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265 posts categorized "11) Parties, Holidays & Celebrations"

08/18/2022

~ Four Fab Recipes Using Lipton Onion Soup Mix ~

It's said to have been created by an unknown French cook in Los Angeles in 1954 and was intended to mimic the taste of French onion soup. The recipe became such a popular addition to the fare served in martini-drinking social circles, it got printed in a local newspaper. Shortly after, in 1955, the Lipton company promoted it on the TV show "Arthur Godfry's Talent Scouts", touting it as "Lipton California Dip", and followed that up with ad campaigns in supermarkets and on television. In 1959, the recipe was added to the Lipton instant onion soup package, where it remains...... View full recipe for "~ Four Fab Recipes Using Lipton Onion Soup Mix ~"

08/15/2022

~ The Lipton 1954 Classic French Onion Dip Recipe ~

Lipton's Classic French Onion Dip. It's made from one packet of Lipton's boxed French Onion Soup Mix stirred into one 16-ounce container of sour cream This beloved all-American flavor-infused concoction is meant as a dip for potato chips and vegetables -- it deserves to be served with a sense of pride. The packed contains a mix of dehydrated onion, onion powder and other herbs and seasonings, which can be used to flavor burgers, meatloaf and roasted potatoes too. From California Dip in 1954 to French Onion Dip in 1960 -- Lipton cornered the market on it. It's said to have...... View full recipe for "~ The Lipton 1954 Classic French Onion Dip Recipe ~"

07/31/2022

~ Pasteurized Crab -- What's in the can for that Cost ~

A couple days ago I restocked my supply of pasteurized crabmeat for the upcoming tailgate and holiday season. I do it every year around this time, and, I was down to my last can, so, I bought three more. Like most folks, I love to eat crabmeat, and, while fresh crab is indeed a delicacy, for my purposes pasteurized crab is my first choice. Like fresh crabmeat, it must be stored in the refrigeratory, but unlike fresh crab it has a very long shelf life -- up to 18 months. What's not to love about that. Because it's pasteurized, it's...... View full recipe for "~ Pasteurized Crab -- What's in the can for that Cost ~"

03/30/2022

~ Chick-fil-A -- Rave Review of Five-Dipping-Sauces ~

For the love of chicken sandwiches, I admit to being a fair-weather fan of our local Chick-fil-A fast-food chain restaurant. All of THEIR not-my-cup-of-tea politics aside, on occasion, if it's a really nice day and I feel the need to relax and get away from my stove, I enjoy the drive across town to pick up one of their signature chicken sandwiches. As one who loves chicken sandwiches many ways, their trademarked slogan, "We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich," their "Eat more Chikin" cow commercials, and, Doodles, their mascot, all make me smile. When one is perusing...... View full recipe for "~ Chick-fil-A -- Rave Review of Five-Dipping-Sauces ~ "

03/21/2022

~No Secrets in Hidden Valley Ranch's Secret Sauces~

I am a huge fan of Hidden Valley ranch dressing. If you and yours are too, be it a picnic, potluck or party, Hidden Valley Ranch has a secret sauce ready and waiting on a shelf in a grocery store near you. Labeled as Golden, Spicy, Smokehouse and Original, there is one that is guaranteed to be a great mate to whatever fare you're serving. No one enjoys a scratch-made condiment more than me and no one enjoys a creamy scratch-made condiment more than me, but, I gotta be honest, when I come across one or four in my store,...... View full recipe for "~No Secrets in Hidden Valley Ranch's Secret Sauces~"

03/18/2022

~ Bagel-Bites Mini-Bagel Sausage & Mushroom Pizza~

While no one agrees on who made or sold the first pizza bagel, in 1985, Stanley Garcaynski and Bob Mosher invented Bagel Bites using custom-made mini-bagels. They adapted the recipe from the back of a package of Lender's bagels, and that little schtick made these two a lot of money really fast. They began by marketing their edible pub-grub invention to local restaurants, bars and hotels, and, after almost instant success, within six short years, they sold the company and brand name "Bagel Bites" to Heinz (owner of Ore-Ida) in 1991. The American dream come true. The 90s -- they...... View full recipe for "~ Bagel-Bites Mini-Bagel Sausage & Mushroom Pizza~"

03/15/2022

~Bagel Bites Mini-Bagel Mini-Pepperoni Snack Pizza~

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the 90s -- the decade of Bagel Bites, aka mini-bagel pizzas. They were the trendy after school snack of the era. For the most part, I emerged from this unscathed, meaning: I escaped the worst of it -- my kids were in their 20s by 1996. That said, I remember these freezer-to-toaster-oven treats for one reason: the uber-annoying theme song of the Bagel Bites commercials -- "Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime. When pizza is on a bagel, you can eat...... View full recipe for "~Bagel Bites Mini-Bagel Mini-Pepperoni Snack Pizza~"

03/09/2022

~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~

Pickled eggs can be made several ways, but the ones I love and the ones my family always made were the Pennsylvania Deutsch version, which are sometimes referred to as pickled-beet eggs or red-beat eggs. My mom and grandmother served them but once a year as a side-dish on our Easter feast table, but, in local Pennsylvania Deutsch communities, pickled eggs were and still are a very popular tavern food -- they can be found marinating in large jars on bar tops next to beer taps all over Pennsylvania. It takes about five days for hard-cooked eggs to pickle, so,...... View full recipe for "~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~"

01/03/2022

~HISstory vs HERstory -- The Story of Eggs Benedict~

A la Benedict. It means in-the-style-of eggs Benedict. For runny-egg lovers, this is the la-tee-da, ooh-la-la, creme-de-la-creme of fancy-schmancy, artery-clogging AM indulgences: two golden-toasted English muffin halves, each topped with a slice of smoky ham, a perfectly poached egg and a generous drizzle of buttery hollandaise sauce. This all-American breakfast and brunch specialty has been gracing the tables of high-end restaurants for over a century. There are three claims to this beloved dish's origin, with only one being widely-accepted as the real-deal. Culinary Fisticuffs? The Battle Between the Benedicts!!! HISstory vs. HERstory: Thanks to a food article appearing in the...... View full recipe for "~HISstory vs HERstory -- The Story of Eggs Benedict~"

12/31/2021

~ And Just Like That -- Christmas Vacation was Over ~

Meet my Marty Moose eggnog cups. Made famous in National Lampoon's 1986 flick Christmas Vacation, these glass cups have been serving eggnog to family and friends in my kitchen from the day I gleefully found out I could purchase a set. They are just, plain, fun. In the midst of all the fun and celebratory toasts, have you ever wondered why we drink egg nog over the holidays, and moreover, why we drink eggnog in small cups, or, why it's even called eggnog? Why we drink eggnog to celebrate Christmas & New Year's: Eggnog means eggs in a cup, and...... View full recipe for "~ And Just Like That -- Christmas Vacation was Over ~"

12/24/2021

~ Why We Ring in the New Year w/Pork & Sauerkraut ~

If you ask Americans across our country what they're serving for dinner on New Year's Day, the most common response will be: pork and sauerkraut -- and the reason is not just because it is a delicious meal. It's a time-honored tradition based on the belief that pork and sauerkraut will bring luck and prosperity in the new year -- and who couldn't use a good bit of both. This tradition is closely linked to the Pennsylvania Deutsch (crediting the Germanic or German-speaking immigrants from Germany and Switzerland for this cuisine, with the more commonly used term, Pennsylvania "Dutch", being...... View full recipe for "~ Why We Ring in the New Year w/Pork & Sauerkraut ~"

12/18/2021

~Crazy Good GF Chocolate Walnut & Craisin Cookies~

Dried cranberries, aka craisins, are one of my favorite dried fruits. They are at the top of my list right next to dried sour cherries -- with craisins being more available and affordable. So much so, there's always a bag on-hand in my kitchen for the sole purpose of snacking. Craisins are not just tart and sweet, they're tart and sweet on steroids. There's more. They are fantastic incorporated into any raisin or sour cherry cookie recipe (in place of the raisins or sour cherries). The recipe I'm sharing today is one of my favorite GF cookies to bake during...... View full recipe for "~Crazy Good GF Chocolate Walnut & Craisin Cookies~"

12/15/2021

~ Just Nuts - Salted Peanut & Peanut Butter Cookies ~

Is any celebratory cookie table display complete without a plate of some type of peanut butter cookies on it? We all know the answer is no. Peanut butter cookies are beloved by all, and, it genuinely saddens me that folks with peanut allergies will never know the joy of a salty and sweet peanut- and peanut-butter-laced cookie. Some recipes contain oatmeal and chocolate chips, other recipes are simply over-the-top, I've likely baked them all. In this version, salty cocktail peanuts get added, which adds to the peanutty goodness. The ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients has been adjusted too, which produces crispy-on-the-outside...... View full recipe for "~ Just Nuts - Salted Peanut & Peanut Butter Cookies ~"

12/12/2021

~ Cranberry, Walnut & White Chocolate Chip Cookies ~

Dried cranberries, aka craisins, are one of my favorite dried fruits. They are at the top of my list right next to dried sour cherries -- with craisins being more available and affordable. So much so, there's always a bag on-hand in my kitchen for the sole purpose of snacking. Craisins are not just tart and sweet, they're tart and sweet on steroids. There's more. They are fantastic incorporated into any raisin or sour cherry cookie recipe (in place of the raisins or sour cherries). The recipe I'm sharing today is one of my favorite drop cookies to bake during...... View full recipe for "~ Cranberry, Walnut & White Chocolate Chip Cookies ~"

11/24/2021

~Take All the Guesswork Out of Portioning All Poultry~

What size bird to purchase, no matter what the occasion, tends to be confusing because, simply stated, all poultry is not created equal. Seasoned cooks will tell you size doesn't always matter, because some fowl, duck for instance, may appear to be large enough to feed six people, but, you'd be lucky if you get enough meat from one to adequately feed three. If you've never cooked a duck before, one duck comfortably feeds two people -- and I had to learn this the hard way. Every cook, novice or expert, at some point, finds him or herself asking the...... View full recipe for "~Take All the Guesswork Out of Portioning All Poultry~"

11/18/2021

~ Tis the Season to Learn the History Behind Eggnog ~

Eggnog means eggs in a cup, and it is used on both sides of the Atlantic to toast to health. Nog is an old English term for a small wooden cup. It descended from a hot British drink called posset, made from eggs beaten with milk, sugar and some type of spirit. During that period, alcoholic drinks were served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Because it was cooked, posset traveled and adapted well to local tastes. One such place: the American colonies, which were full of farms which were full of chickens, cows and lots of cheap rum -- our...... View full recipe for "~ Tis the Season to Learn the History Behind Eggnog ~"

11/09/2021

~ Cinnamon-Roll Pancakes w/Cream Cheese Drizzle ~

Fresh-baked cinnamon rolls in the morning. I wish I had the inclination to make them for more than special occasions. That was, until, while watching A Million Little Things on TV last week, I learned about: cinnamon-roll pancakes. Where have these been all my life? For the love of breakfast and brunch, I had no idea that an easy-to-make cinnamon swirl mixture squirted onto a few pancakes while they're cooking would propel them from ordinary to extraordinary in a few short seconds. The finishing touch, a cream cheese drizzle (instead of the typical maple syrup), gives them all the yummy...... View full recipe for "~ Cinnamon-Roll Pancakes w/Cream Cheese Drizzle ~"

11/06/2021

~ PB&J Lovers Stuffed Banana Bread French Toast ~

Looking for a way to turn the heart-warming memories of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of your youth into a decadent adult indulgence? Whether you are or you aren't, just know, this'll do it. For us American breakfast eaters, iHop has schooled us on the term "stuffed French toast", and, ranked by popularity, PB&J stuffed French toast is at or near the top of that list. In fact, for PB&J lovers, it's hard to imagine anything being better than PB&J stuffed French toast. Newsflash, there is: PB&J stuffed French Toast made using banana bread. It's so good, Elvis would...... View full recipe for "~ PB&J Lovers Stuffed Banana Bread French Toast ~"

10/21/2021

~The Hidden History of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing~

Before we know it, the holiday entertaining season will be upon us. Charcuterie, cheese and vegetable trays, along with assorted, chips, crackers, nuts, dips and spreads will be appearing on cocktail tables in neighborhoods all across America. Like everyone else, the snacks I choose to serve change every year, but, one thing that's always present in some form: Hidden Valley Ranch dressing or dip. Why? Everyone loves the taste of cool and creamy "Ranch". Interestingly: A little over 50 years ago no one had ever heard of ranch dressing and now it is America's most popular salad dressing. We do...... View full recipe for "~The Hidden History of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing~"

10/15/2021

~ Run-Up-the-Score with Chicken-Fajita Quesadillas ~

Got leftover chicken-fajita filling or steak-fajita filling? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, but when I do, I know exactly what to make with that tasty couple-of-cups: fajita quesadillas. Ooey-gooey and cheesy, they're so dang good, I won't lie, sometimes I make the filling for the sole purpose of making fajita quesadillas. When I do do that, it's usually because I'm feeding a crowd, and, more-often-than-not, the occasion is a tailgate in front of the TV. No matter how many I make, they're the first appetizer to disappear -- there never seems to be enough. "Queso (KAY-soh)" is the...... View full recipe for "~ Run-Up-the-Score with Chicken-Fajita Quesadillas ~"

08/18/2021

~ Slightly-Spicy Creamy Cajun-Creole Hot Crab Dip ~

I grew up eating hot crab dip in the Chesapeake Bay area where it is made with Old Bay Seasoning, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, dry English mustard and white cheddar. I thought it was the ultimate crab dip until I tasted hot crab dip made in New Orleans, where it is made with Cajun seasoning, Louisiana Gold Hot Sauce, Creole mustard and cream cheese. Both versions also contain Parmesan, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic, plus, in NOLA during Mardi Gras, for festive color, they throw in some green and red bell pepper too. When eaten in close proximity to either place,...... View full recipe for "~ Slightly-Spicy Creamy Cajun-Creole Hot Crab Dip ~"

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 ~"

12/29/2020

~Home for the Holidays Eggnog Brioche French Toast~

When the Christmas and New Year holidays roll around, depending on who's coming to breakfast, lunch or dinner, my menus vary from year-to-year. That said, eggnog is a constant, a staple in my refrigerator, and it's offered to guests at any time of day. Interestingly, since I moved to Happy Valley (State College), Central Pennsylvania, in 1974, I've neither needed to make eggnog from scratch, nor, buy the all-too-many-times cloyingly sweet stuff sold in the grocery stores. We have a local dairy that sells their own special blend of pasteurized eggnog and eggnog ice cream -- both are marvelous. Meyer's...... View full recipe for "~Home for the Holidays Eggnog Brioche French Toast~"

12/21/2020

~Spicy Old-Bay-Seasoned Shrimp Salad Sandwiches~

Shrimp cocktail has been a traditional appetizer at my family's holiday gatherings and celebrations for as long as I can remember. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, bridal showers, baby showers, christenings, anniversary parties, etc. -- when my family celebrates, a big bowl or platter of perfectly-cooked jumbo shrimp with two-types of cocktail sauce (classic and creamy) are on the table when we start the festivities. On occasion, we'd have some left over. Under the supervision of my mom, back into the refrigerator they went, so our family of four could all enjoy shrimp salad sandwiches the next day. Truth told, I'm convinced...... View full recipe for "~Spicy Old-Bay-Seasoned Shrimp Salad Sandwiches~"

12/05/2020

~ Turkey Breast Rachel on Shredded Potato Pancake ~

Perhaps it's a girl thing, but, when I'm lunching in a deli, I'm more inclined to order a Rachel sandwich, made with turkey breast, than I am a Reuben, made with corned beef. There's more. While I usually order potato salad with my sandwich, if potato pancakes are on the menu, they're on my plate. If you're a fan of a classic Rachel sandwich, and, if you love potato pancakes as much as I do, you're gonna go wild over this open-faced sandwich served on one of my pan-fried shredded hash-brown potato pan-cakes, instead of between to slices of rye...... View full recipe for "~ Turkey Breast Rachel on Shredded Potato Pancake ~"

12/02/2020

~Corned Beef Reuben on My Potato Pancake Waffles~

If you're a fan of a classic Rueben sandwich, served atop a few of potato pancakes instead of between some rye bread, you're gonna go wild over this open-faced sandwich served on my shredded hash-brown potato-pancake waffles. Not since lunch at a deli located somewhere in Long-Island back in the early 1970's have I enjoyed a Reuben more. I was fifteen or sixteen, so the specifics escape me. Our family took a Summer road trip to visit friends of my mom and dad, and, before we left town the next day, we all went to lunch at "the place with...... View full recipe for "~Corned Beef Reuben on My Potato Pancake Waffles~"

11/15/2020

~ Crock of Baked Applesauce, Walnut & Herbed Brie ~

Small but mighty, and, falling into the category of somewhere-in-between-a-dip-and-a-spread, this easy-to-make appetizer is appropriate to serve at, or make-and-take to, any holiday gathering -- it's sublime. It's also a great recipe to keep in your back pocket in case you find yourself in need of a last-minute appetizer. There's more. If you're not a fan of cranberry sauce, it's great made with whole-berry cranberry sauce instead. While it can be prepared in a small shallow bowl, it's particularly pretty baked and served in a small crock -- presentation is, after all, everything. There's even more. It can be assembled,...... View full recipe for "~ Crock of Baked Applesauce, Walnut & Herbed Brie ~"

11/13/2020

~ Crock of Baked Cranberry, Walnut and Herbed Brie ~

Small but mighty, and, falling into the category of somewhere-in-between-a-dip-and-a-spread, this easy-to-make appetizer is appropriate to serve at, or make-and-take to, any holiday gathering -- it's sublime. It's also a great recipe to keep in your back pocket in case you find yourself in need of a last-minute appetizer. There's more. If you're not a fan of cranberry sauce, it's great made with chunky-style applesauce instead. While it can be prepared in a small shallow bowl, it's particularly pretty baked and served in a small crock -- presentation is, after all, everything. There's even more. It can be assembled, refrigerated...... View full recipe for "~ Crock of Baked Cranberry, Walnut and Herbed Brie ~"

11/10/2020

~Gobble Gobble -- Turkey-Day Cranberry & Brie Bites~

While these easy-to-make appetizers are perfect for any large-or-small fancy-or-relaxed Turkey-Day feast, they're great almost any time of the year. I've been know to serve them on occasion as a warm-up to one of my winner-winner roasted chicken Sunday dinners. As for the recipe, there really isn't one so-to-speak -- I came home with it "in my head" (as it was told to me) after enjoying a few at a mid-morning Christmas cookie-exchange brunch-party a few year ago. Perfect for our just-the-two-of-us Turkey Day feast this year: And, just four easy-to-gather-together ingredients too: 2 tablespoons all-purpose bench flour, for dusting...... View full recipe for "~Gobble Gobble -- Turkey-Day Cranberry & Brie Bites~"

11/08/2020

~ Fresh Strawberry, Brie & Biscuit Breakfast Crostini ~

Is there anyone who doesn't love to be invited to someone's home for breakfast or brunch? There's just something light-hearted, laid-back and downright bushy-tailed about sharing the first meal and few hours of the day in the company of family and friends. The best way I can describe the experience is: it's like waking up in the morning to find out it snowed and they cancelled school. Everyone "gets into the spirit of it" -- and, it doesn't have to be fancy-schmancy either. That said, if you've ever invited people to your home for breakfast or brunch, you know that...... View full recipe for "~ Fresh Strawberry, Brie & Biscuit Breakfast Crostini ~"

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 ~"

04/30/2020

~Cinnamon-Raisin English Muffin Breakfast Casserole~

I don't need to be entertaining a crowd to have a reason to make a giant-sized breakfast casserole. With Joe and I both working-from-home at present, having a fully-cooked breakfast pre-made and ready to slice and reheat in the microwave (by pushing a button) saves me a bunch of time on weekday mornings. There's also plenty to share a few squares with a couple of friends and neighbors. Here in our neighborhood, my friends call these acts of kindness "ding-dong drop-offs". Truth told, social-distancing foodie life in the 'burbs is better-than-good, it's very tasty. Muffins + sausage + apples +...... View full recipe for "~Cinnamon-Raisin English Muffin Breakfast Casserole~"

04/04/2020

~My Cheesy Corned-Beef on Rye Reuben Casserole~

I cook corned beef regularly -- three-four times a year. It's always available at our local Sam's Club, and it has a long shelf-life too, meaning the expiration date is often a month or more out on the calendar. I always buy two and I always cook two. After discarding the seasoning packets, I cook them my way, slowly in the crockpot, in a tomato mixture laced with aromatic allspice, cinnamon and cloves. When done, I cover the tops with brown sugar and bake them in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes until the sugar crust is bubbly and caramelizing....... View full recipe for "~My Cheesy Corned-Beef on Rye Reuben Casserole~"

03/19/2020

~ Buttery Curried Pita Chips & Curried Chicken Salad ~

I'm an eater of snacks -- a slice or two of cheddar and a few apple slices, a piece or three of deli-meat rolled up with a slather of whole-grain mustard inside, a tablespoon or two of tuna or egg salad dolloped on a couple of buttery crackers. Just a few examples of the way I like to eat. Yes, when left to my own devices, I'm happy to skip three squares and snack my way through the day. Pita bread is always on-hand in my kitchen. I purchase a package almost every week, because, everything tastes great stuffed inside...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery Curried Pita Chips & Curried Chicken Salad ~"

01/20/2020

~ Spicy Tiny Salad-Shrimp Mini Shrimp-Cocktail Cups ~

Shrimp cocktail. Two ingredients. Shrimp and cocktail sauce. To be more specific, succulent, perfectly-cooked and chilled tails-on shrimp served with a spicy ketchup and horseradish concoction for dipping. When it comes to shrimp for classically prepared shrimp cocktail, big is always better. That said, if you're looking for an impressive addition to your next appetizer buffet, put out a tray of mini shrimp-cocktail cups. Count the seconds until they disappear. Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are sweet, tender and adorable, so, when serving fingerfood, think small, because the extra flavor is important. Flash-frozen extra-small shrimp (a 90/200 count),...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Tiny Salad-Shrimp Mini Shrimp-Cocktail Cups ~"

01/15/2020

~ Time out for Tiny Salad-Shrimp-Salad Sandwiches ~

I grew up in an era when tea sandwiches were in vogue. At every festive gathering, one could count on at least one three-tier tray of tea sandwiches. Some might argue they're still in vogue, but, I can't remember the last time I was offered a tea sandwich. These tiny shrimp salad sandwiches aren't exactly tea sandwiches (which are made using crustless white bread), but, I'm willing to classify them as such, as, they're too classy to classify in the slider-sandwich category. Once upon a time, people bought salad shrimp packed in cans (similar to tuna). That's ok. That's how...... View full recipe for "~ Time out for Tiny Salad-Shrimp-Salad Sandwiches ~"

01/13/2020

~Puttin' on the Ritz, Retro Salad-Shrimp Dip Revisited~

Pretty in pink, tiny salad shrimp are sweet, tender and adorable. Once upon a time, people bought them packed in cans (similar to tuna). That's ok. That's how things were done before flash freezing came along, followed by freezer- trucks and train-cars criss-crossing our country. It was also before in-home refrigerators had an ample freezer section and households started investing in chest- or stand-type freezers. When my mom got her freezer IT was a very big deal. When frozen salad shrimp became available to her, she never bought the canned shrimp again. Americans love shrimp. Shrimp, "the fruit of the...... View full recipe for "~Puttin' on the Ritz, Retro Salad-Shrimp Dip Revisited~"

01/10/2020

~ Smokie Cocktail Wieners in a Bourbon BBQ Sauce ~

Aside from an occasional glass of Austi Spumante, mom didn't drink a drop, but, as a cook she wasn't opposed to adding boozy flavor to certain dishes. If a recipe required a splash of sherry or wine, she didn't scurry around looking for substitutions -- she added it. In the case of bourbon, which is a common addition to recipes containing sweet and savory tomato-based barbecue sauces, she put the bourbon in. As parents, mom and dad (who did enjoy a beer or two and an occasional cocktail), a little bourbon in the cocktail wieners didn't mean we kids had...... View full recipe for "~ Smokie Cocktail Wieners in a Bourbon BBQ Sauce ~"

12/26/2019

~ Parm, Pepper and Herb Puff-Pastry Cheese Twists ~

Along with the charcuterie, cheese twists are always something I've included on my snack table during the holidays. Light and airy, crispy-crunchy, buttery rich and full of flavor, they're the quintessential nosh with whatever cocktail one happens to be sipping. Interestingly, store-bought cheese twists are not only harder to find (it was three strikes we're out -- as in they do not carry them -- at our local stores this year), the quality (as in the three packages I purchased on-line) has gone decidedly downhill too. Years ago our local downtown Cheese Shoppe sold them, and, they were so damned...... View full recipe for "~ Parm, Pepper and Herb Puff-Pastry Cheese Twists ~"

12/23/2019

~Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Casserole~

'Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. After all the holiday cooking and cleanup, mom was so exhausted she declared it HER holiday. She took a casserole out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter for the afternoon. She popped it in the oven at 4:00PM, everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal around 5:00PM, and, by 6:00PM mom was lounging in her favorite chair, sipping a G&T, watching a movie. Every cook, every where, needs, at the very least, one, hearty, relatively easy-to-make, go-to casserole recipe...... View full recipe for "~Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Casserole~"

12/20/2019

~ Tart Cherry & Toasted-Pistachio Snowball Cookies ~

These sweet and savory shortbread-esque two-bite cookies called snowballs, or, depending on where you're from, also referred to as Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes, are the darlings of holiday cookie trays all across America. The base recipe varies very little from baker-to-baker, because the ratio of flour to butter and sugar is important to prevent them from flattening out, meaning: loosing their ball shape. Flavored with vanilla, lightly-toasted chopped pecans or walnuts get added to the mixture for additional flavor and texture. Nobody can eat just one. A recipe for cherry-pistachio snowballs came across my Facebook newsfeed about...... View full recipe for "~ Tart Cherry & Toasted-Pistachio Snowball Cookies ~"

12/15/2019

~Light & Flaky Pastry-Wrapped British-Sausage Rolls~

Once upon a time in 1996, while sitting in a British pub in proximity to the British National Museum, while pondering what to order with our pints, a nice guy sitting next to us recommended the sausage rolls. As Americans, Joe and I consider sausage mostly a breakfast food, but, we didn't hesitate to place the order based on the recommendation (traveling teaches that locals will never steer you wrong). I hoisted my brew in a manner to toast the nice guy and waited, patiently, for the pub grub to be delivered, which in terms of time, was about three...... View full recipe for "~Light & Flaky Pastry-Wrapped British-Sausage Rolls~"

12/12/2019

~ Baked Three-Cheesy Hot Broccoli & Pimiento Dip ~

Eat your broccoli. That was never something my mom had to say to me. As a kid I loved raw or cooked broccoli (cauliflower too). Mom did too. My dad and my brother, not so much on either count, but, they didn't 100% hate it either -- they put up with it on an occasional basis. When broccoli was served for dinner, I knew there was going to a bonus snack later in the evening, made from preplanned-on leftovers: A little crock of bubbling hot, creamy broccoli-cheese dip. It wasn't fancy and only took a few minutes to mix together,...... View full recipe for "~ Baked Three-Cheesy Hot Broccoli & Pimiento Dip ~"

12/09/2019

~Gruyère & Olive-Tapenade French-Bread Appetizers~

Olive cheese bread was a trendy hot appetizer served with drinks at laid-back TGIF and fancy-schmancy holiday cocktail parties throughout the 1980's. For the obvious reason, the olives, they were particularly popular with martini drinkers. That said, olive cheese bread was just one of many spin-off recipes created by home cooks who were inspired by the introduction of the remarkably-tasty, frozen, store-bought, Stouffer's* French bread pizza into their lives. *Note: Making pizza on French bread was made famous in the 1960's by Bob Petrillose, the founder of the legendary Hot Truck on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY....... View full recipe for "~Gruyère & Olive-Tapenade French-Bread Appetizers~"

12/07/2019

~ Sweet-&-Savory-Glazed Buffalo-Chicken Meatballs ~

Everybody loves meatballs, and, rule of thumb: one can never make too many meatballs. When looking for a hot appetizer that is kid- and adult-friendly, relatively easy-to-make, can be made in advance, and, is perfect for a holiday party, a tailgate party, or any party any time of year, meatballs meet all the criteria. Sweet, savory and slightly-spicy, buffalo chicken meatballs, glazed in wing sauce, are a fun way to enjoy the flavor of chicken wings with more decorum and dignity than licking ones fingertips in public and disposing of a plate full of unsightly wing bones. Cocktail-size meatballs are...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet-&-Savory-Glazed Buffalo-Chicken Meatballs ~"

12/05/2019

~ Six Recipes for Fabulously-Flavored Holiday Fudge ~

Fudge is especially popular on the the boardwalks of the East coast in the Summertime. That said, it is also perfect for gift-giving during the holidays. Because it can be made several weeks in advance and stored (covered) in the the refrigerator, I like to make several flavors, then, assemble gift-boxes containing assorted flavors to share with family and friends. It's a fun, relaxing way to ease into the holiday spirit, and it's a great addition to a tray of assorted cookies too. This all-American confection dates back to the late 1880s. Fudge originated in America in the latter 19th...... View full recipe for "~ Six Recipes for Fabulously-Flavored Holiday Fudge ~"

12/03/2019

~The Ultimate-Best Peanut-Butter Killer Fudge Recipe~

If it's full-throttle roasted-peanut flavor and crunch you crave, there's no need to look elsewhere for a peanut butter fudge recipe. Lightly-roasted peanuts, crunchy peanut butter, peanut-butter morsels, and, peanut butter flavoring team up in my version, and, trust me, nobody can eat just one piece of this peanutty fudge. There's more. This recipe (which has been tested, tasted and approved by many experienced cooking friends) is super-easy to make, not to mention foolproof, so, for those who've never tried making fudge before, or novice cooks, this recipe is ideal. Everyone remembers their first bite of fudge -- that creamy,...... View full recipe for "~The Ultimate-Best Peanut-Butter Killer Fudge Recipe~"

11/30/2019

~Double-Cherry & Double-Vanilla Lover's Killer Fudge~

Cherry-vanilla is one of my favorite flavor combinations. Cherry-vanilla or black-cherry-vanilla cream soda, cherry-vanilla ice-cream, cherry-vanilla milkshakes, cherry-vanilla yogurt and cherry-vanilla biscotti are amongst my favorite things. While I didn't invent the idea for cherry-vanilla fudge, once I got my hands on a great base recipe for making fudge, cherry-vanilla was the first spin-off I made (for myself), and, after tasting it, I think you'll agree it's perhaps the best rendition in print or on internet, as, it uses a combination of dehydrated tart "sour" pie cherries and pure cherry extract, instead of neon-colored candied maraschinos (which taste nothing like...... View full recipe for "~Double-Cherry & Double-Vanilla Lover's Killer Fudge~"

11/28/2019

~Cinnamon-Apple Maple-Walnut Lover's Killer Fudge~

Maple-walnut ice cream and maple-walnut fudge. While they're my only two encounters with this sublime combination, meaning I've not tasted a maple-walnut pie or a maple-walnut cake, I was driven to re-create both of them in my home kitchen. My experience with the first was in Vermont, and it was a slow-churned unforgettable experience. My experience with the second was on the boardwalks of New Jersey, and, it was a creamy-dreamy unforgettable experience. Everyone remembers their first bite of fudge -- that creamy, semi-soft confection made with corn syrup and/or sugar, butter, cream and flavoring. Hands-down, the most popular flavor...... View full recipe for "~Cinnamon-Apple Maple-Walnut Lover's Killer Fudge~"

11/25/2019

~ Butterscotch & Bits-O-Toffee Brickle Lover's Fudge ~

Butterscotch, caramel, English toffee and American buttercrunch. These rich butter-and-sugar-based candies are all related, and, I have an affinity for them all. As a little kid, my hand gravitated to the bag of those little chewy squares of Kraft Caramels, and, when I got a little older, I always kept a few cellophane-wrapped Brach's Butterscotch hard-candies in my purse -- they were a way to enjoy an otherwise long and boring class at school or sermon at church. Everyone remembers their first bite of fudge -- that creamy, semi-soft confection made with corn syrup and/or sugar, butter, cream and flavoring....... View full recipe for "~ Butterscotch & Bits-O-Toffee Brickle Lover's Fudge ~"