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

07/18/2021

~ That's a Wrap Cheesy Flank-Steak-Fajita Burritos ~

A fajita-burrito has its origins in Mexico and features the best of two South-of-the border worlds -- all those luscious strips of well-seasoned grilled or sautéd chicken or steak, bell peppers and onions that go into fajitas, wrapped-and-rolled, burrito-style, in a large, warm flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans and scattered with a layer of Spanish-style rice and shredded cheese. The outcome is indeed the best of two worlds and, there's no need for embellishments either. Hold the guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa. Pick 'em up 'cause they're ready-to-eat. No need for embellishments. Pick 'em up -- they're...... View full recipe for "~ That's a Wrap Cheesy Flank-Steak-Fajita Burritos ~"

07/15/2021

~ Kids-Stuff Tex-Mex Broiled-Flank-Steak Fajita Filling ~

Newsflash. A flank steak does not have to be grilled outdoors to be a great flank steak. While grilled is very, very good, truth told, my oven broiler method does a marvelous job with no stress, guess nor mess. The end result is wonderfully seasoned, perfectly-cooked medium-rare steak. The process is so foolproof, I prefer it. There's more. Once sliced, a flank steak feeds an entire family. When the flank steak gets added to an easy-to-make sautéed vegetable medley, this meal feeds a crowd. It's perfect for any indoor or outdoor gathering any time of year. When the steak is...... View full recipe for "~ Kids-Stuff Tex-Mex Broiled-Flank-Steak Fajita Filling ~"

07/03/2021

~The Cool History behind the Composed Cobb Salad~

The Cobb salad, affectionately called the California Cobb, was invented in 1937 at Hollywood's Brown Derby Restaurant by the owner, Robert Cobb. As the story goes, it's said to have been composed for some hungry late night diners. Mr. Cobb carefully chose from a variety of uniformly sliced and diced ingredients from the day's fare, arranging them in unusually neat lines atop a bed of lettuce as he plated. Another tale (of woe) says that Mr. Cobb threw the salad together to satisfy the appetite of a loyal customer to came into the restaurant complaining of a toothache, so, Cobb...... View full recipe for "~The Cool History behind the Composed Cobb Salad~"

06/30/2021

~ The Cool History behind the Composed Chef Salad ~

A restaurant that serves a great chef's salad for lunch is a restaurant I will frequent. Like Seinfeld's Elaine, I like a big salad, and I don't mean a big bowl of lettuce. I mean a lot of perfectly-cooked good stuff in it, right down to more-than-a-few crunchy, buttery-rich croutons on top. The chef's salad is exactly that salad -- it's not served before the meal or after the meal, it is the meal. The chef salad is a "composed salad", meaning, it is a pretty-to-look-at, arranged-on-a-plate, high-quality, salad -- a perfectly-balanced mixture of color, flavor and texture. At the...... View full recipe for "~ The Cool History behind the Composed Chef Salad ~"

06/20/2021

~Wrapped and Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos~

A fajita-burrito has its origins in Mexico and features the best of two South-of-the border worlds -- all those luscious strips of well-seasoned grilled or sautéd chicken or steak, bell peppers and onions that go into fajitas, wrapped-and-rolled, burrito-style, in a large, warm flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans and scattered with a layer of Spanish-style rice and shredded cheese. The outcome is indeed the best of two worlds and, there's no need for embellishments either. Hold the guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa. Pick 'em up 'cause they're ready-to-eat. No need for embellishments. Pick 'em up -- they're...... View full recipe for "~Wrapped and Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos~"

06/16/2021

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

Spicy fajitas and cheesy nachos. Together. Carefully layered on top of each other on a sheet pan. Yes, a sheet pan. Why? Because nachos require a perfect ratio of cheese-to-toppings on each chip and the sheet pan provides the surface area needed to accomplish that. Nothing is sadder than picking up a cheesy nacho to find no goodies on top of it, or worse, picking up a nacho chip overloaded with goodies to the point they all slide off onto the plate or your lap. Research has revealed that nachos made their debut in Northern Mexico in the 1940's when...... View full recipe for "~ Nacho Mama's Sheet-Pan Chicken-Fajitas Nachos ~"

06/13/2021

~Kids-Stuff One-Skillet Tex-Mex Chicken-Fajita Filling~

Tacos and fajitas. Akin to Cheeseburgers and pizza, I can't much conjure up four more kid-friendly meals. That said, if you're a mom or dad attempting to get your kids to eat more vegetables, it goes without saying, fajitas are an argument-free way way to get the job done. If you're a mom or dad trying to cut some fat out of your life, chicken fajitas will accomplish that too. There's more. If you've got a big family to feed or the need to feed a crowd, simply do the math and double the quantities. In about the same amount...... View full recipe for "~Kids-Stuff One-Skillet Tex-Mex Chicken-Fajita Filling~"

05/11/2021

~ Three Ways to Cook Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops ~

Smoked porcine (bacon, ham, sausage pork chops, etc.), when properly smoked, is enhanced with a sublime slightly-smoky flavor and an enticing pinkish color, meaning the aroma is pleasant (not at all overpowering), and the visual is pretty. There's more. The smoking process renders the meat cooked, meaning, it only needs to be heated to a safe internal temperature prior to eating and the information is indicated on the label: 125° if fully-cooked, and, 145° if not fully-cooked. In the case of smoked pork chops, in my kitchen there are three quick-and-easy options for cooking: a broiler pan in the oven...... View full recipe for "~ Three Ways to Cook Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops ~"

05/02/2021

~ Apple-Pie Chicken Paillards and Stuffing Casserole ~

Chicken and stuffing. The two go hand-in-hand, and I can't fathom my food world without this combination. As a young girl, roast chicken with mom's stuffing and gravy was our Sunday dinner twice-a-month. Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, be it a Sunday or a weeknight, it's always prime-time for chicken and stuffing on my dinner table, and, this super-easy casserole is a spin-off of my Aunt's apple-pie pork-chop and stuffing casserole recipe -- which, uses two boxes of Stovetop stuffing mix in place of classic white bread stuffing, plus, a can of apple pie filling is added to the bottom...... View full recipe for "~ Apple-Pie Chicken Paillards and Stuffing Casserole ~"

04/29/2021

~Steak My Day - Summer-Up & Try 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 "~Steak My Day - Summer-Up & Try Pork Blade Steak~"

04/08/2021

~ Bone-Suckin'-Sauced Boneless Chicken Paillards ~

Bone Suckin' Sauce. If this is product you've never tried, I suggest you make the pilgrimage to your nearest Lowe's (yes folks, our local Lowe's home improvement and appliance retailer is the only place we can buy it here in Happy Valley -- they sell the sauce in the same spot they sell barbecue grills, which, makes sense), or, get it on-line on their website. My son in Pittsburgh introduced me to Bone Suckin' Sauce about fifteen years ago, and, without exaggeration, the first taste changed my life. Before long, I was buying this sauce, on-line, by the case. Over...... View full recipe for "~ Bone-Suckin'-Sauced Boneless Chicken Paillards ~"

04/05/2021

~ Cheese Ravioli w/Butter, Garlic & Cottage Cheese ~

I'm often asked what I cook just for myself, meaning: what I eat when no one else is around or no one else is looking. My answer is always the same: Most times I make a sandwich or nuke some soup (which require no actual cooking), but, when I do want to place a pot on the stovetop, I treat myself to a super-quick, super-easy pasta dish that is a spin-off of a childhood favorite (my dad's version of mac and cheese) which was an odd combination of hot, buttered-macaroni tossed with cold cottage cheese and seasoned with garlic powder,...... View full recipe for "~ Cheese Ravioli w/Butter, Garlic & Cottage Cheese ~"

04/02/2021

~ Easiest Ham & Cheesy Boxed Scalloped Potatoes ~

I know I'm not alone on this point, C-19 has changed what I store in my pantry -- truth told, it's not bad, just different. In preparation for the lock down that occurred a few months ago, I stocked several boxes of Rice-a-Roni, four boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a big box of Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes, and, a few boxes of Stovetop stuffing mix and Betty Crocker cheesy scalloped potatoes. Thanks to them being staples in my mom's pantry, I knew these easy-to-make convenience-food side-dishes not only have a long shelf life, they're tasty. In the case...... View full recipe for "~ Easiest Ham & Cheesy Boxed Scalloped Potatoes ~"

03/30/2021

~ Easy One-Skillet Teriyaki Chicken-Thigh Paillards ~

As a lover of Asian fare, teriyaki-in-general is one of my favorite ways to cook. Teriyaki is as well known outside of Japan as sushi or ramen is, so, most American people, kids included, will give "teriyaki anything" a try. A bottle of teriyaki sauce has been a staple condiment in my pantry for as long as I've had a pantry, standing right next to the elites: Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, Hellman's mayonnaise, K.C. Masterpiece barbecue sauce, and, Lee & Perrin's worcestershire sauce. That said, teriyaki sauce is seriously simple to make, and, it can be customized to suit your...... View full recipe for "~ Easy One-Skillet Teriyaki Chicken-Thigh Paillards ~"

03/24/2021

~ To Paillard or Not to Paillard -- and Define a Paillard ~

A Paillard, a noun, is a thin, lightly-pounded cut, large or small, of any type of meat -- most commonly beef, chicken, lamb, pork or veal. That said, occasionally, in certain culinary applications, firm seafood, like lobster, shrimp or scallops, can, for the right reason, become a paillard. It's also possible to use some vegetables to make a paillard. In certain areas of the United States, paillards are simply referred to as "cutlets". Paillard, the verb, generally speaking, means to lightly-pound. I'm using a few boneless, skinless chicken thighs as an example. Paillard (PI-yahrd): This fancy French word dating back...... View full recipe for "~ To Paillard or Not to Paillard -- and Define a Paillard ~"

03/21/2021

~Easy One-Skillet Barbecued Chicken-Thigh Paillards~

Next to Buffalo-style chicken anything, a big piece of juicy barbecued chicken, hot off the outdoor grill grids, slathered in a copious amount of semi-caramelized barbecue sauce is one of my favorite things. There's more. I like to take that seething hot piece of barbecued chicken and plop it atop a cold, crisp salad. Yes, of course, the hot chicken semi-wilts some of those greens, but when I put a knife-and fork to this barbecued chicken salad meal, I can't stop eating. A bit about paillard (PI-yahrd): This fancy French word means "to pound", and, references a lightly-pounded portion-sized slice...... View full recipe for "~Easy One-Skillet Barbecued Chicken-Thigh Paillards~"

03/15/2021

~ Open Sesame -- Easiest Teriyaki Pork Tenderloins ~

Can a really, I mean REALLY good dinner entrée be made using three ingredients? Yes, on occasion it can, and, let's be honest, whether your food world moves at a fast pace or a slow pace, a three-ingredient dinner entrée recipe in-the-style of this one (meaning you're proud to plate and serve it to your family, or, to a few guests), is: a recipe worth having -- it's "the stuff" good home cooks are made of. There's no shame in shortcuts as long they are high-quality ones. For example: Using a bottle of seriously-good store-bought teriyaki sauce, instead of making...... View full recipe for "~ Open Sesame -- Easiest Teriyaki Pork Tenderloins ~"

03/03/2021

~Slow-Cooker Buffalo-Style St. Lewis-Style Spareribs~

Try as I might, I can't let more than a month or two go by without either: succumbing to the craving to deep-fry and eat Buffalo-style chicken wings, or, experiment with a new way to enjoy the sweet-heat of Buffalo-sauced anything. Today, I decided to try my hand at low-and-slow cooked Buffalo-style pork ribs -- when they were done, I finished them off under the broiler, just to crisp the fat cap and caramelize the sauce a bit. Remember the famous ad-man line, "pork -- the other white meat"? Well, I'll be making these again, and often. Life in the...... View full recipe for "~Slow-Cooker Buffalo-Style St. Lewis-Style Spareribs~"

02/23/2021

~ Homestyle Beef Tips, Gravy & Amish Egg Noodles ~

Beef tips and gravy. It's one of those humble-yet-hearty, frugally-inexpensive, weeknight meals our moms and grandmoms served to a hungry family after purchasing a pound or three of cheap-at-twice-the-price odds-and-end chunks of beef cubes (aka "stew beef") at the butcher shop. No one had to be called to the table twice when this dinner was goin' on the table. Some families preferred their meal ladled atop white rice, others liked it ladled atop mashed potatoes, and, still others served it ladled atop buttered egg noodles. My family fell into the egg noodle category. My recipe came via my mother and...... View full recipe for "~ Homestyle Beef Tips, Gravy & Amish Egg Noodles ~"

02/05/2021

~ Easiest Skillet-Fried Barbecue-Sauced Pork Chops ~

When my kids were kids, barbecue-sauced pork chops, served up atop a bed of my easy-to-make recipe for better than store-bought stovetop macaroni and cheese was one of their favorite weeknight meals. No one needed to be called to the table twice on barbecued pork chop night, and, I didn't have to spend all afternoon cooking in order to reap the reward of their accolades. All I had to do was brown the chops on both sides and then let them slow simmer in a mixture of barbecue sauce and water for about 30 minutes until fork tender. One-skillet perfection....... View full recipe for "~ Easiest Skillet-Fried Barbecue-Sauced Pork Chops ~"

02/02/2021

~ Jamaican-Style Shrimp and Scallop Coconut Curry ~

I'm no expert, but, I do know just enough about Jamaican cooking to NOT be dangerous. I know that a dish consisting of ackee fruit and salt cod is their National Dish. Alas, even if I could get my hands on an ackee here in the states, I wouldn't touch it. Parts of the ackee are toxic, so, my better judgement tells me to leave that recipe to the experts. And, while I love salt cod and fresh cod too, I like seafood (like crab, shrimp, scallops and lobster) better, so, I'm confidant I can create a luscious Jamaican-style dinner...... View full recipe for "~ Jamaican-Style Shrimp and Scallop Coconut Curry ~"

01/27/2021

~ Paring 3 Store-Bought Ravioli w/3 Perfect Sauces ~

Let's be honest, even those of us who can and do make ravioli from scratch, don't typically serve them for a family-friendly weeknight meal. Why? Making ravioli from scratch is a lot of work. That's why these one-to-two-bite labors-of-love are usually reserved for holidays and celebrations. That said, high-quality store-bought ravioli can be found in the average grocery store. Rana is my go-to brand, and, you won't find them in the frozen food aisle -- they're found in the refrigerated section where fresh pasta is sold. When paired with an easy-to-make-from-scratch sauce, ravioli can and should be added to every...... View full recipe for "~ Paring 3 Store-Bought Ravioli w/3 Perfect Sauces ~"

01/24/2021

~ Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Florentine 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 "~ Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Florentine Sauce ~"

01/21/2021

~Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli with Tomato-Cream Sauce~

Every once in a while, my ability to cook is overshadowed by my desire to cook something remarkably easy, yet good enough to serve to guests -- no special skills, tools or knowledge required. Today is such a day. This simple, straightforward and scrumptious recipe, taken from the pages of absolutely nowhere, goes from stovetop to table in less time than it takes to cook spaghetti, and, when beautifully plated, will bamboozle everyone into thinking I cooked all day. "I dream of stirring cream into marinara sauce." ~ Melanie The only thing more rewarding than having a freezer shelf full...... View full recipe for "~Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli with Tomato-Cream Sauce~"

01/18/2021

~So Easy -- Mushroom Ravioli Alfredo alla Primavera~

I'm not a vegetarian, but, as a card-carrying carnivore, I can tell you, if I were, this easy-to-make creamy-dreamy pasta dish would be at the top of my weeknight menu rotation. Why? Because when I indulge in this decadent dish, I don't miss the meat for a second. In Italian, fettuccine means "little ribbons", which is why stranded pasta is always used. In Italian, primavera means "Spring" and culinarily, primavera just means that fresh vegetables (raw or blanched) are added to the dish during or at the end of its preparation. Long story short, fettuccini Alfredo that has vegetables added...... View full recipe for "~So Easy -- Mushroom Ravioli Alfredo alla Primavera~"

12/24/2020

~ Creamy-Dreamy Old-Bay Shrimp Shell-Pasta Salad ~

This main-dish pasta salad is made by adding cooked and well-drained shell-shaped pasta to my mother's shrimp salad recipe. It makes the perfect quick lunch or light supper. Simply portion it into a shallow bowl atop a bed of crispy-crunchy lettuce leaves accompanied by a few tomato wedges and pour a glass of your favorite wine. Add a slice of crusty rustic bread, a fancy-schmancy flakey croissant or a brioche roll slathered with butter and lunch or dinner is served. Shrimp cocktail has been a traditional appetizer at my family's holiday gatherings and celebrations for as long as I can...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy-Dreamy Old-Bay Shrimp Shell-Pasta Salad ~"

11/29/2020

~Broiled KC-Style Sticky Barbecued Chicken Quarters~

Smack my drippy lips and lick my sticky fingers. Skin-on barbecued chicken is one of my favorite things -- the stickier the end result, the better. Oh-my-sigh. There is just something about what happens when crispy chicken skin meets a few slathers of barbecue sauce at the end of the cooking process. When executed correctly, three-four bastes with a copious amount of sauce, each given a few moments to caramelize in between each application, the two become one sticky casing for the tender, juicy meat below. It sends my soul to the moon and back to earth. Three on-hand ingredients...... View full recipe for "~Broiled KC-Style Sticky Barbecued Chicken Quarters~"

09/26/2020

~ How Many Ways Can One Say Buffalo-Wing-Style ~

What started in 1964 as late-night pub grub at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, deep-fried chicken wings, is now found in many forms. Truth told, there's not much that Buffalo-style chicken can't do, and applying Buffalo wing sauce as a glaze to oven-roasted chicken leg-thigh quarters, or, stirring it into some previously roasted or poached chicken is the perfect way to transition this iconic game day snack into all sorts of other appetizers, sandwiches, main or side-dish salads, or, main-dish meals. Trust me, as a lady who loves her deep-fried wings, but, only in the privacy of her own...... View full recipe for "~ How Many Ways Can One Say Buffalo-Wing-Style ~"

09/20/2020

~ My Peachy-Keen Pork Chops & Stuffing Casserole ~

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

09/15/2020

~What's the Buzz -- Thick & Hearty Bronze-Cut Pasta~

Dried pasta, I'm guessing, is in 99.9 percent of all pantries. Even if I didn't adore pasta as much as I do, not to mention have around 100 favorite ways to prepare around 100 of my favorite pasta shapes, several boxes of pasta would still be required to be in my pantry at all times. Why? Because the majority of everyone I know loves pasta, and as the family cook, it's my responsibility to please as many people at one time as possible -- and pasta, as a side-dish or a main-course, is a simple, straightforward, sure-simmered way to do...... View full recipe for "~What's the Buzz -- Thick & Hearty Bronze-Cut Pasta~"

08/23/2020

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

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

08/17/2020

~ Alfredo alla Primavera Parmesan-Chicken Quarters ~

In Italian, fettuccine means "little ribbons", which is why stranded pasta is always used in its preparation. In Italian, primavera implies "Spring", and culinarily, primavera simply means that fresh vegetables (raw or blanched) have been added to the dish during, or at the end, of its preparation. Long story short, fettuccini Alfredo that has vegetables added to it is simply referred to as Alfredo alla primavera. Alfredo and Alfredo primavera can be served as either a pasta course during a meal, a side-dish with a meal, or, (in a larger portion) as a main-course, and, in Italian-American restaurants, because we...... View full recipe for "~ Alfredo alla Primavera Parmesan-Chicken Quarters ~"

08/15/2020

~ Nice & Easy Spaghetti Alfredo alla Primavera-Style ~

It was November, 1981 or 1982 -- one or two days before Thanksgiving. It would turn out to be one of the worst-ever total snowfall years in the history of State College, and this storm snuck up on everyone. The snow piled high that afternoon, leaving over two feet on the ground. Trees came down and power lines snapped. Lights went out all over town. Our house at the time had a soapstone wood-burning stove in our family room. I hated that stove and the mess involved with it, but, it did help with the heating bill, so, Joe kept...... View full recipe for "~ Nice & Easy Spaghetti Alfredo alla Primavera-Style ~ "

08/12/2020

~ Japanese-Teriyaki-Style Roasted Chicken Quarters ~

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

08/09/2020

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

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

08/06/2020

~ Easy Oven-Roasted Barbecued Chicken Quarters ~

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

08/04/2020

~ Roasted Buffalo-Style Chicken Leg-Thigh Quarters ~

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

07/31/2020

~ All-in-the-Pantry One-Pot Creamy Spaghetti Alfredo ~

Any time of year, at the end of a bad day or a great day, served as a side-dish or a main-course, a creamy-dreamy bowl of luxurious Alfredo-sauced pasta can be just what the doctor ordered. A few pantry ingredients, cheese and cream, plus, one-pot on the stovetop. Fifteen minutes later, you stick a fork in it and all is right with the world. There is no trick to Alfredo. About the only thing one can do wrong is to purchase a jar of bottled glop, which, never mind, let's not go there. A bit of history about the iconic...... View full recipe for "~ All-in-the-Pantry One-Pot Creamy Spaghetti Alfredo ~"

07/20/2020

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

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

07/17/2020

~ Light & Easy Buffalo-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~

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

07/12/2020

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

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

07/05/2020

~ Broiled & Baked Rack of St. Lewis-Style Spareribs ~

Not everyone is a master of the barbecue grill or smoker. Newsflash. Not everyone wants to be. While I'm more than competent on a gas grill, charcoal gives me fits and the smell of smoke gives me a blinding headache. There's more. When the temperature in the great outdoors is threatening to blow the top off my thermometer, you won't find me outside torturing myself in the blazing heat just to prepare a rack of ribs. It's the AC for me baby, and, trust me when I tell you, you're gonna love the ribs I'm making in the cool oasis...... View full recipe for "~ Broiled & Baked Rack of St. Lewis-Style Spareribs ~"

06/15/2020

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

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

05/22/2020

~ Platter Up a Steak, Pasta, Fontina & Catalina Salad ~

No special marinade, no fancy ingredients, no fuss, no muss, no stress. Yes, you read that right, and, when you and yours sit down to this start-to-finish forty-five-minute main-dish salad, if you aren't smacking your lips while plating your second helping with a satisfied smile on your face, I'll be shocked. Of course you can embellish it (sprinkle the flank steak your favorite steak-seasoning, grill the steak along with the tomatoes and onion outdoors, and/or make the salad dressing and crunchy croutons from scratch), but, trust me when I tell you, there is no need. As a lover of sweet...... View full recipe for "~ Platter Up a Steak, Pasta, Fontina & Catalina Salad ~"

05/19/2020

~Eight Delightfully Delicious Rice-a-Roni Dinner Ideas~

Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat, was a savvy entrepreneur's son's take on rice pilaf. Italian born immigrant Domenico (Charlie) DeDomenico moved to California in 1895 to open a fresh produce store. After becoming a successful businessman, he married Maria Ferrigno, an immigrant from Salerno, Italy, where her family owned a pasta factory. In 1912, Maria persuaded Charlie to set up a similar business in the Mission District of San Francisco. Gragnano Products, Inc., was born and began delivering pasta to Italian restaurants and stores throughout the area. Maria and Charlie's sons, Paskey, Vince, Tom and Anthony worked in the family...... View full recipe for "~Eight Delightfully Delicious Rice-a-Roni Dinner Ideas~"

05/15/2020

~ Crockpot Hunter's-Style Chicken-Thigh Cacciatore ~

In the style of the hunter, aka the catcher. Traditional cacciatore was a thick, rustic stew prepared primarily when the hunter bought home "white meat" to feed his family -- partridges, pheasants or rabbits. In Italian, the word "cacciatore" means "hunter", and, the term "alla cacciatore" means "in the style of the hunter". The Italian-American term infers a chicken stew prepared with mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, herbs and red wine. It's pretty easy to imagine how the dish transitioned from game birds and rabbits in Italy to chicken here in America. Traditional cacciatore is prepared on the stovetop....... View full recipe for "~ Crockpot Hunter's-Style Chicken-Thigh Cacciatore ~"

05/12/2020

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

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

05/09/2020

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

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

04/28/2020

~ Teriyaki-Style Chicken Wings & Rice-a-Roni Bowls ~

Of the original three Rice-a-Roni flavors (chicken, beef and Spanish-style), chicken is the undisputed favorite, with beef and tomatoey Spanish-style coming in a close second and third. Growing up in the 60's, all three flavors of "the San Francisco treat" were always in my mom's pantry, and, as a savvy cook and recipe developer, I'm proud of my copycat recipes for all three. Over the decades, Rice-a-Roni has added many other flavors to their menu (long-grain & wild rice, rice pilaf, Japanese teriyaki, Chinese fried-rice, and Mexican-Style), twenty-six to be exact, along with other Pasta-Roni products. Teriyaki flavor is one...... View full recipe for "~ Teriyaki-Style Chicken Wings & Rice-a-Roni Bowls ~"

04/25/2020

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

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