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305 posts categorized "14) Fish/Seafood, Pasta & Vegetarian Too"

01/27/2021

~ Paring 3 Store-Bought Ravioli w/3 Perfect Sauces ~

Let's be honest, even those of us who can and do make ravioli from scratch, don't typically serve them for a family-friendly weeknight meal. Why? Making ravioli from scratch is a lot of work. That's why these one-to-two-bite labors-of-love are usually reserved for holidays and celebrations. That said, high-quality store-bought ravioli can be found in the average grocery store. Rana is my go-to brand, and, you won't find them in the frozen food aisle -- they're found in the refrigerated section where fresh pasta is sold. When paired with an easy-to-make-from-scratch sauce, ravioli can and should be added to every...... View full recipe for "~ Paring 3 Store-Bought Ravioli w/3 Perfect Sauces ~"

01/24/2021

~ Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Florentine Sauce ~

Creamy cheese sauces have a place in my food world -- not a big place, but a place. My attitude toward them is to use them judiciously, in a manner that does not overpower the dish being served, and, in moderation, so as not to tip the scale. To my credit, I have developed my own versions of more than a few: Easy Boursin, Trendy Rasta Pasta, Classic Mornay, Silky Parmesan-Sherry, Dreamy Gorgonzola, Basic Asiago, and a Kid-Friendly Cheddar. It is my opinion that, for the most part, all store-bought cheese sauces are a compromise, so, don't debate it, just...... View full recipe for "~ Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Florentine Sauce ~"

01/21/2021

~Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli with Tomato-Cream Sauce~

Every once in a while, my ability to cook is overshadowed by my desire to cook something remarkably easy, yet good enough to serve to guests -- no special skills, tools or knowledge required. Today is such a day. This simple, straightforward and scrumptious recipe, taken from the pages of absolutely nowhere, goes from stovetop to table in less time than it takes to cook spaghetti, and, when beautifully plated, will bamboozle everyone into thinking I cooked all day. "I dream of stirring cream into marinara sauce." ~ Melanie The only thing more rewarding than having a freezer shelf full...... View full recipe for "~Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli with Tomato-Cream Sauce~"

01/18/2021

~So Easy -- Mushroom Ravioli Alfredo alla Primavera~

I'm not a vegetarian, but, as a card-carrying carnivore, I can tell you, if I were, this easy-to-make creamy-dreamy pasta dish would be at the top of my weeknight menu rotation. Why? Because when I indulge in this decadent dish, I don't miss the meat for a second. In Italian, fettuccine means "little ribbons", which is why stranded pasta is always used. In Italian, primavera means "Spring" and culinarily, primavera just means that fresh vegetables (raw or blanched) are added to the dish during or at the end of its preparation. Long story short, fettuccini Alfredo that has vegetables added...... View full recipe for "~So Easy -- Mushroom Ravioli Alfredo alla Primavera~"

12/24/2020

~ Creamy-Dreamy Old-Bay Shrimp Shell-Pasta Salad ~

This main-dish pasta salad is made by adding cooked and well-drained shell-shaped pasta to my mother's shrimp salad recipe. It makes the perfect quick lunch or light supper. Simply portion it into a shallow bowl atop a bed of crispy-crunchy lettuce leaves accompanied by a few tomato wedges and pour a glass of your favorite wine. Add a slice of crusty rustic bread, a fancy-schmancy flakey croissant or a brioche roll slathered with butter and lunch or dinner is served. Shrimp cocktail has been a traditional appetizer at my family's holiday gatherings and celebrations for as long as I can...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy-Dreamy Old-Bay Shrimp Shell-Pasta Salad ~"

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~"

12/18/2020

~Old Bay -- Maryland's Staple in a Classic Yellow Can~

Newsflash -- There are two reasons to never consider trying to make Old Bay Seasoning at home. The first: You can't do it, you'll never get the proportions right, and, those of us who recognize the signature taste -- we'll hate you for yours. The second: Old Bay Seasoning is a source of Marylander pride. It's a staple -- it's found, right next to the salt and pepper shakers, on the tables in eateries everywhere. If you wouldn't try pawning some off-the-rails homemade salt or pepper off on your guests (or customers), don't try it with Old Bay seasoning either....... View full recipe for "~Old Bay -- Maryland's Staple in a Classic Yellow Can~ "

09/18/2020

~ RedHot Buffalo-Chicken Rooster-Crest-Pasta Salad ~

If you are a fan of Buffalo-chicken-style anything, this is a pasta salad you'll crow about. I admit, the thought of making Buffalo-chicken pasta salad didn't occur to me until I found myself binge-snacking on a few slices of Sunday's leftover roast chicken dipped into a ramekin containing a bit of Friday night's leftover wing-night wing sauce -- that was yesterday. A few short minutes later, the vision of a Buffalo-style pasta salad popped into my head -- and IT is happening today. Lucky lovers of all things Buffalo wings: it comes in many forms. In my family alone, Nacho...... View full recipe for "~ RedHot Buffalo-Chicken Rooster-Crest-Pasta Salad ~"

09/15/2020

~What's the Buzz -- Thick & Hearty Bronze-Cut Pasta~

Dried pasta, I'm guessing, is in 99.9 percent of all pantries. Even if I didn't adore pasta as much as I do, not to mention have around 100 favorite ways to prepare around 100 of my favorite pasta shapes, several boxes of pasta would still be required to be in my pantry at all times. Why? Because the majority of everyone I know loves pasta, and as the family cook, it's my responsibility to please as many people at one time as possible -- and pasta, as a side-dish or a main-course, is a simple, straightforward, sure-simmered way to do...... View full recipe for "~What's the Buzz -- Thick & Hearty Bronze-Cut Pasta~"

08/17/2020

~ Alfredo alla Primavera Parmesan-Chicken Quarters ~

In Italian, fettuccine means "little ribbons", which is why stranded pasta is always used in its preparation. In Italian, primavera implies "Spring", and culinarily, primavera simply means that fresh vegetables (raw or blanched) have been added to the dish during, or at the end, of its preparation. Long story short, fettuccini Alfredo that has vegetables added to it is simply referred to as Alfredo alla primavera. Alfredo and Alfredo primavera can be served as either a pasta course during a meal, a side-dish with a meal, or, (in a larger portion) as a main-course, and, in Italian-American restaurants, because we...... View full recipe for "~ Alfredo alla Primavera Parmesan-Chicken Quarters ~"

08/15/2020

~ Nice & Easy Spaghetti Alfredo alla Primavera-Style ~

It was November, 1981 or 1982 -- one or two days before Thanksgiving. It would turn out to be one of the worst-ever total snowfall years in the history of State College, and this storm snuck up on everyone. The snow piled high that afternoon, leaving over two feet on the ground. Trees came down and power lines snapped. Lights went out all over town. Our house at the time had a soapstone wood-burning stove in our family room. I hated that stove and the mess involved with it, but, it did help with the heating bill, so, Joe kept...... View full recipe for "~ Nice & Easy Spaghetti Alfredo alla Primavera-Style ~ "

07/31/2020

~ All-in-the-Pantry One-Pot Creamy Spaghetti Alfredo ~

Any time of year, at the end of a bad day or a great day, served as a side-dish or a main-course, a creamy-dreamy bowl of luxurious Alfredo-sauced pasta can be just what the doctor ordered. A few pantry ingredients, cheese and cream, plus, one-pot on the stovetop. Fifteen minutes later, you stick a fork in it and all is right with the world. There is no trick to Alfredo. About the only thing one can do wrong is to purchase a jar of bottled glop, which, never mind, let's not go there. A bit of history about the iconic...... View full recipe for "~ All-in-the-Pantry One-Pot Creamy Spaghetti Alfredo ~"

07/03/2020

~The Story Behind Macaroni & Yankee Doodle Dandy~

Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat, and, called it macaroni. Fun song to sing? If you've ever wondered why Yankee Doodle would name his feather macaroni, this post will explain. Sans the folks who think Kraft Foods invented macaroni, food historians agree that here in the United States, it had its humble beginning in the kitchen of Thomas Jefferson, who returned from a trip to Paris with a macaroni maker/press which he bought while in Italy. Thank-you Mr. Jefferson for introducing macaroni to America. A bit about macaroni: Macaroni is a...... View full recipe for "~The Story Behind Macaroni & Yankee Doodle Dandy~"

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 ~"

06/28/2020

~ Italian-Style Fried Pasta Pancake -- Pasta a Frittata ~

Fried spaghetti at midnight. It's kind-of a joke in our house, but, when it comes to late-night snacking in ten minutes or less, reheating a slice of cold pizza in a skillet or frying a portion of leftover spaghetti are at the top of my short list. It goes without saying, frying spaghetti in less than ten minutes does require having cooked, lightly-seasoned, spaghetti in the refrigerator. For reasons unknown to me, this dish works better with day-old pasta (any type can technically be used), and, while the pasta can be lightly-sauced, I prefer it made with unsauced spaghetti. Pasta...... View full recipe for "~ Italian-Style Fried Pasta Pancake -- Pasta a Frittata ~"

06/25/2020

~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic & Italian-Herbs Buttered Pasta ~

The perfect foil means, the perfect background. Paint anything edible into this photo and it will be great meal. Tick, tock. In the case of this 15-minute to make side-dish, truer words were never spoken. When you have no time to make a run to the grocery store but still have a hungry family to please, this is the perfect side to serve -- everyone loves pasta. It goes great with a broiled chicken breast, a grilled pork chop, a pan-seared steak, a handful of steamed shrimp, etc. Add a steamed green vegetable or garden salad and dinner is on...... View full recipe for "~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic & Italian-Herbs Buttered Pasta ~"

06/23/2020

~Old-School One-Skillet Golden Home-Fried Potatoes~

Home-fried potatoes, also known as cottage fries -- potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, sliced into thinnish discs, lightly-seasoned and pan-fried with some sliced onion in a bit of oil and/or butter (shredded or diced potatoes are called hash browns). Home fries are as delicious for breakfast as they are with dinner. That said, when it comes to making home fries, there are two schools of thought. One is to pan-fry par-cooked (steamed, boiled or microwaved baked) potatoes. The other is to pan-fry raw potatoes. In my food world, be it for breakfast or dinner, I don't need the added step of...... View full recipe for "~Old-School One-Skillet Golden Home-Fried Potatoes~"

06/02/2020

~About Fideo, the Traditional Noodle (Dish) of Mexico~

Fideo is a traditional noodle dish or soup. It's popular in homes and restaurants throughout Mexico and the Southwestern United States. No two cooks make it the same way. Hey! It's noodles. Had I not had a lovely Mexican-American woman as a neighbor here in PA back in the latter 70s, I'd have missed out on this easy-to-prepare Mexican-, Mexican-American comfort food. Like noodles and pasta in general, home cooks and restaurant chefs prepare this versatile and inexpensive ingredient in all sorts of creative ways, using spices, flavorings, and/or vegetable-, protein- additions authentic to the region they live in. Fideo...... View full recipe for "~About Fideo, the Traditional Noodle (Dish) of Mexico~"

05/28/2020

~ About Creste di Gallo or Crest of the Rooster Pasta ~

Coming up on eleven years of food blogging and I've never taken-on pontificating about a pasta shape. Until now, there was no reason. After all, there are over 400 shapes of pasta in this food world. Some are fresh, some are dried, all took shape for a reason, and all have a purpose, with some being better suited to certain dishes or sauces than others, and, everyone has their favorite. There's never been reason for me to interfere in any of the good-spirited Italian-, Italian-American banter about the best pasta for whatever the purpose -- long strands or fork-friendly count...... View full recipe for "~ About Creste di Gallo or Crest of the Rooster Pasta ~"

05/19/2020

~Eight Delightfully Delicious Rice-a-Roni Dinner Ideas~

Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat, was a savvy entrepreneur's son's take on rice pilaf. 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. Maria and Charlie's sons, Paskey, Vince, Tom and Anthony worked in the family...... View full recipe for "~Eight Delightfully Delicious Rice-a-Roni Dinner Ideas~"

05/17/2020

~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic-Butter and Herb Penne Pasta ~

In terms of the easiest-to-make, nicely-spiced, full-of-flavor pasta dish that serves as a foil for almost any Italian-American entrée that contains or is gonna get sauced with red gravy, this is it -- chicken, veal or eggplant Parmesan and chicken cacciatore are off-the-top-of-my-head examples. While you might be temped to toss some Parmesan cheese into this at the end, I don't recommend it. Trust me, not everything tastes better with cheese riddled through it. Save the cheese to top the dish in its entirety (even when serving it as a side-dish or eating by itself). Penne for your thoughts? Penne...... View full recipe for "~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic-Butter and Herb Penne Pasta ~"

04/28/2020

~ Teriyaki-Style Chicken Wings & Rice-a-Roni Bowls ~

Of the original three Rice-a-Roni flavors (chicken, beef and Spanish-style), chicken is the undisputed favorite, with beef and tomatoey Spanish-style coming in a close second and third. Growing up in the 60's, all three flavors of "the San Francisco treat" were always in my mom's pantry, and, as a savvy cook and recipe developer, I'm proud of my copycat recipes for all three. Over the decades, Rice-a-Roni has added many other flavors to their menu (long-grain & wild rice, rice pilaf, Japanese teriyaki, Chinese fried-rice, and Mexican-Style), twenty-six to be exact, along with other Pasta-Roni products. Teriyaki flavor is one...... View full recipe for "~ Teriyaki-Style Chicken Wings & Rice-a-Roni Bowls ~"

04/18/2020

~ Easy Chinese-Style Pork-Fried-Rice-a-Roni Stir-Fry ~

Of the original three Rice-a-Roni flavors (chicken, beef and Spanish-style), chicken is the undisputed favorite, with beef and tomatoey Spanish-style coming in a close second and third. Growing up in the 60's, all three flavors of "the San Francisco treat" were always in my mom's pantry, and, as a savvy cook and recipe developer, I'm proud of my copycat recipes for all three. Over the decades, Rice-a-Roni has added many other flavors to their menu (long-grain & wild rice, rice pilaf, Japanese teriyaki, Chinese fried-rice, and Mexican-Style), twenty-six to be exact, along with other Pasta-Roni products. Their stir-fried rice is...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Chinese-Style Pork-Fried-Rice-a-Roni Stir-Fry ~"

04/15/2020

~ Oh-My-Goodness-Good Retro Rice-a-Burger-Roni ~

When I was a kid, my mom invented a beefy Rice-a-Roni dinner that kept my brother and I from bugging her to buy us an occasional, to quote mom, "over-priced, over-rated TV dinner" -- which, to us kids of the era, were nothing more than a trendy novelty. As they say on the Rice-a-Roni website: Prepare for a stampede to the dinner table when you serve our delicious rice and vermicelli blended with the savory flavors of onions, carrots, beef broth and garlic. It's true. Mom would carefully shape hamburger patties, prepared meatloaf-style (meaning mixed with a binder, some milk,...... View full recipe for "~ Oh-My-Goodness-Good Retro Rice-a-Burger-Roni ~"

04/13/2020

~Cajun-Style Chicken, Sausage & Rice-a-Jamba-Roni~

In my kitchen, this one-skillet dish is affectionately referred to as Jamba-Roni. Why? This quick-to-make mixture of lightly-sautéed long-grain rice and vermicelli, plus tender chicken, spicy sausage, flavorful bell peppers, celery and onions simply reminds everyone who eats it of jambalaya (a rustic one-pot meal containing long-grain white rice with meat, poultry or shellfish, pork or sausage, and, the Cajun-Creole "holy trinity" -- onion, celery and green bell pepper). Creole-style jambalaya, sometimes called red jambalaya, incorporates tomato. The most popular Creole jambalaya contains shrimp (or crawfish). Cajun-style jambalaya, sometimes called brown jambalaya, doesn't contain tomato. The most popular Cajun jambalaya...... View full recipe for "~Cajun-Style Chicken, Sausage & Rice-a-Jamba-Roni~"

04/10/2020

~ Spicy Creole-Style Shrimp and Rice-a-Jamba-Roni ~

In my kitchen, this one-skillet dish is affectionately referred to as Jamba-Roni. Why? This quick-to-make mixture of tomato-laced long-grain white rice and vermicelli, plus lots of succulent shrimp and flavorful bell peppers, celery and onions simply reminds everyone who eats it of jambalaya (a rustic one-pot meal that combines long-grain white rice with meat, poultry or shellfish, pork or sausage, and, the Cajun-Creole culinary "holy trinity" -- onion, celery and green bell pepper). Creole-style jambalaya, sometimes called red jambalaya, incorporates tomato. The most popular Creole jambalaya contains shrimp (or crawfish). Cajun-style jambalaya, sometimes called brown jambalaya, doesn't contain tomato. The...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Creole-Style Shrimp and Rice-a-Jamba-Roni ~"

03/27/2020

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

Coming 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...... View full recipe for "~Copycat Chicken, Beef & Spanish-Style Rice-a-Roni~"

03/24/2020

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

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 brother) 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...... View full recipe for "~ Spanish-Style Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat ~"

03/11/2020

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

Amongst Rice-a-Roni aficionados, chicken-flavored Rice-a-Roni is the undisputed favorite. That said, I have a soft spot in my heart for beef-flavored Rice-a-Roni too, which is why it has a spot on my pantry shelves at all times. When I was a kid, my mom invented a beefy Rice-a-Roni dinner that kept my brother and I from bugging her to buy us an occasional "over-priced, over-rated TV dinner" -- which, to us kids, was nothing more than a novelty. As they say on the Rice-a-Roni website: Prepare for a stampede to the dinner table when you serve our delicious rice and...... View full recipe for "~ Copycat Beef Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat ~"

03/09/2020

~Mel's Copycat Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat~

I believe I could live on Rice-a-Roni. I suppose I'd get tired of it eventually, but, it could be worth the experiment simply to see how long it would take. I love the stuff, and, it's one of the few convenience foods I indulge in. As a kid, if I was feeling under the weather, I always preferred a dish of chicken-flavored Rice-a-Roni over a bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup. If that sounds odd, it's not, as the seasoning packet contains nothing more than dry chicken soup mix. As an adult, beef-favored and Spanish-style Rice-a-Roni have earned spots in...... View full recipe for "~Mel's Copycat Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat~"

02/27/2020

~ Broccoli, Cauliflower & Cheddar Main-Dish Quiche ~

Eat your broccoli. I love broccoli. Eat your cauliflower. I love cauliflower. I always have. When my mom would put a drizzle of cheddar cheese sauce on either, the rest of my dinner became irrelevant. All I wanted was the side-dish. Every now and then I fall prey to a craving for broccoli and/or cauliflower drizzled with cheddar cheese sauce, and, because once it's on the table dinner is still irrelevant, for that reason, I long ago decided to team them up together in a quiche and serve it as a main dish. Back in the 1970's, when I lived...... View full recipe for "~ Broccoli, Cauliflower & Cheddar Main-Dish Quiche ~"

02/18/2020

~ Baked Lemon-Pepper Cod w/Ritz Cracker Topping ~

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. Butter-soaked coarse-crushed Ritz crackers get patted atop fresh cod fillets (or other white fish). Into the oven they go for 15-20 short minutes. The dish is so popularly commonplace, many fish markets sell plastic containers of preprepared butter-and-crumb mixture. The end result gets garnished with some minced...... View full recipe for "~ Baked Lemon-Pepper Cod w/Ritz Cracker Topping ~"

02/12/2020

~Sweet & Savory Spiced Couscous & Golden Raisins~

My pantry always has a container of couscous in it. Funny thing is, I went from not knowing what the heck it was, to serving it a lot, in a very short period of time. Living in a large college town is a wonderful thing -- all the specialized markets and eateries reflect its diversity. Back in the 1980's I walked into a newly-opened Middle Eastern market and walked out with a couscousiere and two boxes of couscous. That same day, I fell in love with couscous literally, "instantly". Couscous is often referred to as Moroccan, but this is incorrect....... View full recipe for "~Sweet & Savory Spiced Couscous & Golden Raisins~"

02/09/2020

~ Nice & Easy Basic All-Purpose 30-Minute Rice Pilaf ~

In my Eastern European family, the entire lot of us, I have no recollection of anyone placing a bowl of plain white rice on the dinner table. That said, we ate rice quite often. I never heard it referred to as a pilaf (I would learn that term years later), but it was. In a saucepan, my mom, who learned it from her mom, would lightly-toast a cup or two of white rice in a few pats of melted butter. In went some diced onion, carrot. celery, salt and pepper. When the veggies began to soften, steaming hot chicken or...... View full recipe for "~ Nice & Easy Basic All-Purpose 30-Minute Rice Pilaf ~"

02/06/2020

~ Better than Store-Bought Stovetop Mac & Cheese ~

In my food world, three meals require a side of orange-and-cheddary creamy-dreamy macaroni-and-cheese: meatloaf, fish sticks, and, chili dogs. There's more. If you're looking for the perfect side-dish to turn Buffalo chicken wings into dinner, set your sights on mac and cheese. When I was growing up, when we sat down to eat meatloaf, fish sticks or chili dogs, my mom indulged my brother and I in a side-serving of mac and cheese. Interestingly, she didn't buy the stuff in the blue box. She refused. She made her own copycat version of it on the stovetop. It was quick-to-make and...... View full recipe for "~ Better than Store-Bought Stovetop Mac & Cheese ~"

02/04/2020

~EZ Small-Batch Quick-Chill Sheet-Pan Potato Salad~

About once a week, we eat deli-style sandwiches* or cheeseburgers for dinner. We love 'em both and I don't feel a scintilla of guilt for taking an easy or cheesy night off from cooking a full-blown meal. That said, I do feel guilty when the side-dish is a bag of potato chips -- that may be ok for a brown-bag lunch, but, for dinner? Nah. More often than not, I put a small batch of quick-to-assemble potato salad on a sheet pan in the refrigerator to chill -- it really can be done in the span of twenty short minutes....... View full recipe for "~EZ Small-Batch Quick-Chill Sheet-Pan Potato Salad~"

02/02/2020

~Egg Noodles & Broccoli in Spicy Garlic-Butter Sauce~

Choose from any number of proteins we American cooks make for dinner via various methods on a busy weeknight. Examples: roasted chicken, grill-panned steaks or pork chops, slow-cooker spareribs, pan-seared ham slices, broiled fish fillets, steamed or poached shellfish, etc. I refer to these as flash-in-the pan meals because they go from oven or cooktop in relatively short order. All you need is a side-dish -- a seriously scrumptious all-purpose side-dish. Rice is nice and potatoes are great... Rice is nice and potatoes are great. Rice is nice. That said, looking at the above example-list of proteins we American cooks...... View full recipe for "~Egg Noodles & Broccoli in Spicy Garlic-Butter Sauce~"

01/22/2020

~Pretty-in-Pink Tiny-Shrimp Dip, Salad & Sandwiches~

Americans love shrimp. Shrimp, the fruit of the sea, is America's favorite seafood. When it comes to shrimp, while big is always better served in a shrimp cocktail, when making deep-fried shrimp, and, in specialty dishes like firecracker shrimp, that's just not so when it comes to making many appetizers and hors d'oeuvres (shrimp dip, shrimp salad, tea sandwiches, various canapés, etc.). 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. Once upon a time, people bought salad shrimp packed in cans (similar to tuna)....... View full recipe for "~Pretty-in-Pink Tiny-Shrimp Dip, Salad & Sandwiches~"

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 ~"

01/18/2020

~ Time out for Tiny Shrimp & Tiny Shells Pasta Salad ~

Got a mid-day snack attack? Think small. Pretty in pink, tiny salad shrimp are sweet, tender and adorable. I only use them occasionally in very specific recipes, like shrimp dip to serve as an appetizer, and shrimp salad for making sandwiches, but, sometimes I like to turn my shrimp salad into a pasta salad, and tiny shell-shaped pasta are the perfect foil to make it happen. Served in a small bowl, this little nosh staves off hunger pangs without almost any guilt. 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 Shrimp & Tiny Shells Pasta Salad ~"

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~"

12/29/2019

~Meatless & Marvelous Creamy Pasta & Mushrooms~

A bowl of exquisite creamy-dreamy pasta. When the craving for it hits, it's one that can't be staved off. In terms of work, while I consider this a rather uncomplicated dish to make, requiring just two or three relatively-easy steps, I relax and take my time to make it right. As a mushroom lover, they're on-hand in my refrigerator 90%-95% of the time (which is why this is one of my favorite go-to pasta dishes) and they get seasoned and sautéed in a skillet first. Next I take five-ten minutes to make a Parmesan-cream sauce using always-on-hand ingredients. I cook...... View full recipe for "~Meatless & Marvelous Creamy Pasta & Mushrooms~"

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 ~"

08/23/2019

~ Sweet, Succulent & Snowy-White King Crab Subs ~

When I was growing up, in addition to the deli-meat and cheese, on any given trip to the grocery store, my mom would purchase a container of creamy krab (not a typo) salad. At home, she'd scoop it onto cottony-soft 'burger rolls, open a bag of Wise potato chips, and lunch was served. As far as childhood memories for preprepared at the deli-counter salads or side-dishes go*, this store-bought mixture of imitation krab meat, mayo, lemon and paprika, was the singular mayo-based item that ever made it into our grocery cart. Why? Neither my mother or father cared one bit...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet, Succulent & Snowy-White King Crab Subs ~"

08/21/2019

~ The Difference Between Imitation Krab & King Crab ~

If you grew up eating imitation krab (as it is often spelled for differentiation purposes, you never felt you were consuming a compromising product. Culinarily, it was a one of the staples of mid-century entertaining -- right up there with fondue, Spam and molded Jell-O -- and life was good. Krab Salad and Krabby's (crab on cheesy toast) were two of my favorites. Imitation crab revealed nothing about ones standing in life either -- from the ditch digger's wife to the doctor's wife, everyone used it. Truth told, unless you grew up in or within driving distance of a crabbing...... View full recipe for "~ The Difference Between Imitation Krab & King Crab ~"

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~"

06/28/2019

~Asparagus and Eggs Fried in Lemon-Infused EVOO~

The only thing better than a pair of buttery-rich crispy-edged runny-centered sunny-side-up eggs for breakfast, is a pair of lemon-luscious, crispy-edged runny-centered sunny-side-up eggs for breakfast. Lightly-seasoned to perfection with a few grinds of sea salt and a nice peppercorn blend, once on my plate, I'm ready to catch my toast the instant it pops up, sit down, and luxuriate in the dipping process until every drop of liquid gold and tender bite of white is gone. All gone. Oil-frying eggs is more common than one might think. I didn't invent oil-fried eggs, and, culturally, it's more common that one...... View full recipe for "~Asparagus and Eggs Fried in Lemon-Infused EVOO~"

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 ~"