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165 posts categorized "25) What would Don Draper do? Retro recipes from my past to your present!"

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~ "

11/18/2019

~ Gobble Gobble: Rich and Creamy Turkey à la King ~

Talk about a tasty use for turkey leftovers. Turkey à la king is a spin-off of chicken à la king -- an all-American comfort-food creation. At this time of year, with Turkey Day just around the corner, it is, obviously, a very tasty use for leftover turkey. That said, by using quick-to-cook stovetop-poached or oven-roasted turkey tenderloins, it is a wonderful alternative if you want to serve turkey in a non-traditional way for a more laid-back or take-to-a-potluck feast. Make no mistake, we're not talking "cream of canned any kind of soup" thrown into a skillet or a casserole. À...... View full recipe for "~ Gobble Gobble: Rich and Creamy Turkey à la King ~"

11/15/2019

~Gobble Gobble: Get Tangled Up in Turkey Tetrazzini~

When one writes a cooking blog long enough, one learns that sharing vintage recipes is as important as sharing trending, innovative new ones. Experience has taught, "what's old is always new to someone", and cooks of all experience levels appreciate learning about it. Experience has also taught: "what's old has often been lost to someone", as many times, these retro classics, which evoke fond memories, have sadly, been lost (grandma never taught it, shared it, or worse, never wrote it down), or tossed (instead of being handed down from generation to generation). About vintage recipes: What's old is always new...... View full recipe for "~Gobble Gobble: Get Tangled Up in Turkey Tetrazzini~"

11/12/2019

~ Gobble Gobble: Divine Parisien-Style Turkey Divan ~

Turkey divan is a spin-off of chicken divan -- an all-American casserole invention. At this time of year, with Turkey Day just around the corner, it is, obviously, a very tasty use for leftover turkey. That said, by using quick-to-cook stovetop-poached or oven-roasted turkey tenderloins, it is a truly wonderful alternative if you want to serve turkey in a non-traditional way for a more laid-back or take-to-a-potluck feast. Make no mistake, we're not talking "cream of canned any kind of soup" thrown into a casserole dish. This dish is indeed real-deal creamy, comforting and divine. While we're all familiar with...... View full recipe for "~ Gobble Gobble: Divine Parisien-Style Turkey Divan ~"

11/04/2019

~ Doritos Taco Salad w/Catalina &/or Ranch Dressing ~

If you were a mother in the 80's, or if you were a kid in the 80's, you likely know all about this salad. It showed up everywhere: birthday party buffets, weekend sleepovers, support-the-team sports benefits, potluck school functions, Summer pool parties, neighborhood block parties, etc. There was never a doubt it would be served. Anyone organizing a get-together assigned someone in the neighborhood or group to make the Doritos salad -- everyone had a recipe. From a small tacup to a large taco salad to the Doritos taco salad: The history of the taco-bowl salad, as per this book,...... View full recipe for "~ Doritos Taco Salad w/Catalina &/or Ranch Dressing ~"

11/02/2019

~Scratch-Made All-American Catalina Salad Dressing~

As a lover of sweet and tanilizingly savory combinations, Catalina dressing was always on the door of my mom's refrigerator. While she and dad didn't, for the most part, ever stray past the bottle of Wish-Bone Italian dressing, for some reason my brother and I gravitated to this red-orange concoction. While I enjoyed it on chef-type salads that contained "the works" (lots of cheeses and meats), my brother would drench large chunks or wedges of iceberg lettuce with it. Please don't confuse Catalina dressing w/French dressing. Catalina dressing is an American creation defined as: A commercially-emulsified, tomato-based dressing that is...... View full recipe for "~Scratch-Made All-American Catalina Salad Dressing~"

10/31/2019

~Instead of Taco Tuesday, Taco-Bowl Salad Thursday~

Taco Tuesday. I'm clueless as to who started it, but, I thank them profoundly. Like pizza and cheeseburgers, it's downright difficult to find a man, woman or child who is disappointed at the sight of tacos on their lunch or dinner menu. Other than needing a fork, taco salad is not much different than eating tacos. Served in a large, deep-fried, edible flour-tortilla shell, anything and everything one would expect to find in a pick-it-up-to-eat taco can be served in a taco salad. Serving taco salad in edible bowls is mealtime fun. While they lend a festive, impressive "you cared...... View full recipe for "~Instead of Taco Tuesday, Taco-Bowl Salad Thursday~"

10/15/2019

~ About Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix & My Copycat Recipe ~

This blast-from-my-past box of versatile, dependable baking goodness allowed me, as a young girl, to hone my skills with yeast dough and bread. While I have many refined recipes for specialty breads and rolls in my repertoire (which, as a young adult I learned hands-on from my grandmother and mother), that was not always the case. There was a time in my life, as a young pre-teen, ages 9-12 give-or-take, when I expressed a serious interest in experimenting, on my own, with my own creations, to imitate the recipes of my grandmother and mother. I was a remarkably meticulous child,...... View full recipe for "~ About Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix & My Copycat Recipe ~ "

10/03/2019

~ Lemon-Dressed Arugula, Watermelon & Feta Salad ~

Watermelon salad in October? You betcha. It's been unseasonably warm here in the Northeast, with unusually mild-to-hot Summer temperatures lasting into our four-seasoned Fall. While most (but not all) of our garden has indeed met its end-for-this-year (Summer basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, etc.), the extra growing time has rendered it a stellar year for watermelon, which, in honesty, doesn't do well when the the days grow short and the temperatures go low. Twenty-plus years ago, watermelon salad was trendy everywhere. One of my favorite versions was served in a now defunct high-end French restaurant right here in Happy Valley: The...... View full recipe for "~ Lemon-Dressed Arugula, Watermelon & Feta Salad ~"

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 ~"

08/21/2019

~ The Difference Between Imitation Krab & King Crab ~

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

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 ~"

05/25/2019

~ The Retro & Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad ~

Wish-Bone Italian dressing. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. To name a few: drizzled on my garden salad or slathered on my turkey sandwich, as a dip for my vegetables, as a marinade for my chicken, and, as the dressing for the original Wish-Bone Italian pasta salad recipe. Growing up, right next to the bright- red Kraft Catalina Dressing and the creamy-white Hellmann's mayonnaise stood the Wish-Bone. All were condiment staples in my mom's 1960's and 70's refrigerator, and today, all remain staples in my own refrigerator -- although I now prefer Wish-Bone's Light-Italian version. Want...... View full recipe for "~ The Retro & Original Wish-Bone Italian Pasta Salad ~"

05/22/2019

~Three Great Tips for Making the Perfect Pasta Salad~

My mom always made pasta salad for Memorial Day. It was classic 1960's, Wish-Bone-Style -- rotini pasta with some cubed salami, pepperoni and American cheese, sliced black olives, diced onion and tomato dressed with store-bought Italian dressing. It wasn't gourmet, it wasn't even particularly exciting to look at, but, because it was prepared correctly, it was remarkably delicious. Our Memorial Day picnic, at our reserved picnic table, at Lakewood Park in Barnesville, PA, would have been incomplete without the pasta salad. Mom's Spring green Tupperware container went in and came out of the cooler several times throughout the day while...... View full recipe for "~Three Great Tips for Making the Perfect Pasta Salad~"

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~"

03/09/2019

~ That's a Wrap: Big Beautiful Chili-Cheese Burritos ~

Inform the family you've got chili simmering on the stovetop -- you won't have to call them twice to the dinner table. Tell the family you're making chili-cheese burritos for dinner -- you won't have to call them at all. They'll all be sitting around the table waiting to eat. Tick, tock. Once assembled, if individually wrapped in plastic or in aluminum foil, they're great to take to school or the office. They reheat perfectly in the microwave or in the oven, and for tailgate, I reheat the foil-wrapped packets on hot grill grids. The chili-cheese burrito is how one...... View full recipe for "~ That's a Wrap: Big Beautiful Chili-Cheese Burritos ~"

11/26/2018

~ Stick a Chip in It: Mel's Ultimate French Onion Dip ~

Stir a packet of Lipton's dehydrated French Onion Soup mix into a cup of sour cream and you will get no complaints from me -- zero. I love the stuff. I grew up watching TV shows (Bewitched, the Beverly Hillbillies, Andy of Mayberry, Gilligan's Island, Patty Duke, the Flintstones, etc.), to the crackling sound of a bag of Ruffles as I readied each chip for a copious glop of this beloved stuff. Those were good times. There were obviously no calories in it, because I was a stick figure. Nostalgic memories. We all have them. That said, times change, people...... View full recipe for "~ Stick a Chip in It: Mel's Ultimate French Onion Dip ~"

11/13/2018

~ Stranger Things: Revisit Retro French Bread Pizza ~

Binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix started conjuring up fond food memories from the 1980's. OMG -- the many scenes with the Eggos, not to mention the perfectly-timed Jiffy-Pop explosion, the invitation to the KFC dinner, and, the Reese's pieces conversation in the shrinks office. They all left my mind wondering about what's to eat in Season three. Stouffer's French bread pizza was the first thing that popped into my head -- with frozen yogurt coming in second. I know everything there is to know about French bread pizza, as back in the '80's, even I dove into the frozen food...... View full recipe for "~ Stranger Things: Revisit Retro French Bread Pizza ~"

07/04/2018

~ Little Gems Caesar-Style Salad w/Roasted Chicken ~

Over the past four decades, the classic Caesar salad has: #1) Become America's most popular main-dish salad; #2) Altered the lettuce industry, as the demand for romaine has skyrocketed, and: #3) Turned the chicken-topped Caesar salad into the chicken item most frequently found on restaurant menus -- even more than wings and chicken fingers. Now considered the all-American salad, it was in fact invented in Mexico in 1924 by an Italian-born immigrant to Mexico. Now considered the all-American salad, the Caesar was invented on July 4th, 1924, by an Italian-Mexican chef & co-owner of a restaurant in Tijuana, who emigrated...... View full recipe for "~ Little Gems Caesar-Style Salad w/Roasted Chicken ~ "

05/31/2018

~ Chinese-American Restaurant-Style Pepper Steak ~

A few days ago, one of my Facebook friends posted a photo of her dinner, Chinese pepper-steak, and, for a few days, just like that song that gets stuck in your head, I walked around wishing everything I ate was pepper steak. As a kid in the 1960's, it was one of the first Chinese-American restaurant dishes I was introduced to, and, as a young bride in the mid 70's, it was the first Chinese-American dish I made in my own kitchen. By the time the '80's rolled around, I had three boys in elementary school, and, pepper-steak was in...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese-American Restaurant-Style Pepper Steak ~"

05/28/2018

~ Happy Valley Spinach Dip for Your Vegetable Tray ~

In the mid-1950's and throughout the '60's, everybody who entertained was serving French onion dip with their celery and carrot sticks. This simple concoction of Lipton dehydrated onion soup mix and sour cream was a year-round staple on picnic and cocktail tables. Said to have been created by an unknown French cook somewhere in Los Angeles in 1954, as a kid, I loved the stuff. In the 1970's, due to the invention of dehydrated ranch-dressing packets, another dip began appearing at gatherings all across America: Hidden Valley Ranch spinach dip. As a young bride, I loved the stuff. Throughout the...... View full recipe for "~ Happy Valley Spinach Dip for Your Vegetable Tray ~"

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 ~"

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~"

01/26/2018

~ Deli Corned Beef on Swirl with Sauerkraut & Swiss ~

The Reuben sandwich. I crave one once or twice a year. And when I do, I don't waste time baking homemade rye bread, slow-cooking corned beef, long-simmering sauerkraut, or, whisking salad dressing. I don't try to save time by ordering delivery or take out either -- I don't live anywhere close to a NY-style deli that can begin to make this sandwich the way I like it. I take the 10-minute drive to the grocery store, pick up the ingredients and pass through the express checkout. Store-bought everything is fine. In about 45-minutes, including the drive time, I am eating...... View full recipe for "~ Deli Corned Beef on Swirl with Sauerkraut & Swiss ~"

01/04/2018

~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~

Everyone loves a home-baked sweet or savory pie or quiche, but, for those times when you are out of time, or, just don't want to take the time, from appetizers to entrées to desserts, making a puff pastry braid using store-bought puff pastry is a valuable skill to have. As long as you play by the rules, they bake up perfectly 100% of the time. What are the rules? I'm glad you asked. My three basic rules/guidelines for filling a pastry braid: 1) With the exception of the obvious (any liquid or liquid concoction that pours or flows), any solid...... View full recipe for "~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~"

01/02/2018

~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~

Imagine eating a freshly-baked, still-warm chocolate croissant at your favorite coffee shop. Just thinking about one of those divinely decadent indulgences makes me happy. Now imagine it super-sized, more than enough to feed four, with sweet cherries and crunchy almonds added to it too. Need I say more? Valentine's Day will be here before we know it, and, if you're looking to surprise the chocolate lover in your life with something truly sweet, stash the ingredients on this list in your pantry and freezer, then, start counting the days to February 14th. Tick, tock. From appetizers to entrées to desserts......... View full recipe for "~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~"

12/31/2017

~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~

We all have our favorite breakfast and brunch casserole recipes -- I'd be lost without mine. They taste great, they're easy to prepare, and, some can even be made ahead, but, let's face it: casseroles aren't elegant. They're low-key, family-style, comfort food -- the blue jeans of the food world. Newsflash: Occasionally, it's necessary to dress up -- and that extends to the food. If I told you I have a small repertoire of AM meals that make a stunning presentation, taste as good as they look, and, are relatively easy to prepare, would you want the recipes? I thought...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~"

12/28/2017

~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~

Circa 1980-1985 -- better known as the cloudberry jam period of my life. One of Joe's business associates (a man from Norway temporarily working here in Happy Valley) introduced us to a Norwegian specialty: small squares of grilled bread cheese topped with cloudberry jam. It was served as an appetizer at a cocktail hosted by Rolf and his Swedish wife. I fell in love with this cheesy treat immediately -- and said so. When I reciprocated the invitation, I was gifted a jar of the jam, a small brick of bread cheese and a package of stroopwaffes as a hostess...... View full recipe for "~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~"

12/25/2017

~ Four Kid-Friendly Candy-Bar Cookies of My Youth ~

I happily chose cookies-made-with-candy-bars as this year's 2017 theme for Christmas cookies on Kitchen Encounters, and, I gleefully baked all four. Reese's, Snickers, Kit Kat and Whoppers. Everyone is well-familiar with this cast of candy-bar characters. These particular four weren't just chosen at random. They were my favorite candy bars when I was a kid -- they're close to my heart, and, they're an all-star lineup too. I know, Whoppers aren't a bar -- whatever, move along. A bite out of any one of them would bring a smile to my face, and, if asked to make a choice, to...... View full recipe for "~ Four Kid-Friendly Candy-Bar Cookies of My Youth ~"

12/23/2017

~ Whoppers Milk-Chocolate Malted-Milk-Ball Cookies ~

Back in the 1970's, a shopping trip with mom to Hazleton, Pennsylvania's indoor Laurel Mall, was not complete without picking up a carton of Whoppers -- conveniently located close to the checkouts in the K-Mart. I was almost a teenager. My brother, three years younger, required a stop at K-Mart to appease him -- and it was always our last stop at the mall. Whoppers were our treat for the thirty-minute car ride home, and, as mightily as we all tried, it was next to impossible for mom, David, and I, not to polish off the contents of that entire...... View full recipe for "~ Whoppers Milk-Chocolate Malted-Milk-Ball Cookies ~"

12/21/2017

~ The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein ~

Chinese-American fare. It's a favorite in our house. About once a week, we either order take-out or delivery from our two favorite places, or, I take the time to make some. Each of us has our favorite menu item -- the one that we crave and can't wait to plunge our chopsticks into. For me, it's chow mein or lo mein -- two of China's most iconic dishes. "What exactly is the difference between the two?" When I got asked that very question last night, I decided to transcribe the discussion into a blog post today -- while it's still...... View full recipe for "~ The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein ~"

12/18/2017

~ My Chewy Coconut & Crispy White-Kit-Kat Cookies ~

The first time my mom came home from the grocery store with a bag of white chocolate chips, I was fascinated by them. "What are you going to do with these?" It turns out she was going to bake white-chocolate macadamia-nut cookies that Nestlé had printed on their package. "Daddy loves macadamia nuts." I knew he was going to love mom's new all-white cookie invention -- I could barely wait for the butter to soften. Tick tock. As we two gathered together and measured the list of ingredients, it was mom who schooled me on the fact that white chocolate...... View full recipe for "~ My Chewy Coconut & Crispy White-Kit-Kat Cookies ~"

12/12/2017

~Chocolate & Peanut-Butter-Snickers Cookie Squares~

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Just when I thought Snickers couldn't be improved upon, I find out they make peanut-butter-Snickers bars. Yes, my love of milk chocolate and peanut butter struck again for the second time in two weeks -- this time in the form of bar cookies. By the time you read this post, I will have sliced these into small, three-four bite squares, individually wrapped them in plastic and stacked/stashed them in a corner of my freezer. Amongst the foodie cravings I get, believe it or not, chocolate isn't in my...... View full recipe for "~Chocolate & Peanut-Butter-Snickers Cookie Squares~"

12/07/2017

~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~

Amongst the foodie cravings I get, chocolate isn't in my top ten. That said, I confess to a weakness for Reese's peanut butter cups and Snickers bars. There's just something about the combination of mellow milk chocolate and salty peanuts or peanut butter that I find hard to resist. I love it enough to keep a bag of mini-Reese's cups and a bag of snack-sized peanut-butter Snickers bars in my freezer. A bite-sized nibble of either one and I am a happy woman. Two things transpired this week: I replenished my supply of mini-Reese's cups via Amazon. My candy delivery...... View full recipe for "~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~"

12/05/2017

~ My Favorite Big Salad: A Hoagie Chef Sans Bread ~

Let's discuss it over a salad at lunch. There's no counting how many times I've said those words. One thing is for certain, I said them and I meant them, because: a classically-made chef salad is my favorite item to order on a lunch menu. Let's be clear -- I don't diet and don't believe in dieting unless it's for real-deal medical reasons. Eating real and well, anything I want, in moderation + avoiding the drive-thru, has always worked for me. My opinion of trend-setting self-imposed diets is one you don't want to hear -- you can't handle the truth....... View full recipe for "~ My Favorite Big Salad: A Hoagie Chef Sans Bread ~"

11/28/2017

~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~

Simply known as "the hot brown", or "Louisville hot brown", this Kentucky sandwich is a culinary legend. Invented in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, unlike many other famous sandwiches, this one was no accident. It was specifically created, from some carefully-selected, well-thought out ingredients, to please his hungry late-night crowd. It was a sort-of spin-off of the British Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock (a fondue-like cheese sauce "on toast"). We're not talking deli-turkey & store-bought cheese sauces. The original, now classic, hot brown was an open-faced sandwich consisting of oven-roasted sliced turkey on white...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~"

11/15/2017

~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~

While watching a late-night episode of "Locked Up" on MSNBC last night, I learned an interesting fact about those super-curly square-block instant ramen noodles: They are the #1 selling item in prison commissaries. That didn't surprise me as much as the reason: Prisoners buy them for the seasoning packets, not the noodles. It seems that prison cafeteria food is so lacking in salt, those packets get sprinkled on or stirred into almost everything. Get in my my soup! I learn something new every day (or night). In my kitchen, we use the noodles, not the seasoning packets. Amongst other things,...... View full recipe for "~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~"

10/23/2017

~ The Ideal Cubano: La Ideal's Cubano Sandwich ~

Almost all famous sandwiches got their iconic status thanks to the working class people -- Cuba's Cubano is one such sandwich. In the early 20th Century, vendors who were stationed inside the workplaces, sold hot meat and cheese sandwiches to the workers. When these workers made their way to the USA, usually to regions in Southern Florida, they, like all immigrants, brought their recipes and traditions with them -- that included their institutional but beloved Cuban sandwich. A bit about the Cubano: Like all sandwiches, it starts with the bread. Cuban bread is light and crusty -- alot like a...... View full recipe for "~ The Ideal Cubano: La Ideal's Cubano Sandwich ~"

09/28/2017

~ Seriously Special K Crispy & Chewy Sugar Cookies ~

Sugar cookies traditionally fall into the category of "rolled cookies" which are cut into shapes to suit your fancy and the occasion, but, they can be treated as "drop cookies" too, meaning: they can be formed into uniform-sized balls and baked. They can be crisp and thin or soft and thick. They should melt-in-your mouth, taste rich and buttery and have a flaky, delicate texture. Perfectly baked sugar cookies have clean edges that hold shape when baked. They emerge from the oven just cooked through and puffy, with almost no signs of browning. Sugar cookies require patience and love --...... View full recipe for "~ Seriously Special K Crispy & Chewy Sugar Cookies ~"

08/31/2017

~ Say Cheese: How to Make Velveeta from Scratch ~

Scrootch over homemade mozzarella and ricotta -- make some extra space in the cheese section of the refrigerator. Two days ago, my friend Teresa shared "a link to a link" for today's recipe on Facebook. I could barely compose myself. I, Melanie Preschutti, almost always being of sound mind, always have, and always will be: a Velveeta cheese lover. Everything from its pale-orange color to its squeaky-smooth texture and tangy American-processed flavor appeals to me. Teresa's Facebook share couldn't have been more timely for me. The college football season started this week, and, living in one of our nation's premier...... View full recipe for "~ Say Cheese: How to Make Velveeta from Scratch ~"

08/25/2017

~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~

These appetizers were one of our Happy Valley tailgate traditions. I fondly remember one of our members, Joan Reilly, making them for our early AM pre-tailgate tailgates -- prior to leaving for the stadium. She and her husband Joe lived close to Beaver Stadium, and, it was not unusual for us to meet, as a group, on the cul-de-sac in front of their house, to wait for our friend with the RV to arrive from Harrisburg. While we were all chatting and sipping Stan's Bloody Mary's, Joan would pass around a baking sheet full of her cheesy English-muffin-based crabmeat canapés....... View full recipe for "~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~"

08/22/2017

~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~

When I was a little kid, pimento cheese spread was a staple in our refrigerator -- right next to the Old English cheese spread. I had absolutely no idea it was Southern. I thought it was Kraft. To this day, if someone puts a jar on of the store-bought stuff on the table next to a box of Ritz crackers, I'm more than happy to sit down and dig right in. Slather it between two slices of white bread and make me a pimento-cheese grilled-cheese sandwich and I'll follow you anywhere. Known as "the caviar of the South, or, "Southern...... View full recipe for "~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~"

07/14/2017

~ Spreads go Bread to Bread: Hellmann's vs Duke's ~

Mayonnaise. As a gal who loves deli-, tuna- and egg-salad sandwiches, I am never too far from my mayo. During the picnic and tailgate season, when side-dishes like macaroni salad, potato salad, cole slaw and deviled eggs reign supreme, I purchase bigger jars, in two-packs. When our garden tomatoes are ripe, I could (and will) eat a freshly-picked sliced-tomato sandwich, on white bread, with a big slather of mayonnaise, every day. There's more. I can't imagine my life without mayonnaise-based tartar and remoulade sauces in it, or, oh my Thousand Islands salad dressing, and, I'm very proficient at making homemade...... View full recipe for "~ Spreads go Bread to Bread: Hellmann's vs Duke's ~"

07/08/2017

~ One-Bowl Lunch on the Run: Tuna Macaroni Salad ~

I rarely make the time to sit down and eat lunch and almost never find the time to go out to lunch. I prefer to munch and crunch, while working, standing in my kitchen or sitting at my computer. For example: I am munching on some chopped cantaloupe, here at my desk, for breakfast, while writing this, at 6:30AM. Whatever time I get my mid-day hunger attack today, I'm literally going to, "stick a fork in it": tuna macaroni salad. I made it yesterday, am writing about it today, and shall enjoy it, in a small bowl, as a light,...... View full recipe for "~ One-Bowl Lunch on the Run: Tuna Macaroni Salad ~"