

03/21/2021

~Easy One-Skillet Barbecued Chicken-Thigh Paillards~

Next to Buffalo-style chicken anything, a big piece of juicy barbecued chicken, hot off the outdoor grill grids, slathered in a copious amount of semi-caramelized barbecue sauce is one of my favorite things. There's more. I like to take that seething hot piece of barbecued chicken and plop it atop a cold, crisp salad. Yes, of course, the hot chicken semi-wilts some of those greens, but when I put a knife-and fork to this barbecued chicken salad meal, I can't stop eating. A bit about paillard (PI-yahrd): This fancy French word means "to pound", and, references a lightly-pounded portion-sized slice...... View full recipe for "~Easy One-Skillet Barbecued Chicken-Thigh Paillards~"

03/03/2021

~Slow-Cooker Buffalo-Style St. Lewis-Style Spareribs~

Try as I might, I can't let more than a month or two go by without either: succumbing to the craving to deep-fry and eat Buffalo-style chicken wings, or, experiment with a new way to enjoy the sweet-heat of Buffalo-sauced anything. Today, I decided to try my hand at low-and-slow cooked Buffalo-style pork ribs -- when they were done, I finished them off under the broiler, just to crisp the fat cap and caramelize the sauce a bit. Remember the famous ad-man line, "pork -- the other white meat"? Well, I'll be making these again, and often. Life in the...... View full recipe for "~Slow-Cooker Buffalo-Style St. Lewis-Style Spareribs~"

02/28/2021

~ Mom's No-Nonsense Elbow Macaroni & Egg Salad ~

Mom's macaroni salad. This, now retro, 1950's era recipe is nothing fancy, nothing special, and, certainly not gourmet. It's simply old-fashioned, pull-a-chair-up-to-the-kitchen-table lip-smacking goodness. There's more, if one keeps this easy--to-make, creamy-crunchy picnic-and-potluck side-dish staple in their refrigerator, it only takes one scoop from the bowl to a plate to turn anything, from a lunchtime sandwich to a dinnertime pork chop, into a delightful meal. A bowl of no-nonsense, easy-to-make old-fashioned goodness: 3/4 cup high-quality mayonnaise 2 tablespoons ballpark-style yellow mustard 4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 1/2 teaspoon celery seed 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper 6...... View full recipe for "~ Mom's No-Nonsense Elbow Macaroni & Egg Salad ~"

02/17/2021

~Jiffy Mix Cornbread, Corn Casserole & Corn Pudding~

Three distinctly-different recipes with three decidedly-different results, all using one, inexpensive common-to-us-all, ingredient: Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. At 59 cents for each eye-catching blue-and-yellow box, it's been a time-saving staple in my pantry for over four decades. I am not alone. A week ago, there was discussion, on one of my Facebook friend's pages, about store-bought cornbread mixes. We discussed the rising cost of them, and, which one us "cheaters" consider the best. As it turned out, almost unanimously (Martha White gets honorable mention), it was the Jiffy brand. We went on to share our favorite ways to "doctor it"...... View full recipe for "~Jiffy Mix Cornbread, Corn Casserole & Corn Pudding~"

02/14/2021

~ In a Jiffy-Cornbread-Mix Creamed-Corn Pudding ~

A few snow storms ago, more than three storms and within 7-10 days, but, truth told, there've been so many snow events, I've lost track, there was discussion, on one of my Facebook friend's pages, about store-bought cornbread mixes. We discussed the rising cost of them, and, which one us "cheaters" consider the best. As it turned out, almost unanimously, it was the 59-cent-a-box Jiffy brand. We went on to share our favorite ways to "doctor it" up. Fun, yum and don't tell anyone it's a mix. Jiffy corn muffin mix, has been a staple in my pantry for over...... View full recipe for "~ In a Jiffy-Cornbread-Mix Creamed-Corn Pudding ~"

02/05/2021

~ Easiest Skillet-Fried Barbecue-Sauced Pork Chops ~

When my kids were kids, barbecue-sauced pork chops, served up atop a bed of my easy-to-make recipe for better than store-bought stovetop macaroni and cheese was one of their favorite weeknight meals. No one needed to be called to the table twice on barbecued pork chop night, and, I didn't have to spend all afternoon cooking in order to reap the reward of their accolades. All I had to do was brown the chops on both sides and then let them slow simmer in a mixture of barbecue sauce and water for about 30 minutes until fork tender. One-skillet perfection....... View full recipe for "~ Easiest Skillet-Fried Barbecue-Sauced Pork Chops ~"

01/30/2021

~ Broiled & Baked St. Louis-Style Sparerib Sandwich ~

An episode of Diners Drive-Ins and Dives left me salivating in the middle of the night last night. Guy Fieri's Triple D visited a place in Southern California that featured a barbecued sparerib sandwich. The eatery, of course, smoked their signature-cut of St. Louis-Style ribs, removed the meat from the bones, fried it up on a flat-top (kinda like burnt ends) then piled it high on a nice soft bun with slices of sweet onion and bread-and-butter pickles -- my kinda sandwich. As luck would have it, I had a package of St. Louis-Style ribs in my freezer, which have...... View full recipe for "~ Broiled & Baked St. Louis-Style Sparerib Sandwich ~"

07/26/2020

~ My Beat-the-Heat Sweet-Heat Deli-Ham Sandwich ~

Sometimes the simplest things are the best, and, many times, they conjure up great memories. When I was growing up in Eastern, PA, in our family, if any one of us was coming or going for any reason, we could always count on a supply of sliced ham, hard salami, Swiss and American cheese, in mom's pastel-yellow refrigerator. Sliced as thin as she could get the deli-guy to slice them, all four of us liked all four, and, on white-or-rye or not, we were free to get as creative with the condiments as we wanted. When it came to ham,...... View full recipe for "~ My Beat-the-Heat Sweet-Heat Deli-Ham Sandwich ~"

07/05/2020

~ Broiled & Baked Rack of St. Lewis-Style Spareribs ~

Not everyone is a master of the barbecue grill or smoker. Newsflash. Not everyone wants to be. While I'm more than competent on a gas grill, charcoal gives me fits and the smell of smoke gives me a blinding headache. There's more. When the temperature in the great outdoors is threatening to blow the top off my thermometer, you won't find me outside torturing myself in the blazing heat just to prepare a rack of ribs. It's the AC for me baby, and, trust me when I tell you, you're gonna love the ribs I'm making in the cool oasis...... View full recipe for "~ Broiled & Baked Rack of St. Lewis-Style Spareribs ~"

06/30/2020

~ Southwestern-Style Macaroni, Bean & Corn Salad ~

Macaroni salad has always been a staple at our Fourth of July feast -- just call me a Yankee Doodle. That said, depending on what I'm serving, I don't make it the same way every year. My recipe for classic macaroni salad goes on the table when we're serving all-American hamburgers and hot dogs. This year because Texican-style BBQ'd chicken and ribs (the ribs on Saturday evening and the chicken on Sunday afternoon) will be in the center of the table, my Southwestern-style macaroni, bean and corn salad will the star of the side-dishes on both days. While easy to...... View full recipe for "~ Southwestern-Style Macaroni, Bean & Corn Salad ~"

06/09/2020

~ Hellmann's Original Eight-Ingredient Potato Salad ~

Want to make a country-style potato salad just like your grandmother used to make? The kind that allows the potato to be the star of the show? Of course you do or you wouldn't be Googling around the internet looking for a basic, vintage recipe reminiscent of kinder, gentler, traditional times -- a recipe absent of a long-list fancy-schmancy ingredients (no special heirloom potatoes, no gourmet vinegars, no crazy-hot sauces, no silly spices, no asinine add-ins), that, while exciting-to-the-palate for the first few bites, just grow old in your mouth while muddlling up the flavor of the perfectly-cooked spuds. If...... View full recipe for "~ Hellmann's Original Eight-Ingredient Potato Salad ~"

05/22/2020

~ Platter Up a Steak, Pasta, Fontina & Catalina Salad ~

No special marinade, no fancy ingredients, no fuss, no muss, no stress. Yes, you read that right, and, when you and yours sit down to this start-to-finish forty-five-minute main-dish salad, if you aren't smacking your lips while plating your second helping with a satisfied smile on your face, I'll be shocked. Of course you can embellish it (sprinkle the flank steak your favorite steak-seasoning, grill the steak along with the tomatoes and onion outdoors, and/or make the salad dressing and crunchy croutons from scratch), but, trust me when I tell you, there is no need. As a lover of sweet...... View full recipe for "~ Platter Up a Steak, Pasta, Fontina & Catalina Salad ~"

02/22/2020

~ Crispy Outside, Tender Inside, Oven-Fried Chicken ~

The best oven-fried chicken has a crispy-crunchy outer coating encasing the juicy-tender meat. It's succulent. That said, to proclaim oven-fried chicken is as good as, rivals, or is better than traditional skillet- or deep-fried chicken is not something I'm willing to do. Truth told, it's neither better nor worse. It's different. Two different cooking methods produce two different results. Both qualify for fried-chicken status and both are marvelous, but, they're two different birds. Skillet- or deep-fried chicken vs. oven-fried chicken: Two different birds indeed. Immersing traditional fried chicken in hot-oil (or shortening or lard) in a skillet or in a...... View full recipe for "~ Crispy Outside, Tender Inside, Oven-Fried Chicken ~"

10/03/2019

~ Lemon-Dressed Arugula, Watermelon & Feta Salad ~

Watermelon salad in October? You betcha. It's been unseasonably warm here in the Northeast, with unusually mild-to-hot Summer temperatures lasting into our four-seasoned Fall. While most (but not all) of our garden has indeed met its end-for-this-year (Summer basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, etc.), the extra growing time has rendered it a stellar year for watermelon, which, in honesty, doesn't do well when the the days grow short and the temperatures go low. Twenty-plus years ago, watermelon salad was trendy everywhere. One of my favorite versions was served in a now defunct high-end French restaurant right here in Happy Valley: The...... View full recipe for "~ Lemon-Dressed Arugula, Watermelon & Feta Salad ~"

09/15/2019

~ The Perfectly-Seasoned 16-Minute Broiled Burger ~

On busy weeknights, or when I'm just plain pressed for time, popping a flank steak, a couple of pork blade steaks, or a few burgers under the broiler frees up my hands and some time to set the table, toss a salad or fix a side-dish and collect a couple of condiments. In exactly 18-, 22- or 16-minutes respectively (17 minutes if we want cheeseburgers), dinner is on its way to the table. To those who contend that broiling is not the ideal method for cooking any of the above, I say "poppycock". Position the oven rack 5 1/2"-6" underneath...... View full recipe for " ~ The Perfectly-Seasoned 16-Minute Broiled Burger ~"

09/12/2019

~ My Copycat Primanti Brothers Secret Slaw Recipe ~

On occasion I go to Pittsburgh. Just like every city there's plenty of sights to see, entertainment to be had, and, of course, lots of food. While Pittsburgh offers its share of show-offy fine-dining experiences, The Steel City, in my opinion, is known more for its blue collar, working man's fare. One of the most well-known, and most popular examples is Primanti Brothers -- trendsetters in sandwich making since 1933. When in Pittsburgh, you'll also notice that eating "alla Primanti's", "in-the-style Primanti's" (huge, overstuffed sandwiches topped with slaw and fries) surrounds you. Primani's 'slaw is vinegar-based and basic. Seriously folks....... View full recipe for "~ My Copycat Primanti Brothers Secret Slaw Recipe ~"

08/07/2019

~Lighten Up w/a Refreshing Tuna-Mac Garden Salad~

Occasionally, on a day off or a Saturday, my dad would fix his version of tuna salad for us. On mom's medium-sized meat platter, he'd make a bed of soft garden lettuce leaves, then add a layer of tomato slices followed by a sliced cucumber. He'd scatter a lightly-drained can of chilled tuna-packed-in-oil over the veggies, followed by a few dollops of cottage cheese. His creation ended with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Mom would make some rye toast, put a pitcher of iced tea on the table and lunch was served. It wasn't fancy, but our family...... View full recipe for "~Lighten Up w/a Refreshing Tuna-Mac Garden Salad~"

08/05/2019

~Tuna Salad w/Cottage Cheese, Tomato & Cucumber~

I picked a cucumber this morning. I walked to the the other side of the vegetable garden and picked a couple of tomatoes too. Checking out the vegetable garden in the early hours of the day, as soon as it's light enough to see, is part of my routine. My dad used to do the same thing. He'd come in the house, rinse off whatever he'd picked, put all the "stuff" in the dish drainer, then go out to mow the grass. Dad thrived on his routines, and, sans the lawn mower, so do I. While carrying my cucumber and...... View full recipe for "~Tuna Salad w/Cottage Cheese, Tomato & Cucumber~"

08/03/2019

~Sweet, Savory & Slightly-Spicy Curried Potato Salad~

For most of us, potato salad conjures up memories of exactly what our grandmothers made. And, for the most part, in terms of ingredients, the recipes for our grandmothers potato salad do not vary much. Various quantities of the usual suspects: potatoes, eggs, celery and/or onion, with a dressing made of mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper, sometimes pickles or pickle relish, and, an occasional fresh herb. Voila: potato salad. While we all have our favorite recipe or recipes, when offered potato salad at a gathering, this is the kind we Americans expect to be served. From my Eastern European heritage, in...... View full recipe for "~Sweet, Savory & Slightly-Spicy Curried Potato Salad~"

07/04/2019

~ A Simply-Scrumptious Summer Strawberry Cobbler ~

Fresh strawberry cobbler with home-churned strawberry ice cream, made the old-fashioned way, is going on our picnic table tonight. A few years ago that I realized strawberries make superb cobbler. I experimented on a whim and it turned out great. It was so successful, I tried this same recipe, substituting pineapple for strawberries that same Summer, meaning: I gained cobbler confidence. I don't know why it surprised me, strawberries contain a lot of citric acid, so, their own natural flavor makes them perfect for the relatively-fast turn-around in the oven required for a traditional cobbler. The moral of the story...... View full recipe for "~ A Simply-Scrumptious Summer Strawberry Cobbler ~"

07/02/2019

~Greek-Style Chopped-Salad w/Red Wine Vinaigrette~

When tomatoes and cucumbers are ripe for the picking, small side-salads accompany our dinner almost every evening. Our seasonal herbs du jour always determine what cuisine-style I'll lean toward -- dill for Eastern European, basil for Italian, thyme for French, cilantro for Tex-Mex, and, oregano for Greek. Once that's decided, the cuisine-appropriate embellishments easily fall into place. It's a pretty straightforward process, but, no matter what I decide, my all-purpose super-easy-to-make red wine vinaigrette pulls it all together -- you'll rarely find my refrigerator without it. This refreshing relish-esque salad, goes great with grilled chicken, any type of steak, pork...... View full recipe for "~Greek-Style Chopped-Salad w/Red Wine Vinaigrette~"

06/26/2019

~Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Cocktail w/Lemon Dip~

How much would you pay for this in an upscale restaurant? About $8.00 as an appetizer? Perhaps $12.00 as a lunch entrée? Both sound fare to me, but, truth told, this small plate of happiness is so good I'd happily pay more. 'Tis true, rake my shrimp cocktail over some hot coals and I'll follow you anywhere -- and pay a tidy sum for it too. Add a few slices of grilled bread, uncork a bottle of white wine, and invite a few guests to join you too -- it's that impressive. For the pucker-up lemon sauce for seafood or...... View full recipe for "~Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Cocktail w/Lemon Dip~"

06/20/2019

~ Amazingly-Lemony and Perfectly-Grilled Asparagus ~

Asparagus, served hot off the grill grids, drizzled with a bit of lemon-infused EVOO and white balsamic vinaigrette, is one of my favorite Summer side-dishes. Name it -- grilled steak, chicken or seafood, it plays well with them all. Interestingly, I sometimes serve it as an hors d'oeuvre too -- it pairs perfectly with melon wrapped in prosciutto. There's just something downright delightful about picking up a medium-to-fat, crunch-tender asparagus spear in my fingertips, politely swishing it a pucker-up, creamy, lemon sauce and savoring the lightly-charred flavor. Just eat. It's too simple for words, hence this short post. Grilling asparagus...... View full recipe for "~ Amazingly-Lemony and Perfectly-Grilled Asparagus ~"

06/13/2019

~ Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette ~

A salad without lettuce? There's no law against it, and, in the case of this salad, lettuce is just in the way. The combination of tender blanched asparagus, a few halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and, small, creamy, fresh mozzarella balls drizzled with a lemon-balsamic vinaigrette is to-die-for. The only item I do add to it on occasion is: a handful of crunchy croutons. Nothing more, nothing less. No other embellishments need apply. The dressing, loaded with lemon flavor and laced with subtle herbs de Provence, is the star of this salad show, so, don't stray from this flavor profile....... View full recipe for "~ Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette ~"

05/25/2019

~ The Retro & Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad ~

Wish-Bone Italian dressing. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. To name a few: drizzled on my garden salad or slathered on my turkey sandwich, as a dip for my vegetables, as a marinade for my chicken, and, as the dressing for the original Wish-Bone Italian pasta salad recipe. Growing up, right next to the bright- red Kraft Catalina Dressing and the creamy-white Hellmann's mayonnaise stood the Wish-Bone. All were condiment staples in my mom's 1960's and 70's refrigerator, and today, all remain staples in my own refrigerator -- although I now prefer Wish-Bone's Light-Italian version. Want...... View full recipe for "~ The Retro & Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad ~"

05/22/2019

~Three Great Tips for Making the Perfect Pasta Salad~

My mom always made pasta salad for Memorial Day. It was classic 1960's, Wish-Bone-Style -- rotini pasta with some cubed salami, pepperoni and American cheese, sliced black olives, diced onion and tomato dressed with store-bought Italian dressing. It wasn't gourmet, it wasn't even particularly exciting to look at, but, because it was prepared correctly, it was remarkably delicious. Our Memorial Day picnic, at our reserved picnic table, at Lakewood Park in Barnesville, PA, would have been incomplete without the pasta salad. Mom's Spring green Tupperware container went in and came out of the cooler several times throughout the day while...... View full recipe for "~Three Great Tips for Making the Perfect Pasta Salad~"

05/17/2019

~ Greek Pasta Salad w/Tapenade, Tuna and Tomato ~

Americans cherish the Summer. The deck chairs come out, the cooler fills with ice, the shorts go on, everyone slides into their flip-flops, and then, spends as much time in the fresh air and sunshine as possible. Some play sports while others garden, some like to swim while others prefer to sun bathe, but, each and every one loves to eat -- and a forkful of food simply tastes better in the great outdoors. Here in the Northeast, the land of four seasons, Summer has finally arrived and I'm kicking it off with a refreshing, main-dish pasta salad that is...... View full recipe for "~ Greek Pasta Salad w/Tapenade, Tuna and Tomato ~"

05/12/2019

~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~

My pantry and/or refrigerator are never without a can or two of inexpensive, mild-flavored ripe, black olives and a big jar of tangy green pimiento-stuffed olives too. Throughout the year, I toss either one or both, whole into garden salads, or, slice and use them to top an occasional pizza. That said, at the end of a long Summer's day, there is nothing like a well-chilled cocktail out on the deck with a salty snack to nibble on. A cracker or two with a slather of soft brie or chèvre topped with a dollop of tapenade is a favorite, but,...... View full recipe for "~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~"

04/12/2019

~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Marinade ~

The hamlet of Endwell, the village of Endicott, and, the city of Binghamton. What do these three places in upstate New York have in common? They each own a piece of the claim to creating a sandwich unique to their area, and, popularizing it to the point to hold an annual three-days-in-August food festival and hot-air balloon rally that attracts over 100,000 people to celebrate. The "Spiedie" comes from the Italian word "spiede", as-in cubes of skewered meat cooked on a "spit". An Italian immigrant, Camillo Lacovelli is said to have introduced the original spiedie to Endwell, NY, in the...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Marinade ~"

04/10/2019

~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~

Endicott, NY, is off the beaten path for some, which is why the spiedie sandwich just might be the best sandwich a lot of folks never heard of. The odd part is, growing up with parents who pretty much stuck close to their home in Eastern, PA, as a family we actually made it to New York every now and then, and, everyone in our family, including grandma, loved a spiedie sandwich. It was back in the 1960's, and, I was so young, I didn't even know I was eating an official spiedie. My grandmother, my mom's mother, had a...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~"