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

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 ~"

04/22/2020

~ My Cut-to-the-Chase Pan-Seared Meatloaf Burgers ~

Eating a meatloaf sandwich the day after a meatloaf dinner is like eating a turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving -- the anticipation of the ritual gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I adore a good old-fashioned back-to-basics meatloaf dinner with all the trimmings (with mashed potatoes and gravy or macaroni and cheese) as much as I adore a traditional, well-appointed Turkey dinner. It's simple, straightforward, mouthwatering comfort food. That said, in my food world, the all-important sandwich I indulge in the following day is almost better. It goes without saying, everyone has a...... View full recipe for "~ My Cut-to-the-Chase Pan-Seared Meatloaf Burgers ~"

04/20/2020

~Homestyle Chicken and Vegetable Rice-a-Roni-Pilaf~

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 "~Homestyle Chicken and Vegetable Rice-a-Roni-Pilaf~"

04/18/2020

~ Easy Chinese-Style Pork-Fried-Rice-a-Roni Stir-Fry ~

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. Their stir-fried rice is...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Chinese-Style Pork-Fried-Rice-a-Roni Stir-Fry ~"

04/15/2020

~ Oh-My-Goodness-Good Retro Rice-a-Burger-Roni ~

When I was a kid, my mom invented a beefy Rice-a-Roni dinner that kept my brother and I from bugging her to buy us an occasional, to quote mom, "over-priced, over-rated TV dinner" -- which, to us kids of the era, were nothing more than a trendy novelty. As they say on the Rice-a-Roni website: Prepare for a stampede to the dinner table when you serve our delicious rice and vermicelli blended with the savory flavors of onions, carrots, beef broth and garlic. It's true. Mom would carefully shape hamburger patties, prepared meatloaf-style (meaning mixed with a binder, some milk,...... View full recipe for "~ Oh-My-Goodness-Good Retro Rice-a-Burger-Roni ~"

04/13/2020

~Cajun-Style Chicken, Sausage & Rice-a-Jamba-Roni~

In my kitchen, this one-skillet dish is affectionately referred to as Jamba-Roni. Why? This quick-to-make mixture of lightly-sautéed long-grain rice and vermicelli, plus tender chicken, spicy sausage, flavorful bell peppers, celery and onions simply reminds everyone who eats it of jambalaya (a rustic one-pot meal containing long-grain white rice with meat, poultry or shellfish, pork or sausage, and, the Cajun-Creole "holy trinity" -- onion, celery and green bell pepper). Creole-style jambalaya, sometimes called red jambalaya, incorporates tomato. The most popular Creole jambalaya contains shrimp (or crawfish). Cajun-style jambalaya, sometimes called brown jambalaya, doesn't contain tomato. The most popular Cajun jambalaya...... View full recipe for "~Cajun-Style Chicken, Sausage & Rice-a-Jamba-Roni~"

04/10/2020

~ Spicy Creole-Style Shrimp and Rice-a-Jamba-Roni ~

In my kitchen, this one-skillet dish is affectionately referred to as Jamba-Roni. Why? This quick-to-make mixture of tomato-laced long-grain white rice and vermicelli, plus lots of succulent shrimp and flavorful bell peppers, celery and onions simply reminds everyone who eats it of jambalaya (a rustic one-pot meal that combines long-grain white rice with meat, poultry or shellfish, pork or sausage, and, the Cajun-Creole culinary "holy trinity" -- onion, celery and green bell pepper). Creole-style jambalaya, sometimes called red jambalaya, incorporates tomato. The most popular Creole jambalaya contains shrimp (or crawfish). Cajun-style jambalaya, sometimes called brown jambalaya, doesn't contain tomato. The...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Creole-Style Shrimp and Rice-a-Jamba-Roni ~"

04/07/2020

~Cheesy Ham, Green Bean & Hash Brown Casserole~

After our Easter feast, before we even washed the dishes, mom would put together a casserole from three of the leftovers. It wasn't rocket science, but, it was made from high-quality scratch-made ingredients. About three cups of cubed baked ham and two cups of buttery green (string) beans got stirred into the remaining cheesy scalloped potatoes. The following night, upon reheat, no one had to be called twice to the dinner table -- we four loved this meal. This is not that recipe. This is similar dish, made from pantry and freezer staples, for those times when you don't have...... View full recipe for "~Cheesy Ham, Green Bean & Hash Brown Casserole~"

04/04/2020

~My Cheesy Corned-Beef on Rye Reuben Casserole~

I cook corned beef regularly -- three-four times a year. It's always available at our local Sam's Club, and it has a long shelf-life too, meaning the expiration date is often a month or more out on the calendar. I always buy two and I always cook two. After discarding the seasoning packets, I cook them my way, slowly in the crockpot, in a tomato mixture laced with aromatic allspice, cinnamon and cloves. When done, I cover the tops with brown sugar and bake them in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes until the sugar crust is bubbly and caramelizing....... View full recipe for "~My Cheesy Corned-Beef on Rye Reuben Casserole~"

04/02/2020

~Oodles of Tender Chicken & Egg Noodle Casserole~

Chicken-noodle soup is the quintessential comfort food. While nourishing the body, chicken-noodle soup channels the mind back to kinder, gentler, childhood times. When I was growing up, I don't remember eating canned chicken-noodle soup. Mom always had one-quart containers of homemade chicken soup in the freezer. When it was gone, she made more. That was that, haha, no canned chicken-noodle soup for me. While stocking my pantry with a few chicken-y staples (four boxes of chicken stock, two jars of granulated chicken bouillon, and, two double-size bags of wide egg noodles), my mind wandered to mom's chicken noodle casserole. Mom's...... View full recipe for "~Oodles of Tender Chicken & Egg Noodle Casserole~"

03/22/2020

~Steakhouse Steak Salad w/Onion-Laced Steak Fries~

Grocery shopping has become a sport and pantry cooking has become an art form. Three out of seven ingredients I wanted were gone from the shelves yesterday, and, along with every protein, the price of steak has gone through the roof. For those who have a family to feed, these costs are cause to take many things off the table. It's disheartening. That said, by purchasing steak and serving it portioned and sliced atop a simple, uncomplicated, well-dressed salad (alongside a side of simple, uncomplicated, well-seasoned steak fries), it turns out to be kinda economical. Joe bought a two-pack of...... View full recipe for "~Steakhouse Steak Salad w/Onion-Laced Steak Fries~"

03/17/2020

~ Pantastic Sizzling One-Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas ~

Sheet pan meals have become remarkably popular over the past two-three years. The concept of tossing an array of ingredients together, scattering them around in a single layer on one pan, then roasting them in a hot oven, appeals to both novice and experienced cooks. The prep time is reasonably short, and, once the food's in the oven, the hands are free to tend to other things. If the sheet pan has been lined with aluminum foil first, clean up -- uh, there is almost no cleanup. I was late to the sheet pan dinner party, meaning, sheet-pan meals were...... View full recipe for "~ Pantastic Sizzling One-Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas ~"

03/14/2020

~Pork Chop & Baked Bean Casserole - Pork & Beans~

When my mom announced she was making pork and beans for dinner, she didn't mean she was opening a can of pork and beans -- in a way, kinda sorta she was, but, there was a bit more to it. It meant she had asked Vince, the butcher at The Valley Meat Market, to slice 8, 1/2"-3/4"-thick bone-in pork loin chops, plus a pound of bacon, so she could make her recipe for pork chop and homemade baked bean casserole. She started by seasoning and browning the chops in a skillet -- that took about 15 minutes. Next, she'd mix...... View full recipe for "~Pork Chop & Baked Bean Casserole - Pork & Beans~"

03/07/2020

~Five Fun Family-Friendly Weeknight Quiche Dinners~

When I lived alone in my apartment back in 1978, I made a quiche every Sunday. I ate one slice, then took one slice to work with me every day for lunch. After a few weeks, my new boss and other co-workers started hinting, then expecting me to bring them quiche too. For a period of time, I took an entire quiche to work with me almost every Monday. Fun times, great memories. I suppose, at the time, I could have referred to myself as the Happy Valley Quiche Queen! In the latter 1970's and into the 1980's, quiche became...... View full recipe for "~Five Fun Family-Friendly Weeknight Quiche Dinners~"

03/03/2020

~ Mel's Cheeseburger Quiche w/Special Sauce Salad ~

Cheeseburger pie was not something my mom ever made -- it existed back in the 1950's and 60's, she just never made it. As I recall, the recipe moms across America were using then was made popular by Bisquick. Mom probably didn't make it because dad wouldn't eat anything "casserole-ish". A cheeseburger pie or quiche was not something I thought I would ever make -- it existed in the 1970's and 80's, I just never felt like making it. That said, when you're a mom of three boys in the 1970's and 1980's and one of them comes home after...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Cheeseburger Quiche w/Special Sauce Salad ~"

02/29/2020

~ Creamy Chicken and Whole-Grain Mustard Quiche ~

Tender, juicy roast chicken served with a drizzle of mustard-laced cream sauce is one of my favorite dinners. Transitioning those mouth-watering textures and flavors into a quiche was one of the best ideas I ever had. It is exquisite, understated, elegance. I typically serve this for brunch or lunch with a side of buttery green beans almandine, a glass of white wine or champagne and "something chocolate" for dessert. Trust me, this is a restaurant-quality meal. That said, I'm a bit of a snob about this quiche. Only all-white breast meat please, meaning: roasted breasts or poached tenderloins. Don't go...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Chicken and Whole-Grain Mustard Quiche ~"

02/27/2020

~ Broccoli, Cauliflower & Cheddar Main-Dish Quiche ~

Eat your broccoli. I love broccoli. Eat your cauliflower. I love cauliflower. I always have. When my mom would put a drizzle of cheddar cheese sauce on either, the rest of my dinner became irrelevant. All I wanted was the side-dish. Every now and then I fall prey to a craving for broccoli and/or cauliflower drizzled with cheddar cheese sauce, and, because once it's on the table dinner is still irrelevant, for that reason, I long ago decided to team them up together in a quiche and serve it as a main dish. Back in the 1970's, when I lived...... View full recipe for "~ Broccoli, Cauliflower & Cheddar Main-Dish Quiche ~"

02/22/2020

~ Crispy Outside, Tender Inside, Oven-Fried Chicken ~

The best oven-fried chicken has a crispy-crunchy outer coating encasing the juicy-tender meat. It's succulent. That said, to proclaim oven-fried chicken is as good as, rivals, or is better than traditional skillet- or deep-fried chicken is not something I'm willing to do. Truth told, it's neither better nor worse. It's different. Two different cooking methods produce two different results. Both qualify for fried-chicken status and both are marvelous, but, they're two different birds. Skillet- or deep-fried chicken vs. oven-fried chicken: Two different birds indeed. Immersing traditional fried chicken in hot-oil (or shortening or lard) in a skillet or in a...... View full recipe for "~ Crispy Outside, Tender Inside, Oven-Fried Chicken ~"