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274 posts categorized " 03) Entrees & Main-Dish Casseroles"

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 ~"

11/09/2019

~ 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~"

10/31/2019

~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~"

10/05/2019

~ Hungarian Gulyás: Beef, Vegetable & Paprika Soup ~

American-style goulash is made with ground beef and macaroni. It's tasty, it's filling, it's easy to prepare, and, has the added bonus of being kid-friendly. It's a stewy take on Hungarian goulash, but, aside from containing meat (originally ground beef, but nowadays chicken or turkey are sometimes substituted), a few vegetables (typically green bell pepper, onion and tomato sauce) and pasta (usually elbow-type macaroni or corkscrews), it all-too-often tastes resemblant of Italian-American spaghetti with meat sauce -- the flavor profile is hardly Hungarian. A not-so-short but informative bit about Hungarian Gulyás: Hungarian gulyás (pronounced goulēus and meaning herdsmen) is the...... View full recipe for "~ Hungarian Gulyás: Beef, Vegetable & Paprika Soup ~"

09/25/2019

~ My Pennsylvania Deutsch-Style Beef Noodle Soup ~

Soups and stews. We can't seem to get enough of them this time of year -- I know I can't. The difference between the two is easy to describe. If you started by simmering meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables in a pot of seasoned water-, wine-, juice- or milk- based liquid, you've made soup. If it is thickened at the end of the process, a soup can be stew-like. If you started by cooking/sautéing meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables in a small amount of seasoned oil, butter or fat, then added just enough of flour and liquid or thickened liquid...... View full recipe for "~ My Pennsylvania Deutsch-Style Beef Noodle Soup ~"

09/20/2019

~ Old-Fashioned Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes ~

My mom, like all cold-climated Eastern Europeans, made great beef barley- and beef noodle- and beef vegetable- soup. Mom made great beef stew and Euro-style Hungarian goulash too (not to be confused with the American-style ground beef and macaroni type goulash). As a card-carrying carnivore, I enjoy these hearty beefy concoctions as much, if not more than, any kind of chicken soup. That said, when it comes to beef vs. chicken soups and stews in general, one must start by recognizing that a strong-flavored meat like beef requires bold-flavored herbs and seasonings, as opposed to soups or stews made with...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes ~"

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 ~"

09/04/2019

~ Nacho Mama's Buffalo Chicken Sheet-Pan Nachos ~

Research has revealed that nachos made their debut in Northern Mexico in the 1940's when a large group of hungry servicemen wandered into a restaurant where Ignacio Anaya was cooking. The savvy chef quickly threw some cheese over a big pan of leftover tortillas. When it emerged from the broiler, he scattered his creation with jalapeño peppers. When he presented the soldiers with his group-sized appetizer, after devouring it, they took it upon themselves to spread the word. Popularity came fast, and, along the way, nachos acquired an assortment of toppings. Nowadays, the tortilla chip, just like the pizza crust,...... View full recipe for "~ Nacho Mama's Buffalo Chicken Sheet-Pan Nachos ~"

07/31/2019

~ Deep-Fried Chicken Wings w/RedHot-Ranch Slaw ~

There's nothing earth-shatteringly new about deep-frying chicken wings in a vat of oil for 14 minutes a batch. In fact, this post doesn't even include a pictorial recipe for deep-frying chicken wings -- or oven-roasted wings if that floats your boat. If you and yours love wings, you already have your favorite method for preparing them. This post is about transitioning your wing-fest from a pub grub bar nosh to a kid-friendly family-style sit-in-front-of-the-TV movie-night meal. Back in the 1980's and '90's, our three sons frequently wanted chicken wings for dinner, which, in my mind, didn't constitute a proper dinner....... View full recipe for "~ Deep-Fried Chicken Wings w/RedHot-Ranch Slaw ~"

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 ~"

06/07/2019

~ Spaghetti w/Crab, Asparagus, Tomato & Prosciutto ~

Light, bright and amazingly lemony, this lusciously-decadent, not to mention rich, restaurant-quality pasta dish is easy to prepare -- and it's pitch-perfect Summer fare. While the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and grape tomatoes roast for ten minutes and cool for five, the pasta gets cooked and seasoned. Toss the two together with high-quality crab claw meat, and lunch or dinner is served. No, just say NO, walk away from hard, grated or shaved, Italian cheese, soft fresh mozzarella or creamy ricotta, and please, don't roll your eyes. Once you savor the delicate flavors in the first forkful of crab and asparagus intermingled...... View full recipe for "~ Spaghetti w/Crab, Asparagus, Tomato & Prosciutto ~"

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 ~"

04/20/2019

~ 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) ~"

03/31/2019

~ Twice-Baked Fully-Loaded Texican Sweet Potatoes ~

In my food world, as far as I'm concerned, anything a Russet potato can do, a sweet potato can do better. Put a baked sweet potato on my plate and I require little else. Truth told, on occasion, I microwave-bake one just for me, to eat in place of dinner -- a pat or three of butter, a grind or two of sea salt and peppercorn blend, tick-tock, I'm fed. I love sweet potatoes, and, when it comes to baked potatoes, I will always choose a creamy sweet potato over a fluffy Russet potato. For me, as recent as three...... View full recipe for "~ Twice-Baked Fully-Loaded Texican Sweet Potatoes ~"

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 ~"

03/05/2019

~ Na-Cho Mama's Fully-Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos ~

Undercover nacho tester. I suppose it could get boring, but, because every eatery I've ever been to makes this Tex-Mex pub-grub staple a bit different, I'd be willing to risk running into some occasional repetition and hard-earned heartburn. From nibbling on basic nachos consisting of deep-fried corn tortillas topped with melty cheese sauce, to digging-into nachos-grande, nachos-supreme, fully-loaded nachos or ultimate-nachos piled high with a plethora of enough savory stuff to qualify for full-meal status, yes, I think undercover nacho tester could be my dream job. Research has revealed that nachos made their debut in Northern Mexico in the 1940's...... View full recipe for "~ Na-Cho Mama's Fully-Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos ~"

02/17/2019

~ Perfectly-Prepared Chicken and Mushroom Risotto ~

Risotto is traditional Italian cooking at its best. Risotto is more of a method than a recipe, and it requires respect. There are no two ways to make risotto. Make it right or it's not risotto. Don't deviate from the method, don't take shortcuts and don't make substitutions. Risotto cannot be rushed -- it requires patience. It cannot be made in advance, it needs to be carefully watched, methodically stirred, and served immediately. Risotto is done when it is done, and only the cook knows when it is done, but, when it is done right, it's a meal fit for...... View full recipe for "~ Perfectly-Prepared Chicken and Mushroom Risotto ~"

02/15/2019

~ No two ways about it: Make it right or it's not Risotto ~

Risotto is traditional Italian cooking at its best. Risotto is more of a method than a recipe, and it requires respect. There are no two ways to make risotto. Make it right or it's not risotto. Don't deviate from the method, don't take shortcuts and don't make substitutions. Risotto cannot be rushed -- it requires patience. It cannot be made in advance, it needs to be carefully watched, methodically stirred, and served immediately. Risotto is done when it is done, and only the cook knows when it is done, but, when it is done right, it's a meal fit for...... View full recipe for "~ No two ways about it: Make it right or it's not Risotto ~"

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~"

01/25/2019

~Jamaican-Style Butter-Poached Lobsta Rasta Pasta~

Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of serving cheese or cheese sauces with fish or seafood, but, there are exceptions to every rule, so, for those who, like myself, do appreciate the divine goodness of dishes like lobster macaroni and cheese, you've gotta try my creamy-dreamy Island-Style Jamaican-Italian-American Rasta Pasta with succulent, butter-poached lobster meat added to it. In the event you've never heard of rasta pasta, take a moment and read on: Rasta Pasta is a restaurant located in Colorado Springs, CO. The owners, the Taraborelli family, specialize in fusing two of the unlikeliest of culinary bedfellows:...... View full recipe for "~Jamaican-Style Butter-Poached Lobsta Rasta Pasta~"

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 ~"

12/31/2018

~ Ringing in the New Year Eating Pork & Sauerkraut ~

Anywhere you find a gathering of Pennsylvania Dutch (Dutch=Deutsch=German) or Eastern Europeans (primarily throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and into the Midwest), you'll find them ringing in the New Year by eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day, in order to receive a years worth of good luck, health and prosperity. It's a combination of tradition steeped in superstition backed up with a dose of practical purpose. Where I grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania, we had a large population of both. My family was Eastern European, we knew many PA Deutsch folks, and, both cuisines intersected in numerous ways, starting with:...... View full recipe for "~ Ringing in the New Year Eating Pork & Sauerkraut ~"

12/07/2018

~Island-Style Jamaican-Italian-American Rasta Pasta~

My only experience with Rasta Pasta, references the original Colorado Springs restaurant. Guy Fieri, host of the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, paid them a visit, and, if you watch enough episodes of this show, you know when Guy is super-jazzed about an eatery. This was one such episode. On camera he tried their signature and namesake dish, the Rasta Pasta, a creamy, Jamaican-spiced penne pasta, studded with colorful vegetables topped with jerk chicken. It was, in fact, the Jamaican take on the Italian-American alfredo primavera topped with grilled chicken, which Guy declared to be "funky" in a...... View full recipe for "~Island-Style Jamaican-Italian-American Rasta Pasta~"

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 ~"

10/21/2018

~ Steak My Day: Texas-Style Bowl-of-Red Steak Chili ~

About this time every year, as soon as the frost is on the pumpkin so-to-speak, a pot of chili is simmering on my stovetop. There's nothing to think about. The first frost, the pot comes out. Chilly weather requires chili. This year I'm making my version of what Texans hang their cowboys hats on: steak chili. It's decidedly different from my Wendy's copycat ground beef chili con carne, hatch green chile chili with pork and white beans, white-out white chicken 'n corn chili, slow-cooker sweet potato and ground beef chili, and, Cincinnati-style chili. As the Texans say, I'm in the...... View full recipe for "~ Steak My Day: Texas-Style Bowl-of-Red Steak Chili ~"

10/12/2018

~ Spanish-Style Garlic-Lovers Shrimp & Pappardelle ~

While pasta is not an ingredient any of us foodies would off-handedly associate with Spain or Spanish cuisine, it has been incorporated into their diets. It's not commonly found on restaurant menus, but, in their home kitchens, it is used as an occasional substitution for Spain's claim-to-fame staple, rice, in some of their dishes. Gambas al ajillo (gam-bus alla-jheero), is one of Spain's most popular tapas dishes, my personal favorite tapas, and, from the moment I tasted it, I knew it could be turned into an extraordinary Italian-pasta meets Spanish tapas main-course. Gambas al ajillo is a Spanish classic, and,...... View full recipe for "~ Spanish-Style Garlic-Lovers Shrimp & Pappardelle ~"

10/03/2018

~ Time for Tapas: Spanish-Style Garlic-Lovers Shrimp ~

A small portion of any hot or cold, savory edible that can be eaten in just a few bites, forkfuls or slurps. Here in America, we call them "snacks". In Spain they're called "tapas". Like the American snack, anything can be a tapas if eaten in a small enough portion. In Spain, tapas is a style of eating, and going out for tapas is one of their most popular activities. When going out for tapas, you're not going out for dinner (although, if you eat enough tapas, they can be the equivalent of a meal). You start out eating tapas...... View full recipe for "~ Time for Tapas: Spanish-Style Garlic-Lovers Shrimp ~"

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~"

08/30/2018

~Spice-is-Nice Oven-Roasted Jamaican-Jerk Chicken~

Leave it to the Jamaicans. I can't think of another exotic-to-me cuisine that does a better job of making my life easier. I mean, seriously, they've cornered the market on marketing high-quality, bold-flavored dry-spice blends and rubs, wet pastes and marinades, barbecue, steak and hot pepper sauces, etc. -- when it comes to cooking Jamaican fare at home, some of their store-bought time-savers make me ponder why anyone would want to concoct "it" from scratch. That said, time spent in my kitchen is therapy -- it's my "don't worry, be happy" space. It's the game-on place where movies and music...... View full recipe for "~Spice-is-Nice Oven-Roasted Jamaican-Jerk Chicken~"

07/18/2018

~ Thai-Style Pizza w/Grilled Chicken & Peanut Sauce ~

Bread and cheese -- they're not part of a traditional Thai diet. Even the Thai-syle sandwiches and wraps we lovers of Thai food enjoy, are American or Thai-American creations. That said, in Thailand they do sell a very limited selection of bread and cheese in their bigger grocery stores (mostly manufactured Wonder-type breads and processed cheeses), to satisfy the cravings of Westerners living in Thailand. I know this from on-the-ground-in-Thailand experience. When travelers return home from Thailand, it's almost impossible to wean themselves of the bold, addictive taste-of-Thailand. That said, as an all-American girl, I did miss bread and cheese...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Pizza w/Grilled Chicken & Peanut Sauce ~"

07/09/2018

~Grilled Gem Wedges w/Blue Cheese, Bacon & Filet~

You can teach an old dog new tricks. As a gal, who, for the most part, prefers her vegetables cooked in some manner to enhance their flavor and texture, grilling lettuce was a technique I learned just a few short weeks ago. I haven't a clue why it eluded me for so long, except, in my own defense, I don't remember a chapter entitled The Art of Grilling Lettuce in my foodie manual. Grilling lettuce might not be for everyone. After all, we eat with our eyes, and our eyes have been trained to seek bright green, crisp. lettuce leaves....... View full recipe for "~Grilled Gem Wedges w/Blue Cheese, Bacon & Filet~"

07/07/2018

~ The Perfect 12-13-Minute, 2"-Thick, Grill-Pan Filet ~

Feel free to take your filet mignon into the great outdoors to cook it on the grill, but, I don't recommend it. Why? The filet, cut from the tenderloin and leanest, tenderest cut of beef, is the least likely to succeed over the dry, open flame of any seething-hot charcoal or gas grill grids. That said, indoors, on a grill pan, where it has a solid, steamy surface to sear itself above its own bubbling juices, the filet graduates at the head of its class -- with perfect, 4.0 grill marks too. 4, 8-9-ounce, 2"-thick USDA Choice Angus filet-mignon steaks....... View full recipe for "~ The Perfect 12-13-Minute, 2"-Thick, Grill-Pan Filet ~"

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 ~ "

06/02/2018

~ Hong Kong's Cantonese-Style Tomato-Beef Stir-Fry ~

Sit down in any Chinese western-style restaurant in China, or, in any Chinese-American restaurant in the USA and peruse the menu. Allow me to point out, there will be just as many, or almost as many beef options as there are poultry, pork and seafood choices. Beef will priced accordingly too -- right up there with seafood, meaning more expensive than poultry and pork. This would lead anyone with an enthusiasm for Chinese fare to conclude: the Chinese must eat a lot of beef. They don't. In fact, most Chinese diners prefer pork to the stronger flavor of beef. The...... View full recipe for "~ Hong Kong's Cantonese-Style Tomato-Beef Stir-Fry ~"

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 ~"

05/25/2018

~ 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 ~"

04/13/2018

~ Strawberry, Steak, Blue-Cheese and Arugula Salad ~

Strawberries aren't just for dessert, and, if the Northeast ever gets a break in the weather, the local strawberry season will be just around the corner. That said, the California-grown Driscoll's strawberries I found in the grocery store yesterday are plump and sweet, and, one of the man-sized flank steaks my husband picked up at Sam's Club today are going to team up for a hearty, sweet-and-savory, main-dish salad for a delightfully-carnivorous Sunday dinner this evening. Strawberries are no stranger to salads -- spinach and strawberry salads with poppyseed dressing were trendy on restaurant menus back in the 1970's. Because...... View full recipe for "~ Strawberry, Steak, Blue-Cheese and Arugula Salad ~"

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 ~"

04/02/2018

~ The Japanese Take on Salisbury Steak: Hambagu ~

Japanese hamburger steak. If it doesn't sound very Japanese, it's because its origin is not. It's an...... View full recipe for "~ The Japanese Take on Salisbury Steak: Hambagu ~"

03/21/2018

~The McDonald's-Style Big Mac Cheeseburger Salad~

When my foodie friends (people who like to cook, can cook and cook often), start talking about a yummy salad made in the style of McDonald's iconic Big Mac, I listen. I listen because these are friends I listen to, and, because I have been known to indulge in an occasional Big Mac. Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun is, in my opinion, the yummiest cheeseburger creation in the takeout-lane of the drive-thru fast-food circuit. September 1968 -- The Bic Mac was invented in Pittsburgh by a McDonald's Franchise Owner named...... View full recipe for "~The McDonald's-Style Big Mac Cheeseburger Salad~"

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 ~"