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450 posts categorized "20) Just Plain Easy, Comfort Food & Crockpot "

05/07/2019

~Kid's Stuff: Souper Fix-Quick Bowling-Night Meatloaf~

Bowling night. When I was growing up, depending on what league my parents were in, bowling night was either a Tuesday or a Thursday. They got my brother and I a babysitter, went out with their friends, and, on that night, we were allowed to stay up later than usual. We ate either a TV dinner, or, my favorite, mom's bowling-night meatloaf dinner. On the floor we two siblings sat, "Indian-style" (knees bent, ankles crossed) with one-foot-high TV trays in front of us (I had a Barbie tray, David had a Batman tray). In front of the television we ate...... View full recipe for "~Kid's Stuff: Souper Fix-Quick Bowling-Night Meatloaf~"

04/27/2019

~ Five Ways to Enjoy Slovak-Style Stuffed Cabbage ~

When it comes to making cabbage rolls, like meatloaf or meatballs, most cuisines have a traditional recipe for them, and, all make use of on-hand ingredients. For instance: If they live in an area suited for raising sheep, lamb is in their cabbage rolls. If they live in a climate where vegetables grow year round, you'll find veggies like bell peppers and chunky tomatoes in them. I will, however, go out on a limb and state: when I say "cabbage roll", you should say "Eastern European", because that is the cuisine they're hands-down most commonly associated with. Known as holubki...... View full recipe for "~ Five Ways to Enjoy Slovak-Style Stuffed Cabbage ~"

04/24/2019

~Slovak Vegetarian Cabbage & Tomato Lover's Soup~

I come from a long line of cabbage lovers. Known as kapusta in Eastern European inner circles, a week rarely passes that cabbage doesn't make it's way onto the dinner table in some form. Like my mother, the vegetable bin of my refrigerator is rarely without a head of green cabbage in it. Braised cabbage and carrots and butter-braised cabbage with egg noodles were two of our family's favorite side-dishes. Mom's stuffed cabbage rolls (made on the stovetop or in the crockpot) and my grandmother's stuffed cabbage soup with mini-meatballs (or with ground beef and rice) were two of our...... View full recipe for "~Slovak Vegetarian Cabbage & Tomato Lover's Soup~"

04/22/2019

~ Slovak Unstuffed-Cabbage Stew with Beef & Rice ~

While I was growing up and thru to today, my mother's stuffed cabbage rolls (made on the stovetop or in the crockpot) and my grandmother's stuffed cabbage soup with mini-meatballs were two of our family's favorite main-dish meals. The latter is the easier of the two ways to bring this traditional Eastern European comfort food to the table, but, I am here to tell you, there is a third, even easier method: Stir sautéed and nicely-seasoned ground beef and cooked rice to the easy-to-make cabbage soup base. From start to finish, it's on the table in 45 minutes. That said,...... View full recipe for "~ Slovak Unstuffed-Cabbage Stew with Beef & Rice ~"

04/20/2019

~ Slovak-Style Stuffed-Cabbage Soup with Meatballs ~

Known as holubki to me and golabki to many of you, stuffed cabbage rolls are beloved in every Eastern European household. Everyone makes them a bit differently, with the constants being: ground meat (beef, pork and/or lamb), cooked rice, steamed green cabbage leaves and a tomato-based sauce. Because they are labor-intensive, too often they're reserved for holidays or special occasions. That said, those of us in Eastern European inner-circles know there's another form of this knife-and-fork meal that brings this savory comfort food to the weekday table in half the time. Get out the bowls and spoons and meet my...... View full recipe for "~ Slovak-Style Stuffed-Cabbage Soup with Meatballs ~"

04/15/2019

~ Sopa de Albóndigas (Mexican-Style Meatball Soup) ~

Soup with meatballs swimming in it -- it's common in almost all cultures, and, there is a common reason for it too. In the history of food, and throughout all the documented ages, meat was for the wealthy. In spite of that, savvy cooks minced or ground unwanted scraps or lesser cuts of meat and combined them with inexpensive binders like breadcrumbs or rice, a liquid or egg, plus some common-to-the cuisine seasonings. They are to be commended for developing great-tasting meatball recipes which allowed the poorer classes to partake in a diet richer in protein. Albóndigas = meatballs, in...... View full recipe for "~ Sopa de Albóndigas (Mexican-Style Meatball Soup) ~"

03/22/2019

~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Corned Beef Sandwiches ~

Everyone I know associates corned beef and cabbage with St. Patrick's Day, but, tick-tock, I'd rather show up a day or two later for a corned beef sandwich. Truth told, Joe and I like corned beef sandwiches enough for me to buy corned beef a few times a year. That said, I typically don't serve them Rueben-style (with the 'kraut). We two prefer to eat ours made grilled-cheese-style with a big scoop of Russian- or Thousand Islands-dressed potato salad or cole slaw to the side. Having made Rachel sandwiches for our green-for-a-day holiday, I was thrilled to find corned beef...... View full recipe for "~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Corned Beef Sandwiches ~"

03/17/2019

~ Green-for-the-Day Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake ~

A green cake is not something one sees everyday, but, a green cake would obviously be an ideal dessert to serve for your St. Patrick's Day celebration. That said, this recipe came into my life for a very different celebration -- my bridal shower. My (now retro) signature color was a pale shade of prissy avocado green. A close friend of my mother offered to bake the cakes -- three, three-layer cakes decoratively slathered with a lovely shade of pastel-green frosting presented on three graduated-height cake pedestals. Agnes loved to bake and was a wonderful baker. Use a boxed cake...... View full recipe for "~ Green-for-the-Day Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake ~"

03/15/2019

~ The Secret's in the Slaw Rachel-on-Rye Sandwich ~

I crave a Reuben sandwich once or twice a year. The Rachel sandwich, on the other hand, is: standard operating procedure in my kitchen. My refrigerator is rarely without some super-thin sliced deli turkey breast and/or pastrami, and, my favorite Lacey Swiss cheese -- it often has a container of semi-homemade or deli-style coleslaw in it too. That means, with a slice or two of lightly-toasted Jewish-style rye bread, a Racheal sandwich is only a few short minutes away. When I crave a Reuben sandwich, I'm more inclined to make one or all of the components from scratch: bake a...... View full recipe for "~ The Secret's in the Slaw Rachel-on-Rye Sandwich ~"

02/22/2019

~ Just Say Yes to Canned Peaches to Make Clafoutis ~

What a wonderful way to make a Summer fruit dessert in the middle of Winter. It's no secret that, without exception, I'll always choose to make a fruit dessert over any dessert -- and that causes me problems when lot of my favorite stone fruits and berries are out of season. I'm always hesitant to substitute canned fruit in a recipe that calls for fresh (everyone should be), but, yesterday, on a whim, I decided to give the two 29-ounce cans of sliced peaches in my pantry a try in my clafoutis recipe. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and I gained...... View full recipe for "~ Just Say Yes to Canned Peaches to Make Clafoutis ~"

02/11/2019

~ Effortlessly-Regal No-Brainer Blackberry Clafoutis ~

I'm continually astonished by how many cooks have no idea what clafoutis is, or, assume from its name that it's hard to make. If I were to write The Big Book of No-Brainer Desserts, clafoutis would be on the cover. Whisk up a simple batter (eggs, cream or milk, sugar, salt, flour, melted butter and brandy or extract), pour it over some fresh fruit and bake. Cherries are the classic addition, with any type of berries, combination of berries, or tender stone fruit like apricots, plums and peaches being common substitutions. Currently, I'm secretly addicted to the one-pound boxes of...... View full recipe for "~ Effortlessly-Regal No-Brainer Blackberry Clafoutis ~"

02/09/2019

~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. A double-whammy of calories and carbohydrates are going on our dinner table tonight. Why? Because eating spaghetti and meatballs without a great big basket of garlic bread on the table is, gulp, culinarily criminal. We'll have a salad too, because it too goes great with this meal (not because it's healthy or to make me feel less guilty). Everybody knows spaghetti and meatballs require garlic bread, a salad and a bottle of red wine. Garlic bread isn't Italian. Neither is spaghetti & meatballs. While many regard spaghetti & meatballs as quintessential Italian, the...... View full recipe for "~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~"

02/06/2019

~Slow-Cooker Italian-Style Sunday Gravy & Meatballs~

Sunday gravy. Tomato sauce, simmering low and slow in a pot brimming with meatballs bobbing around -- what's not to love. It's a tradition in the Italian-American kitchen and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon -- stirring a pot of bubbling sauce and sipping wine with the family and some friends milling around. That said, I grew up in an Eastern European household -- we ate spaghetti and meatballs on Tuesdays, as Sundays were for roast chicken or pot roast and "the other gravy". Mom and dad designated Tuesdays as our day to have spaghetti and meatballs. While...... View full recipe for "~Slow-Cooker Italian-Style Sunday Gravy & Meatballs~"

02/04/2019

~Onion & Garlic Cauliflower & Gold Mashed Potatoes~

Smashed, mashed or whipped potatoes -- you love them, I know you do, everyone does. Cauliflower -- maybe you love it, maybe you don't, but if you do, you'll love the combination of buttery-rich mashed cauliflower and potatoes laced with bits of onion and garlic. It's the divine intervention of the creamy-comforting side-dish food world -- it happens when the mild- and slightly-nutty flavored sun-soaked "cabbage flower" meets the sun-starved, earthy and starchy potato. Make no mistake, when boiled and mashed, cauliflower is great, but it's: mashed cauliflower -- just because it's the same color, doesn't make it "just like"...... View full recipe for "~Onion & Garlic Cauliflower & Gold Mashed Potatoes~ "

01/31/2019

~ Quick as the Craving for Cream of Cauliflower Soup ~

January is National Soup Month, and, the cauliflower in my grocery stores is gorgeous right now. Do the math: soup + cauliflower = cauliflower soup -- more specifically, a savory, smooth, satisfying soup that can be made in about thirty minutes. I simply stop there, and so should you because it's full-of-flavor and fantastic as is, with a humble parsley garnish floating on top, so, oh-my-sigh, no cheese please, and, believe it or not, not everything tastes better with bits of bacon. How much is in a head of cauliflower? How much should I buy? Mother Nature did not have...... View full recipe for "~ Quick as the Craving for Cream of Cauliflower Soup ~"

01/22/2019

~ Twelve-in-an-Hour Chicken-Vegetable Soup Bowls ~

Fifteen minutes of prep time and forty-five minutes of stovetop simmering later (slightly longer for you slow-handed choppers), we sat down in front of these steaming bowls of chicken-vegetable soup, ate, and got back to business as usual, which included freezing ten soup bowls for future consumption. Had you arrived in time for lunch, I'd have offered you a bowl, and, you'd never guess it didn't simmer, and I didn't slave over it, all day. It's simply THAT good, as long as the recipe is followed as written, and, it yields the same amount, twelve two-cup bowls, every time. This...... View full recipe for "~ Twelve-in-an-Hour Chicken-Vegetable Soup Bowls ~"

01/20/2019

~ Florentine-Style Ricotta Cheese & Spinach 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 "~ Florentine-Style Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Sauce ~"

01/15/2019

~ Easy Boursin Sauce for Pasta, Seafood & Veggies ~

Knowing how to make a super-quick cheese sauce is indispensable for any number of reasons. Friends can drop by without notice, a snowstorm requires some pantry cooking, or, the craving for something rich, creamy, cheesy and comforting must be quelled. This five-minutes to make sauce is as delicious as it is easy, which is what makes it more than worthy of a blog post. Both Joe and I love it tossed into pasta (sometimes with some chards of roasted chicken thrown in too), it's a fantastic sauce for seafood (if you're not a purist about cheese and seafood together), and,...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Boursin Sauce for Pasta, Seafood & Veggies ~"

11/23/2018

~ Sweet Potato, Apple & Sausage Bundt-Pan Stuffing ~

Stuffing baked in a bundt pan makes for a picture-perfect presentation that brings a smile to everyone. From a practical standpoint, it feeds a crowd (or a small gathering of stuffing lovers) and it's very user-friendly: it easy to portion, slice and serve at the table or on the buffet line, and, slices are especially convenient on closed or open-faced turkey sandwiches. Stuffing slices can be wrapped, stacked and frozen too -- for those times when one has to have a slice of stuffing. Nicely-sliced stuffing is not new-to-me -- it's old-school brilliance. My grandmother always baked her stuffing in...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Potato, Apple & Sausage Bundt-Pan Stuffing ~"

11/20/2018

~ Nicely-Sliced: Stuffing in a Bundt Pan Stuffing Ring ~

Nicely-sliced stuffing is not new-to-me -- it's old-school brilliance. My grandmother always baked her stuffing in two loaf pans because it was an efficient use of oven space. As a savvy cook, she figured out that two, high, narrow loaf pans took up less oven space than a low, shallow casserole while yielding about the same amount. Her stuffing loaves baked on either side of the roasting turkey with miscellaneous other casseroles strategically placed on the remaining upper rack. Some fun facts about making stuffing in a bundt pan: Making Thanksgiving stuffing in a 12-cup bundt pan does not take...... View full recipe for "~ Nicely-Sliced: Stuffing in a Bundt Pan Stuffing Ring ~"

11/10/2018

~ Side-by-Side: Texican Chili & Mexican Rice Bowls ~

Side by side. Arm in arm. Hand in hand. The combination of steaming-hot Tex-Mex-style chili and Mexican-style rice teamed up in the same bowl is a hearty, satisfying, yummalicious meal. I was, however, taken aback to learn, that, unlike spaghetti and meatballs for example, it's not a duo that most folks pair together right "off the top of their head". When my neighbor dropped by yesterday to borrow some herbs de Provence from my spice rack, she found me eating a chili-rice bowl for lunch. With a look of wonderment, she said, "why didn't I think of that?" She went...... View full recipe for "~ Side-by-Side: Texican Chili & Mexican Rice Bowls ~"

10/05/2018

~ Buttery Rum and Raisin Croissant Bread Pudding ~

A humble bread pudding is the perfect use for past-its-prime bread, and, in my kitchen, next to a French baguette or batard, I believe buttery croissants to be perfect foil for flavor-laced eggy custard. In fact, croissants make such superb bread pudding, if I know I've got guests coming for the weekend (especially during the tailgate and holiday season), I purposely buy croissants two or three days ahead of time, just to be able to serve it as a sweet treat with breakfast or brunch. Croissants, split in half, w/raisins sandwiched in between... ... swimming in a butter-rum & vanilla...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery Rum and Raisin Croissant Bread Pudding ~"

09/30/2018

~ Chick Flicks and Curried Chicken Salad Croissants ~

It's no secret I'm a movie buff. I've watched movies every day since I was ten-ish. My favorites, old or new, are based on true-stories, history or best-selling books. My least favorites are star-warrian and science-fictionous, and, I have no interest in fantasy or animation. I enjoy a good whodunnit crime drama or an occasional action-packed adventure but won't watch horror-infused slashing-for-shock-value movies. Comedies and satires are great, but, romantic, tear-jerking or feel-good chick flicks are better. You know the ones -- those you can't pay the guy in your life to sit and watch with you (but it would...... View full recipe for "~ Chick Flicks and Curried Chicken Salad Croissants ~"

09/24/2018

~ Mom's Crockpot Casserole Stuffed Cabbage Rolls ~

If you grew up in an Eastern European family, you grew up eating stuffed cabbage rolls -- known as "holupki" to me and "golumpki" to many of you. From weeknight family-style dinners to holidays or special occasions, this beloved meal is a staple on the table. Everyone makes them a bit differently, with the constants being: ground meat (beef, pork and/or lamb), rice or grain, green cabbage leaves and a tomato-based sauce. If you grew up in an Eastern European family and you currently write a blog, you proclaim your family's stuffed cabbage to be the best. I fall into...... View full recipe for "~ Mom's Crockpot Casserole Stuffed Cabbage Rolls ~"

09/19/2018

~Lo & Slow-Cooker Jerk-Style Baby-Back Spare-Ribs~

Jerk seasoning was/is the dry spice blend used to season jerky, and Jamaican jerk seasoning, known for the flavors of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, thyme and Scotch bonnet pepper, is perhaps the most famous. Throughout the Caribbean, islanders preserved/cured their spice-rubbed meats by drying them in the intense sun or over a slow fire -- this allowed the meat to be taken on long journeys and eaten as is or reconstituted in boiling water. The word most likely transitioned to the verb, "jerking", in reference to the way the meat gets "jerked" around on the grill as it cooks. The machinations...... View full recipe for "~Lo & Slow-Cooker Jerk-Style Baby-Back Spare-Ribs~"

09/14/2018

~Toasted-Coconut-Kissed Butter-Rum Mango Cream~

In terms of relatively quick-to-make no-bake desserts, this five-ingredient show-stopper takes the cake. It's refreshingly-light and smooth-as-silk with a trio of flavors everyone loves about the Caribbean islands accounted for in every creamy bite -- mango, rum and coconut. It's thickened by super-stiff whipped cream -- no eggs or gelatine. No one needs to know these didn't take all day to make. Serve 'em right after they're put together to quell a craving, or make 'em a day ahead to impress a few friends, just make 'em -- they are truly a don't worry, be happy dessert. Fall back fifty...... View full recipe for "~Toasted-Coconut-Kissed Butter-Rum Mango Cream~"

09/08/2018

~ Sweet Heat: Island-Style Mango or Pineapple Salsa ~

In my food world, one of the most common background noises is the chatter of friends or family talking about the great price they scored on a basket or flat of prime produce. It's big news. Last week I was the one bragging about the flat of perfect mangos I toddled into my kitchen with. At 2-for-$1, it was exciting news. On par with fresh pineapple, mangos are my favorite exotic fruit. Similar in taste and texture to peaches, my first taste of this juicy stone fruit came in Thailand, where a mango hedgehog* was served, compliments of the hotel,...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Island-Style Mango or Pineapple Salsa ~"

06/12/2018

~ Have a Very-Berry Blackberry-Cobbler Kind of Day ~

Here today, gone today. That's the lifespan of blackberries entering my kitchen. I've been told their dark color makes them really good for me -- even more antioxidants than blueberries. Rah-rah-sis-boom-bah, I'd eat them even if they were on on the not-so-good-for-me foods short list. When I buy a box of blackberries, I eat a box of blackberries. When I pick blackberries, they disappear on the walk to my kitchen door. I do not share blackberries -- well, maybe, probably I would, but, I've yet to be tested on this point. That said, because blackberries require no special treatment (peeling,...... View full recipe for "~ Have a Very-Berry Blackberry-Cobbler Kind of Day ~"

06/07/2018

~ Two Basic Marinades/Sauces for Chinese Stir-Fry ~

The definition of a stir-fry is straightforward: To fry small morsels of meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and/or vegetables rapidly, in a wok or skillet, over a high heat, in a small amount of oil or fat, while stirring constantly. The concept is an easy one to grasp. Stir-fries were invented by the Chinese, but, it was Chinese Cantonese chefs, who specialized in stir-frying, that were amongst the first to immigrate to other Asian and European countries, our USA, then countries all around the world, where, over a relatively short period of time, they put the word stir-fry in the global...... View full recipe for "~ Two Basic Marinades/Sauces for Chinese Stir-Fry ~"

06/04/2018

~ Chinese-Style Tomato-Eggs: For Any Time of Day ~

The incredible, edible egg. For centuries, the Chinese recognized how good the protein-packed egg is. So much so, eggs are their symbol of the principals-of-life: "yin" being the white, "yang" being the yolk.* Eggs, colored or marbled, celebrate birth, restoration of good health, continued good-luck and/or future prosperity. Dating back to ancient times, eggs of any kind (chicken, duck quail and pigeon) were incorporated into meals all day long (fluffy scrambled tomato eggs, flan-like steamed eggs, omelette-esque egg fu young, wispy egg drop soup, vinegary pickled eggs, tea-flavored smoked eggs, etc.), with mushrooms and/or seafood being common additions. *Note: Yin...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese-Style Tomato-Eggs: For Any Time of Day ~"

05/25/2018

~ Spring Chicken w/Garlic-Butter Pasta & Asparagus ~

This winner of a weeknight chicken dinner is taken straight from pages of my working parents' playbook. Before heading out the door in the morning, my mom would put four chicken breasts, doused with store-bought Italian dressing, in a bowl, and, at the end of the work day, dad would dredge the breasts in bread crumbs and sauté them in a skillet, while mom cooked a box of kid-friendly pasta and readied some fresh green beans. It was simple and straightforward, nothing fancy, but, it was a dinner we all liked, right down to the vegetable. If we four could...... View full recipe for "~ Spring Chicken w/Garlic-Butter Pasta & Asparagus ~"

05/12/2018

~ The Perfectly-Broiled 22-Minute Pork Blade Steak ~

The pork blade steak is my new-to-me muse -- in my own words, it's a bone-fide kick-butt man-sized pork chop. Known as pork steak, pork butt steak or pork blade steak, these bone-in steaks are cut from the shoulder of the pig -- the same part of the porcine used to make pulled pork. Similar in taste and texture to close-kin country-style spareribs*, they were invented in St. Louis, MO, and are a Midwest staple. As a country-style spare-rib lover living in central Pennsylvania, I ask the Sam's Club butcher to custom-cut these inexpensive, lesser-to-unknown-to-our-locale steaks for me. Perhaps this...... View full recipe for "~ The Perfectly-Broiled 22-Minute Pork Blade Steak ~"

05/09/2018

~Creamy, Cheesy & E-Z Chile-Lime Refried Bean Dip~

I love a starry night. Sitting outside in the warm Summer air, watching the sun set and listening to my next-door neighbors, the dairy cows, lowing in the pasture -- it's peaceful. That said, on some Summer nights, Thursdays during June, July and August, a band plays "up on the mountain" (the ski slope to the other side of the cow pasture). Weather permitting, on those toe-tapping evenings, if you stop by, you'll find a snack or three on the table next to the cooler of Corona. My neighbors, music on the mountain, &, bean dip. This easy bean dip...... View full recipe for "~Creamy, Cheesy & E-Z Chile-Lime Refried Bean Dip~"

04/21/2018

~ Easy Does It: Mexican Chicken & Spicy Rice Soup ~

For the most part, I find recipes made from a melange of leftover "this and that" to be a compromise. With every forkful, they remind me I'm eating a week's worth of leftovers, repurposed to make me feel less guilty about their inevitable demise. After a few bites, I find myself wishing I'd left well enough alone: made a sandwich out of the chicken, cooked a steak to go with last night's rice, or, eaten the blanched broccoli and carrots hand-to-mouth as a snack. "Waste not, want not." It's admirable -- rah-rah-zis-boom-bah and count me in. That said, it's my...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Does It: Mexican Chicken & Spicy Rice Soup ~"

04/07/2018

~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~

When I want a perfectly-cooked, rare- to medium-rare steak, one that gets cooked indoors, next to the elegant filet mignon, the rustic flank steak is my choice. That said, in terms of taste, texture, versatility and price, without compromise, hands-down the flank steak wins on all points -- which is why I purchase one or two almost every week. In my food world, there's plenty of room for premium Delmonicos, NY strips, porterhouse and T-bones too, but, in terms of cooking steak indoors vs. grilling steak outdoors, those cuts typically "just don't do it" for me like filet or flank....... View full recipe for "~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~"

04/05/2018

~ Pasta with Butter and Cheese and Sweet Sausage ~

The Italians came up with the cure for the late-night movie-watching snack-attack centuries ago: Pasta al burro con formaggino (pasta with butter and cheese). It's a no-nonsense, feed-me-now-snack, a quick-to-make side dish, and, it's a delicious foil for flavorful pasta sauces too. Choose any shape of pasta (short, fork-friendly shapes work best), and, if you have a link or a patty of breakfast sausage on-hand, not only do the flavors melt into the mixture like they were born to be there, without almost any extra effort, it transforms the dish into a hearty meal for one or two. A simple,...... View full recipe for "~ Pasta with Butter and Cheese and Sweet Sausage ~"

03/30/2018

~Vegetarian Herb Gravy for Whatever Floats the Boat~

An all-purpose gravy that goes well on almost anything? You betcha. One basic recipe, made with a few pantry staples, and, in a few minutes (tick, tock), voila: a great gravy that carnivores and vegetarians can sit down to enjoy, together, in harmony. Yes indeedy, sans pan drippings, a luxurious gravy to drizzle over all things gravy goes on: chicken-fried or smothered anything, meatloaf or hamburger steaks, open-faced bread-, biscuit- or waffle- sandwiches, French fries or poutine, rice or noodles, steamed or roasted vegetables, etc., etc., etc. Read on: Got drippings leftover from a roast? Add them along w/the stock....... View full recipe for "~Vegetarian Herb Gravy for Whatever Floats the Boat~"

03/27/2018

~Gone Bananas: Double Banana Pudding Poke Cake~

Retro recipes with a history to report or a story to share, are fun for me to write. While plenty of versions for this particular cake are available on the internet, my reason for adding "mine" is two fold: plenty of present day cooks have no idea what a poke cake is, and, this particular one is, one of three poke cake recipes my mom made when I was growing up in the 1960's and '70's. Because banana pudding is classic and traditional Southern fare (a layered dessert of vanilla cookies, sliced bananas, vanilla pudding and meringue), that would indeed...... View full recipe for "~Gone Bananas: Double Banana Pudding Poke Cake~"

03/24/2018

~ How to: Perfectly Reheat a Leftover Slice of Pizza ~

Pizza is a staple in my kitchen, and, as a wife and mother who is well-known for craving a "slice of 'za" at midnight, leftover pizza is not something I throw away. More often than not, it's a few slices of my beloved homemade pie, on rare occasions it's delivery, and, snack pizza, the kind we quickly put together on flatbread (like pocketless pita, Naan and English muffins) are, like bread, milk and eggs, omnipresent in my refrigerator or freezer. That said, I am not a fan of cold pizza. I prefer my serving of pizza to be hot with...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Perfectly Reheat a Leftover Slice of Pizza ~"

03/19/2018

~ Teriyaki-Style Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~

How you cook spare-ribs is your business. Here in Happy Valley, sometimes we smoke 'em, sometimes we grill 'em, occasionally I make them in the oven, and, recently, I've started experimenting with slow-cooking them. Past that, even if you aren't a fan of crocket science, it might interest you to know that Japanese-seven-spice blend and teriyaki sauce, when substituted for traditional Tex-Mex rubs-and-mops is a delicious alternative to typical ribs -- give 'em a try. Do not confuse spicy "Japanese-seven-spice" powder with aromatic Chinese five-spice powder. They are completely different. "Shichimi togarashi", originated in Japanese apothecaries in the 17th century...... View full recipe for "~ Teriyaki-Style Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~"

02/16/2018

~ Warm and Cozy Crockpot Casserole Rice Pudding ~

Hear me out -- rice pudding made in the crockpot or slow cooker is never, EVER going to be competitive in a contest with the super-creamy-textured stovetop-cooked rice pudding made with Arborio-type rice simmered in a custard-esque cream and tempered-egg mixture. It won't happen and ignore those who promise it will -- but, don't let this information lower your expectations. Rice pudding made in the crockpot is simply scrumptious, and, seriously easy to make too, so: On the days when the machinations of hovering over rice pudding made on the stovetop is just too much fuss... ... simply allow the...... View full recipe for "~ Warm and Cozy Crockpot Casserole Rice Pudding ~"

02/11/2018

~Pork Butt Blade Steaks w/Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce~

Known as pork steaks, pork butt steaks or pork blade steaks, these bone-in steaks are cut from the shoulder of the pig -- the same part of the porcine used to make pulled pork. Similar in taste and texture to close-kin country-style spareribs*, they were invented in St. Louis, MO, and are a Midwest staple. As a country-style spare rib lover living in central Pennsylvania, I ask my butcher to custom-cut these inexpensive, lesser-to-unknown-here steaks for me. Perhaps this post will help them to catch on "here in the counties", and start showing up in our local markets. *Country-style ribs...... View full recipe for "~Pork Butt Blade Steaks w/Peachy Keen BBQ Sauce~"

02/02/2018

~ An Apple-a-Day & Granola Too, Breakfast for Two ~

If you're not too lazy to peel and slice one apple in the AM, and if you keep a bag of granola in your pantry, a steaming-hot, flavorful and filling breakfast is five-minutes from your fingertips. What I like about this "what I cook for me" recipe is: everything. As a kid, I loved stewed apples -- somewhere in between apple pie filling and chunky applesauce, they are less sweet with a less thickened, au natural, taste and texture. My mother made stewed apples to serve with her pork roast for dinner, but, she'd always set a small bowl aside...... View full recipe for "~ An Apple-a-Day & Granola Too, Breakfast for Two ~"

01/31/2018

~ Low & Slow-Cooked Crockpot-Casserole Meatloaf ~

Meatloaf cooked in the crockpot -- it's not crock-our-world crocket science. Busy home cooks have been using Betty Crocker's method for slow-cooking meatloaf for decades. Having been a stay-at-home-mom all my life, I've always cooked my mom's all-beef meatloaf in the traditional manner, by popping it into a 350° oven for about an hour, but, having tasted the crockpot-cooked versions of relatives and friends, I can report: they're quite good. For the most part, there's no discernible difference between a crockpot-cooked meatloaf vs. an oven-baked meatloaf. That said, when it comes to catering to a crowd for a casual get-together,...... View full recipe for "~ Low & Slow-Cooked Crockpot-Casserole Meatloaf ~"

01/18/2018

~ Bone-Suckin' Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~

The machinations of making ribs in a slow cooker never seemed right to me -- kind of like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I've seen people bend entire racks, slice and stack sections, even cut them into individual riblets That type of rib abuse is why I never attempted it, but, as a person who likes my ribs fall-of-the-bone tender, there was never a doubt the slow cooker could achieve that. After all, just like a Dutch oven placed on the stovetop or in the oven, it's what slow cookers do, tenderize meat -- especially...... View full recipe for "~ Bone-Suckin' Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~"

01/15/2018

~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~

Welsh rarebit -- the original cheese toast. It's worth mention that I've only eaten what I believe to be the real-deal once. It was in the latter 1990's, in Wales, in the exquisite Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel (coy-dee-moo-ster). It came to me as a complimentary side to a lovely salad (which I ordered after returning from shopping in the city of Cardiff). The cheese toast, along with everything else in this hotel, was perfect. I kicked off my high-heels and enjoyed it in my lavish room, overlooking the How-Green-was-My-Valley countryside, with a very English G&T too. I gave cheese toast a lot...... View full recipe for "~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~"

01/12/2018

~ Well-Seasoned Vegetarian Vegetable & Bean Soup ~

I adore our country's famous Senate bean soup -- chocked full of navy beans, shards of meat from ham hocks or shanks, onion and celery. Everything from its rich history to is smokey flavor and creamy texture is perfection -- I've even had the pleasure of eating in the Senate dining room in Washington, D.C. That said, I have vegetarian friends -- not many, but, they enjoy making their presence known in my kitchen. When they do, I'm happy to go meatless for a few hours. Yesterday was one such afternoon. A pot of this relatively-easy-to-make vegetarian version of my...... View full recipe for "~ Well-Seasoned Vegetarian Vegetable & Bean Soup ~"

11/25/2017

~ A Classic Mornay (Gruyère and Parmesan) Sauce ~

The modern-day Mornay sauce we enjoy is a béchamel sauce (a classic, French roux-based cream sauce, not to mention the last of the original, five French mother sauces to be invented). Shredded Gruyère and grated Parmesan cheeses get melted into the béchamel at the end. I like to refer to this easy-to-prepare "secondary sauce" ("a spin-off" of one of the originals) as: "the mother of all cheese sauces." That said, named after the Duke of Mornay (who lived during the late 16th and early 17th Centuries), the sauce was originally prepared using a velouté sauce (a slightly-thinner, stock-based sauce thickened...... View full recipe for "~ A Classic Mornay (Gruyère and Parmesan) Sauce ~"

11/18/2017

~ My Twenty-Five Minute Chicken Thigh & Rice Soup ~

During the past few months, due to the illness of a family member, I've had to cook and eat more than a few meals in a hurry and on the run. Even with a sort-of unlimited budget, I found out quickly how time constrictions affect purchasing decisions. I'd never shopped the aisles of "quick cooking" or "instant" before. I'd always had all the time needed to leisurely cook breakfast, lunch or dinner, so, I admittedly found this frustrating. That said, I had decided early to look upon the drive-through windows as last resorts. Successes intermingled with failures, but, before long,...... View full recipe for "~ My Twenty-Five Minute Chicken Thigh & Rice Soup ~"

11/11/2017

~ My Mom's Old-Fashioned Home-Canned Peach Pie~

The Summer peach season is long over, but, in my kitchen, that is not a reason to not bake a peach pie. Yes, you can use canned peaches to make a peach pie, and, if the peaches are home-canned with love, the pie is just as good, if not better, than a pie made with fresh peaches. I'm not joking. Women have been doing it for generations. They water-bath-canned large quantities of fruits and vegetables so the family could enjoy them during the cold weather months. My mother's pantry was never without home-canned peaches. My grandmother had a green thumb,...... View full recipe for "~ My Mom's Old-Fashioned Home-Canned Peach Pie~"