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396 posts categorized "19) Just Kid-Friendly & Family-Style Food"

09/20/2020

~ My Peachy-Keen Pork Chops & Stuffing Casserole ~

This decades old, now-retro, family-favorite recipe is made from just a few on-hand ingredients -- 3/4"-1"-thick bone-in pork chops, peach-pie filling, stuffing mix, chicken broth, celery and onion. It is my mom's spin-off of her Tootsie's recipe (my mother's pet name for her sister Marie). Tootsie made it with canned apple-pie filling. My mom started making it with home-canned peach-pie filling, made from peaches picked from my grandmother's backyard peach trees. Both mom and Tootsie, usually made this after the Thanksgiving holiday, as a tasty way to get one-more family-friendly meal out of one of the leftovers (aka the stuffing)....... View full recipe for "~ My Peachy-Keen Pork Chops & Stuffing Casserole ~"

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 ~"

08/26/2020

~ Street-Food-Style Barbecued Pork Chop Sandwich ~

In the event you're not familiar with this particular Chicago-style pork sandwich, it's known as The Maxwell Street Pork Chop Sandwich (Maxwell Street being a all-day Sunday outdoor market). Not to be confused with any type of pulled-pork sandwich, this sandwich, strange to most folks outside the city limits, places an entire bone-in pork chop on a nice soft roll, along with a heaping-helping of sautéed onions. The pork chops are cooked on a flat-top griddle right next to a never-ending pile of thick-sliced onions. Embellishments are an optional slather of mustard and/or a few pickled sport peppers. Sold by...... View full recipe for "~ Street-Food-Style Barbecued Pork Chop Sandwich ~"

08/23/2020

~Easy K.C-Style Oven-Baked Barbecued Pork Chops~

Unless I'm staring-down a 1 1/2"-2" double-cut pork chop, complete with a pocket full of stuffing inside, that has been painstakingly stovetop- or oven-braised, I pretty much believe pork chops all taste better slathered with some sort of barbecue sauce. So, for the purpose of this post, my reference to barbecued pork chops refers to pork chops slathered in barbecue sauce, not pork chops prepared in traditional barbecue-style (low and slow over smoldering coals or embers for a long period of time). As long as the end justifies the means, I'm super-easy to get along with. Literally fork tender &...... View full recipe for "~Easy K.C-Style Oven-Baked Barbecued Pork Chops~"

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 ~ "

08/12/2020

~ Japanese-Teriyaki-Style Roasted Chicken Quarters ~

Americans adore teriyaki-style almost anything. This is not an assumption on my part. Beef or chicken teriyaki appear as a skewered appetizer option on menus in almost all Japanese-American and Chinese-American restaurants. Make no mistake, teriyaki is a 100% Japanese-invented method of cooking (read paragraph three), and, once Americans here in the states got a taste for its soy- and ginger-based flavors (thanks to our soldiers returning to the homeland after WWII), Chinese-American restaurants adopted it, to please the palates of their customers. Incredibly easy to prepare, perfectly portioned, &, 100% guaranteed better than take-out, eat-out or delivery: Teriyaki is...... View full recipe for "~ Japanese-Teriyaki-Style Roasted Chicken Quarters ~"

08/09/2020

~How to Season & Roast Chicken Leg-Thigh Quarters~

Oven-roasted chicken leg-thigh quarters are on my weeknight meal rotation two or three times a month. They're tender and juicy, and, sigh-oh-my, that gorgeous, golden, crispy skin. Each one is a one-piece drumstick and thigh, which means each piece is the perfect one portion, so, no guesswork involved, you never have any leftovers (unless you want leftovers, then you roast six-eight). No matter what you're seasoning or saucing these with (the possibilities are almost endless), the upfront prep-work is minimal. Into the oven they go for 1 hour, 15-20 minutes, and, your hands are, for the most part, free to...... View full recipe for "~How to Season & Roast Chicken Leg-Thigh Quarters~"

08/06/2020

~ Easy Oven-Roasted Barbecued Chicken Quarters ~

A nice big piece of perfectly-cooked fall-off-the-bone-tender barbecued chicken, hot of the grill grids and dripping with a fresh slather of tangy barbecue sauce, is one of my favorite meals. That said, timing is everything, and the slightest time delay, as little as three short minutes, can cause the chicken to go from juicy and succulent to dry and tough -- this is further complicated if a combination of various-sized chicken parts (breasts, legs and thighs) are cooking at the same time. Sure, it's easily controlled, by babysitting each piece during the last five minutes of the cooking process, but,...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Oven-Roasted Barbecued Chicken Quarters ~"

08/04/2020

~ Roasted Buffalo-Style Chicken Leg-Thigh Quarters ~

Oven-roasted chicken leg-thigh quarters are on my weeknight meal rotation two or three times a month. They're tender and juicy, and, sigh-oh-my, that gorgeous, golden, crispy skin. Each one is a one-piece drumstick and thigh, which means each piece is the perfect one portion, so, no guesswork involved, you never have any leftovers (unless you want leftovers, then you roast six-eight). No matter what you're seasoning or saucing them with (the possibilities are almost endless), the upfront prep-work is minimal. Into the oven they go for 1 hour, 15-20 minutes, and, your hands are, for the most part, free to...... View full recipe for "~ Roasted Buffalo-Style Chicken Leg-Thigh Quarters ~"

08/02/2020

~ Yukon Gold Rush Jalapeño-Jack Mashed Potatoes ~

Steaming hot mashed potatoes -- I love them, you love them, I know you do, doesn't everyone? In my food world, about the only thing that can be better than a forkful of pure, unadulterated creamy-rich, mashed potatoes is: a forkful of creamy-rich mashed potatoes with a flavorful cheese added -- American, cheddar and gruyère are favorites in my house. Jalapeño Jack cheese is one such cheese too, and, oh-my-sigh, trust me, if you and yours enjoy a little spicy heat, you will not have to call anyone to the table twice if they know you're serving these. Trust me,...... View full recipe for "~ Yukon Gold Rush Jalapeño-Jack Mashed Potatoes ~"

07/20/2020

~My Aunt's Apple-Pie Pork-Chop & Stuffing Casserole~

The sweet and savory act of combining porcine and apples is classic. Every whole roasted pig that I've ever seen had an apple in its mouth. I honestly can't remember where I read it or heard this, but, my recollection is: this centuries old custom had to do with pigs being fattened by feeding them apples, so, this was considered a show of respect for the animal, representing it eating apples in life and into eternity (hogs were typically slaughtered in the Fall and apples were in season). All I know for certain is pork and apples go hand-in-hand, it's...... View full recipe for "~My Aunt's Apple-Pie Pork-Chop & Stuffing Casserole~"

07/17/2020

~ Light & Easy Buffalo-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~

What started in 1964 as late-night pub grub at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, deep-fried chicken wings, is now found in many forms. Truth told, there's not much that Buffalo-style chicken can't do, and tacos are the perfect marriage of two of our favorite foods. But, are these tacos as good as, or as enjoyable as, eating chicken wings? As a lady who loves wings, but, only in the privacy of my own home (where I'm free to lick my fingers, smack my lips, get goo stuck in my teeth, and, drip sauce on my blouse), yes, while different,...... View full recipe for "~ Light & Easy Buffalo-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~"

07/12/2020

~ Light & Easy Tex-Mex-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~

Mexican food is a favorite of mine, but I often wish it wasn't. Don't misunderstand me -- I can and will gobble up all its flavor-packed goodness with the best of 'em. It's next to impossible for anyone me to resist the melty or crumbly cheeses along with the creamy-rich refried beans, guacamole and crema. That said, more often than not, when dinner is done, I find myself wishing I'd exercised (pun intended) even a modicum of restraint, but, let's face it, despite the array of fresh ingredients used in Mexican food, Mexican fare doesn't offer any genuinely light options...... View full recipe for "~ Light & Easy Tex-Mex-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~"

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 ~"

06/21/2020

~ Campfire or Stovetop -- Dutch-Oven-Baked Beans ~

Manifest Destiny, the 19th-century doctrine that the United States had the right and duty to expand throughout the North American continent, brought the cowboys and their cattle drives up through Mexico and Texas and into the wide-open grazing spaces of Colorado and northward into the Midwest. These (often accidental) East-meets-West crossover points are where Easterners, bound for the Southwest and West, often encountered their first tastes of their final destinations. Dutch-oven-baked beans were a chuck-wagon staple. Fresh and dried peppers native to Mexico, dried beans, corn and rice, cornmeal and flour, salt, honey and/or unrefined sugar, coffee, cured ham, bacon...... View full recipe for "~ Campfire or Stovetop -- Dutch-Oven-Baked Beans ~"

06/15/2020

~ No-Pain Stay-Sane Pantry-Cooking Pork Lo-Mein ~

Lo mein. In Chinese it literally means "tossed noodles", and, it implies a method in which cooked wheat noodles get tossed into almost any type of stir-fry at the end of the cooking process. As a result, the noodles absorb some sauce and stay soft while the other previously-cooked ingredients (meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables) get distributed evenly throughout. An example of the opposite would be chow mein, which means "fried noodles", and implies a method in which the noodles are fried to a crispy state at the beginning of the cooking process. Lo-Mein. Like spaghetti, I want it when...... View full recipe for "~ No-Pain Stay-Sane Pantry-Cooking Pork Lo-Mein ~"

05/31/2020

~Souper Mexican-Style Noodle Soup (Sopa de Fideo)~

To the best of my knowledge, every culture has a special feel-good soup recipe known for its powers and abilities to right wrong, or, transform bad into good. More often than not, it's a relatively easy-to-prepare recipe that is said to quickly quell hunger pangs, turn angst into calm, cure a hangover or a flu, or, simply soothe the soul on a damp or cold day. Sopa de fideo is, perhaps, Mexico's most famous comfort-soup recipe, and, it's said to have come to Mexico via the Spanish residents of Cavite (a province located in the Philippines) in the 1600s. In...... View full recipe for "~Souper Mexican-Style Noodle Soup (Sopa de Fideo)~"

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 ~"

05/12/2020

~Oh My Long Grain & Wild Rice-a-Roni Turkey Dinner~

As a creature of habit, Sunday is my day to roast something -- sometimes it's a long and lean eye-of-round beef roast, others times it's one or two plump roasting chickens or the biggest whole turkey breast I can find. Oddly, this "roast du jour" is rarely our Sunday dinner. I do it to have on hand to round-out a quick-to-make weeknight dinner or two, or to slice and eat in place of deli-meat in weekday sandwiches. Today I'm talkin' winner-winner flash-in-the-pan turkey dinner. Let's talk winner-winner flash-in-the-pan turkey dinner. A box or three of Uncle Ben's long-grain & wild...... View full recipe for "~Oh My Long Grain & Wild Rice-a-Roni Turkey Dinner~"

05/09/2020

~Oven-Braising a Turkey Breast without a Dutch Oven~

Let's talk turkey. Whole frozen birds and whole thawed breasts, were, for the most part, always available year round, but, at present, folks seem to be noticing them more -- especially the whole breasts. Considering the increasing scarcity, not-to-mention skyrocketing prices of beef and pork products, people are in search of relatively inexpensive alternatives that can feed an entire family. A whole turkey breast is one wise-choice item, but, based on the questions coming to me via KE recently, many first-time stay-at-home-full-time cooks find themselves overwhelmed, intimidated and confused by a product they've passed by more times than they'd like...... View full recipe for "~Oven-Braising a Turkey Breast without a Dutch Oven~"

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 ~"

04/25/2020

~ Mexican-Style Rice-a-Roni and Chorizo Meatballs ~

Cinco de Mayo Rice-a-Roni? You betcha and cha-cha-cha. This fun to celebrate holiday is less than ten days away, so, no time like the present to plan something fun for dinner. While we all gotta do what we all gotta do, and, while desperate times do call for desperate measures, this spicy rice-a-roni and meatball dinner is so dang delicious, I guarantee you'll make it even during the best of times. I'm proud to say I invented it back when I was trying to keep three growing boys fed (aka "bottomless pits" as we moms refer to them), and they...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Rice-a-Roni and Chorizo Meatballs ~"

04/20/2020

~Homestyle Chicken and Vegetable Rice-a-Roni-Pilaf~

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 "~Homestyle Chicken and Vegetable Rice-a-Roni-Pilaf~"

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 ~"

04/07/2020

~Cheesy Ham, Green Bean & Hash Brown Casserole~

After our Easter feast, before we even washed the dishes, mom would put together a casserole from three of the leftovers. It wasn't rocket science, but, it was made from high-quality scratch-made ingredients. About three cups of cubed baked ham and two cups of buttery green (string) beans got stirred into the remaining cheesy scalloped potatoes. The following night, upon reheat, no one had to be called twice to the dinner table -- we four loved this meal. This is not that recipe. This is similar dish, made from pantry and freezer staples, for those times when you don't have...... View full recipe for "~Cheesy Ham, Green Bean & Hash Brown Casserole~"

04/02/2020

~Oodles of Tender Chicken & Egg Noodle Casserole~

Chicken-noodle soup is the quintessential comfort food. While nourishing the body, chicken-noodle soup channels the mind back to kinder, gentler, childhood times. When I was growing up, I don't remember eating canned chicken-noodle soup. Mom always had one-quart containers of homemade chicken soup in the freezer. When it was gone, she made more. That was that, haha, no canned chicken-noodle soup for me. While stocking my pantry with a few chicken-y staples (four boxes of chicken stock, two jars of granulated chicken bouillon, and, two double-size bags of wide egg noodles), my mind wandered to mom's chicken noodle casserole. Mom's...... View full recipe for "~Oodles of Tender Chicken & Egg Noodle Casserole~"

03/30/2020

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

Of course you would, and these couldn't be easier. All you need is two pounds of your favorite gold, red or Russet potatoes, some olive oil and one packet of the onion soup mix you forgot you had in your pantry. Yes my friends, a packet of onion soup mix is a souper seasoning for oven-roasted steak fries. After five minutes of prep time, they'll need 1 hour, 15 minutes to roast in a 350° oven, which frees of your hands for other tasks. That said, because steak fries are best served hot, right out of the oven, plan for...... View full recipe for "~Would You Like Onion-Laced Steak Fries with That?~"

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 ~"

03/22/2020

~Steakhouse Steak Salad w/Onion-Laced Steak Fries~

Grocery shopping has become a sport and pantry cooking has become an art form. Three out of seven ingredients I wanted were gone from the shelves yesterday, and, along with every protein, the price of steak has gone through the roof. For those who have a family to feed, these costs are cause to take many things off the table. It's disheartening. That said, by purchasing steak and serving it portioned and sliced atop a simple, uncomplicated, well-dressed salad (alongside a side of simple, uncomplicated, well-seasoned steak fries), it turns out to be kinda economical. Joe bought a two-pack of...... View full recipe for "~Steakhouse Steak Salad w/Onion-Laced Steak Fries~"

03/17/2020

~ Pantastic Sizzling One-Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas ~

Sheet pan meals have become remarkably popular over the past two-three years. The concept of tossing an array of ingredients together, scattering them around in a single layer on one pan, then roasting them in a hot oven, appeals to both novice and experienced cooks. The prep time is reasonably short, and, once the food's in the oven, the hands are free to tend to other things. If the sheet pan has been lined with aluminum foil first, clean up -- uh, there is almost no cleanup. I was late to the sheet pan dinner party, meaning, sheet-pan meals were...... View full recipe for "~ Pantastic Sizzling One-Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas ~"

03/14/2020

~Pork Chop & Baked Bean Casserole - Pork & Beans~

When my mom announced she was making pork and beans for dinner, she didn't mean she was opening a can of pork and beans -- in a way, kinda sorta she was, but, there was a bit more to it. It meant she had asked Vince, the butcher at The Valley Meat Market, to slice 8, 1/2"-3/4"-thick bone-in pork loin chops, plus a pound of bacon, so she could make her recipe for pork chop and homemade baked bean casserole. She started by seasoning and browning the chops in a skillet -- that took about 15 minutes. Next, she'd mix...... View full recipe for "~Pork Chop & Baked Bean Casserole - Pork & Beans~"

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~"

03/07/2020

~Five Fun Family-Friendly Weeknight Quiche Dinners~

When I lived alone in my apartment back in 1978, I made a quiche every Sunday. I ate one slice, then took one slice to work with me every day for lunch. After a few weeks, my new boss and other co-workers started hinting, then expecting me to bring them quiche too. For a period of time, I took an entire quiche to work with me almost every Monday. Fun times, great memories. I suppose, at the time, I could have referred to myself as the Happy Valley Quiche Queen! In the latter 1970's and into the 1980's, quiche became...... View full recipe for "~Five Fun Family-Friendly Weeknight Quiche Dinners~"

03/03/2020

~ Mel's Cheeseburger Quiche w/Special Sauce Salad ~

Cheeseburger pie was not something my mom ever made -- it existed back in the 1950's and 60's, she just never made it. As I recall, the recipe moms across America were using then was made popular by Bisquick. Mom probably didn't make it because dad wouldn't eat anything "casserole-ish". A cheeseburger pie or quiche was not something I thought I would ever make -- it existed in the 1970's and 80's, I just never felt like making it. That said, when you're a mom of three boys in the 1970's and 1980's and one of them comes home after...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Cheeseburger Quiche w/Special Sauce Salad ~"

02/29/2020

~ Creamy Chicken and Whole-Grain Mustard Quiche ~

Tender, juicy roast chicken served with a drizzle of mustard-laced cream sauce is one of my favorite dinners. Transitioning those mouth-watering textures and flavors into a quiche was one of the best ideas I ever had. It is exquisite, understated, elegance. I typically serve this for brunch or lunch with a side of buttery green beans almandine, a glass of white wine or champagne and "something chocolate" for dessert. Trust me, this is a restaurant-quality meal. That said, I'm a bit of a snob about this quiche. Only all-white breast meat please, meaning: roasted breasts or poached tenderloins. Don't go...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Chicken and Whole-Grain Mustard Quiche ~"

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 ~"

02/15/2020

~Five EZ All-Purpose Starchy Weeknight Side-Dishes~

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 & 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 "~Five EZ All-Purpose Starchy Weeknight Side-Dishes~"

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~"

01/31/2020

~ Frank's RedHot Buffalo-Style Chicken Chili Burritos ~

The day my Buffalo-style chicken chili met Texican-style burritos was a memorable one. It wasn't my idea, but, it sure was a tasty one. As the story goes, my pot of almost-effortless Buffalo-style chicken chili was steeping on the stovetop -- having made it a few hours earlier, I was allowing the flavors time to marry and would be reheating it for dinner. Our three boys trickled in after school, Joe got home after work, I ladled the chili into bowls, put a basket of tortilla chips on the table and we sat down. A few minutes into our meal,...... View full recipe for "~ Frank's RedHot Buffalo-Style Chicken Chili Burritos ~"