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

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 brother0 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 ~"

03/14/2020

~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~"

03/05/2020

~Simple and Basic Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Quiche~

Bacon and eggs. It's so simple even a caveman can do it. It's rustic man food -- put the two in a skillet and fry 'em up. Men love to fry food -- I think it's the sizzle that attracts them. Bacon and eggs plus cheese and cream whisked together and gently baked in a flaky pie pastry -- it could be described as refined woman food. Generally speaking, women enjoy fussing with food and fussy foods. While I'm uncertain as to the percentage of men who would make a quiche for themselves, I can attest to the fact that...... View full recipe for "~Simple and Basic Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Quiche~"

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 ~"

02/27/2020

~ 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 ~"

02/15/2020

~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~"

01/18/2020

~ 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 ~"

01/07/2020

~No Soup for You Home-Style Chicken-Noodle Bowls~

It gets made in a pot of stock but it's not a soup. It's not a stew either. This heartwarming, down-home comfort-food dish is the great-grandmother of all noodle bowls. Some refer to it as Southern, my experience with it is as an Eastern European, and, I know from first-hand experience the Pennsylvania Deutsch make it too. I suspect they make it in Midwest as well. It's bite-sized pieces of tender chicken cooked in well-seasoned chicken stock with aromatic carrots, celery, onion and potatoes. Egg noodles go directly into the pot to cook and absorb almost all the flavorful broth....... View full recipe for "~No Soup for You Home-Style Chicken-Noodle Bowls~"

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~"

12/12/2019

~ Baked Three-Cheesy Hot Broccoli & Pimiento Dip ~

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

12/05/2019

~ Six Recipes for Fabulously-Flavored Holiday Fudge ~

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

12/03/2019

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

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

11/30/2019

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

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

11/28/2019

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

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

11/25/2019

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

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

11/22/2019

~Milk-Chocolate and Toasted-Coconut Lover's Fudge~

As one who in all seriousness does not crave chocolate, when I do eat it it, my taste leans toward milk chocolate, with Swiss Lindt being my chocolate of choice. Even as a kid, I pretty much turned my prissy little nose up at chocolate, with one exception. Every year for Christmas, mom would put a few Russel Stover milk-chocolate toasted-coconut wreaths in my stocking. For Easter, milk-chocolate toasted-coconut bird's nests went in my basket. I love them to this day. While I didn't invent the idea for milk-chocolate toasted-coconut fudge, once I had a great base recipe for fudge,...... View full recipe for "~Milk-Chocolate and Toasted-Coconut Lover's Fudge~"

11/20/2019

~Dark Chocolate Lover's Killer Dark-Chocolate Fudge~

Everyone remembers their first bite of fudge -- that creamy, semi-soft confection made with corn syrup and/or sugar, butter, cream and flavoring. Hands-down, the most popular flavor is dark chocolate, with milk chocolate in second. Peanut butter, butterscotch, maple and vanilla are all contenders for the third spot. When I was growing up, Agnes was our next-door neighbor. She loved to bake, and throughout the years her sweet treats made their way to our table often. Every year, on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, Agnes joined our family for dinner and graced our dessert table with a plate of fudge...... View full recipe for "~Dark Chocolate Lover's Killer Dark-Chocolate Fudge~ "

11/09/2019

~ Let's Talk about Roasted Turkey Breast Tenderloins ~

While my family always celebrates Turkey Day with a traditional dinner, with all the pomp and circumstances leading up to the moment when the oven-roasted and well-rested turkey gets carved and served, there are many folks, both novice and experienced cooks, (single men and women, young couples, elderly couples, etc.) who neither need nor want, or, don't have the time for an entire turkey. There are other folks, for whatever the reason, simply want to eat some turkey for the sake of the day and move on. That's why I'm talking about turkey tenderloins. While we're all familiar with whole,...... View full recipe for "~ Let's Talk about Roasted Turkey Breast Tenderloins ~"

11/07/2019

~Let's Talk about Poached Turkey Breast Tenderloins~

We're all familiar with chicken breast tenderloins. Weighing in at about 2-3 ounces each, these 4 1/2"-5" long, thin strips of chicken are the tenderest part of the chicken. I love them, and use them often, because, quite frankly, they are superior to the last-luster, "rubber chicken" boneless, skinless breast. Whole, chopped, sliced or lightly-pounded, they cook quickly. They can be poached or simmered, pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried, or grilled-panned to use in any recipe that requires cooked chicken -- appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, or casseroles, and, dishes like chicken curry, Parmesan, Milanese, Oscar, Piccata, etc. They're versatile. While we're all...... View full recipe for "~Let's Talk about Poached Turkey Breast Tenderloins~"

10/28/2019

~How to Make My Crispy Crunchy Flour Tortilla Wisps~

Like corn tortillas, flour tortillas do great in the deep-fryer. They fry up really fast, in less than three minutes, and, come out super-crispy and light and airy too, meaning: they're not nearly as dense as corn tortillas. They almost melt in your mouth. Because flour tortillas are a bit too fragile to make traditionally shaped taco shells, they're traditionally deep-fried whole, in a molded fryer-basket, to make large-edible bowls for serving taco salad. That said, in my kitchen I like to make these fun little wisps, to use to garnish Tex-Mex-style soups, salads and 'burgers. Fry these fun little...... View full recipe for "~How to Make My Crispy Crunchy Flour Tortilla Wisps~"

10/25/2019

~ Making Baked Restaurant-Style Taco Salad Bowls ~

When you're in a Mexican restaurant, if a taco salad, the kind served in an edible deep-fried flour tortilla bowl, is one of your favorite menu items, or, if you prepare taco salad at home often enough to merit wanting to serve it restaurant-style, in an edible bowl, you should know there is an alternative to deep-frying them. A small investment of about $15.00 will get you four fluted bowl molds that will enable you to bake professional looking tortilla bowls in the oven. Not a fearless fryer? Baked is the way to go. Serving taco salad in edible bowls...... View full recipe for "~ Making Baked Restaurant-Style Taco Salad Bowls ~"

10/23/2019

~How to Deep-Fry Restaurant-Style Taco Salad Bowls~

If you prepare taco salad often enough to merit wanting to serve it restaurant-style, in the traditional deep-fried, flour tortilla bowl, I highly suggest making a small investment, $15.00-ish, in a metal, one- or two-piece fryer-basket that will not only make this task easy-as-pie, it will keep you or yours from getting burned by jury-rigged crack-pot methods -- puns intended. All kidding aside, regulating the heat on an open pot of hot oil on the stovetop, while maneuvering a tin can placed inside a larger can to form the taco bowl, is an accident waiting to happen. Serving taco salad...... View full recipe for "~How to Deep-Fry Restaurant-Style Taco Salad Bowls~"

09/18/2019

~ Mrs. T's Pierogy, Kielbasa & Sauerkraut Casserole ~

One doesn't need Eastern European roots to enjoy pierogi, but, if you are of Eastern European heritage, you grew up knowing they're much more than a potato-and-cheese stuffed, half-moon shaped dumpling. Pierogi can be stuffed with all sorts of savory or sweet fillings to serve as a snack, side-dish, main-dish or dessert. They can be boiled, baked, sautéed, deep-fried or grilled -- some recipes can be transitioned to the microwave or slow-cooker. They can be made ahead and frozen too. About the only thing you can't do with pierogi is put them in a sandwich. Pierogi (singular and plural, meaning:...... View full recipe for "~ Mrs. T's Pierogy, Kielbasa & Sauerkraut Casserole ~"

09/15/2019

~ The Perfectly-Seasoned 16-Minute Broiled Burger ~

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

09/02/2019

~ Old-Fashioned Applesauce and Spice Bundt Cake ~

There's nothing like the aroma of a spice cake baking on the eve of the Fall season. We can all agree that an applesauce and spice cake is even better. A one-bowl cake that can be mixed in minutes with just the aid of a whisk and a rubber spatula is better yet. This recipe appeared in our local newspaper 20+ years ago (it was that long ago because we lived in another house). It was our local Grange Fair's baking contest winner. It touted a gingerbread-like texture containing all the flavors of Fall (cinnamon, ginger and cloves), and, it...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Applesauce and Spice Bundt Cake ~"

08/07/2019

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

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

08/05/2019

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

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

07/18/2019

~ My Mexican-Style Ground Beef & Chorizo Meatloaf ~

Meatloaf. Say the word aloud in the company of family or friends, or even culinary professionals -- you'll find that almost everyone wants to share a fond memory, tell an interesting story, or, recite a favorite recipe or three. Beware of the soul who has no affection or appreciation for meatloaf. Once a Depression-era meal born out of pure necessity, it enabled savvy home cooks to stretch precious protein in order to feed more people. That said, everyone will nod in agreement that, nowadays, meatloaf can be whatever you want it to be: an economical family-style comfort meal or a...... View full recipe for "~ My Mexican-Style Ground Beef & Chorizo Meatloaf ~"

07/07/2019

~Southwestern Cheese-Topped Corn & Bean Pudding~

From chicken and ribs to rib-eye, flank and skirt steaks, during the months of July and August and into the Fall, the food that comes off our grill is frequently alla the American Southwest. My family craves those bold flavors, and, my Southwestern-style corn and bean pudding, a spin-off of my Midwestern-style baked corn casserole is my go-to side-dish. Placed on the table next to a crispy garden salad full of just-picked tomatoes and cucumbers: there's no need to call my family to the table twice. Serve an in-season fruit cobbler for dessert? They'll follow me anywhere. Fresh vs. canned...... View full recipe for "~Southwestern Cheese-Topped Corn & Bean Pudding~"

07/04/2019

~ A Simply-Scrumptious Summer Strawberry Cobbler ~

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

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 ~"

06/05/2019

~ Amazingly-Lemony & Perfectly-Roasted Asparagus ~

When I was growing up, fresh asparagus was a delicacy, meaning, my family only ate it in the Spring, mostly for holidays and special occasions, or, when we reserved a table at a fancy restaurant -- restaurants had more access to it than the average American family during that era. That said, even in the restaurants back in the 1960's and '70's, it was always of the pencil-thin type, and, it was served either lightly steamed or briefly blanched. Thinking back, I suppose it was because these methods enhanced its color, which made for a prettier presentation. Indeed it tasted...... View full recipe for "~ Amazingly-Lemony & Perfectly-Roasted Asparagus ~"

05/31/2019

~ An Old-Fashioned Diner-Style Baked Rice Pudding ~

Rice pudding is to us Northerners what banana pudding is to the Southerners -- a staple in every diner. Speaking from lots of experience on behalf of parts of the Northeast (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to be specific), I'm here to tell you our diner-style rice pudding is: to die for. Sit me in any diner and I can assure two things you can always count on: the fork-tender meatloaf (served up with fluffy mashed potatoes and gravy), and, the rice pudding (garnished with a generous squirt of Redi-whipped cream and a maraschino cherry -- banana pudding gets...... View full recipe for "~ An Old-Fashioned Diner-Style Baked Rice Pudding ~"

05/28/2019

~ Put the Rum and the Coconut in the Rice Pudding ~

If, like me, you're a rice pudding lover, you'll eat it whenever offered. That said, as a rice pudding lover, until now, I never thought of it as a Summer dessert. This time of year, my mindset naturally turns to fruit or berry pie, shortcake, sorbet and ice cream as a perfect ending to a meal. Then, last night on a whim, I put the rum and the coconut in the rice pudding. Served warm on a starry night, or cold on a sun-drenched afternoon, this Island-style version of rice pudding is a fine finale to any Caribbean-themed feast, or,...... View full recipe for "~ Put the Rum and the Coconut in the Rice Pudding ~"

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~"