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621 posts categorized " 02) Soups, Salads, Sandwiches & Snacks"

04/10/2024

~ 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 ~"

04/05/2024

~My 18-Minute Philly-Dilly Flank-Steak Cheesesteaks~

Knowledge is power. As the 2018 "Dilly-dilly" Bud Light, Super Bowl commercial spiked in popularity, then filtered into the mantra for the Eagle's super-bowl victory parade in the form of "Philly-dilly", my curiosity caused me to research it -- and I'm glad I did. I'm here to report "dilly" is a real word, and, as per Merriam-Webster, it's a noun that comes from an obsolete adjective that refers to something "delightful", "remarkable" or "outstanding", which describes with perfection: My latest take on the cheesesteak -- The Philly-Dilly. If you have never eaten a cheesesteak sandwich in Philadelphia proper, you've never...... View full recipe for "~My 18-Minute Philly-Dilly Flank-Steak Cheesesteaks~"

03/25/2024

~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~

Everyone knows anything one can sandwich between two slices of bread can be tucked into a pita pocket to eat on the run. Almost everyone knows that the flat round pita (or any flatbread) is a great foil for all sorts open-face knife-and-fork sandwich meals too. What all busy moms know is: if the ingredients on the pita are amicable to being baked in the oven, and you refer to it as pizza, it's a sure-fire way to get children to venture into trying just about anything. It's called "bending the rules for the common good", and, when my kids...... View full recipe for "~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~"

03/20/2024

~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~"

03/15/2024

~ Thai-Style Chicken Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~

Mae Ploy brand sweet chili sauce, known in Thailand as "nam chim kai", "dipping sauce for chicken", is a staple in my refrigerator. We use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things -- from lettuce wraps and spring rolls to deep-fried chicken wings, coconut shrimp and batter-dipped vegetables, almost everything tastes better with the sweet heat of this sauce. Here in my kitchen, we affectionately refer to it as "the ketchup of Thailand." Using it in conjunction with the right ratio of other Thai pantry staples renders a vinaigrette no store-bought brand can compete with. A salad...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~"

03/05/2024

~ T.G.I. No-Fuss-Friday Greek Pizza for Mel Tonight ~

I'm Mel -- I pretty much cook all week -- on weekends too. I cook for my family, friends, and, friends-of-friends. I even cooked on TV for about a decade, and it's all fun, but, every once in a while, I have occasion to cook just for myself. Tonight is such a night, and, I am going Greek -- it's also really easy and super-good. Why cook for myself when I don't have to? Because, with little effort, calorie for calorie, my food tastes much better than over-priced, lack-luster take out or delivery -- and in the case of tonight's...... View full recipe for "~ T.G.I. No-Fuss-Friday Greek Pizza for Mel Tonight ~"

02/29/2024

~ Greek-Style Flank Steak Salad or Pocket Sammies ~

I'm going Greek today. It happens a few times a year -- my lust for lemon and garlic and oregano combined with crumbly feta cheese and/or creamy Greek yogurt takes over. Thank goodness I have a few excellent recipes go to. Sometimes I'm inclined to quash my craving by incorporating shrimp, other times I choose lamb, chicken is not off limits, but, one of my all-time favorites is flank stank. When duly-marinated and rare-cooked via broiling or grilling, it is a carnivorous Greek goddess's dream come true. I adore this hearty, main-dish salad topped plenty of crunchy herb-bread croutons, and,...... View full recipe for "~ Greek-Style Flank Steak Salad or Pocket Sammies ~"

02/25/2024

~ Creamy-Coconut & Spicy-Hot Jamaican Pork Curry ~

Throughout the Caribbean, porcine reigns supreme, and, when it comes to perfectly-balanced, bright, slightly-sweet and spicy-hot curry blends, the Jamaicans have cornered the market. That said, the world is full of curries, they are all different, and, for the home cook, it's almost impossible to prepare an authentic curry outside of the region it's prepared in, within its country of origin. Why? Because outside of the United States, curry is not a store-bought dried spice blend or wet paste that produces a predictable end result. They're hand-made, mortar-and-pestle pulverized, dry or pasty concoctions of spices or herbs, the amounts of...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy-Coconut & Spicy-Hot Jamaican Pork Curry ~"

01/25/2024

~ Deli Corned Beef on Swirl with Sauerkraut & Swiss ~

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

01/20/2024

~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~

Welsh rarebit -- the original cheese toast. It's worth mention that I've only eaten what I believe to be the real-deal once. It was in the latter 1990's, in Wales, in the exquisite Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel (coy-dee-moo-ster). It came to me as a complimentary side to a lovely salad (which I ordered after returning from shopping in the city of Cardiff). The cheese toast, along with everything else in this hotel, was perfect. I kicked off my high-heels and enjoyed it in my lavish room, overlooking the How-Green-was-My-Valley countryside, with a very English G&T too. I gave cheese toast a lot...... View full recipe for "~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~"

01/15/2024

~ Well-Seasoned Vegetarian Vegetable & Bean Soup ~

I adore our country's famous Senate bean soup -- chocked full of navy beans, shards of meat from ham hocks or shanks, onion and celery. Everything from its rich history to is smokey flavor and creamy texture is perfection -- I've even had the pleasure of eating in the Senate dining room in Washington, D.C. That said, I have vegetarian friends -- not many, but, they enjoy making their presence known in my kitchen. When they do, I'm happy to go meatless for a few hours. Yesterday was one such afternoon. A pot of this relatively-easy-to-make vegetarian version of my...... View full recipe for "~ Well-Seasoned Vegetarian Vegetable & Bean Soup ~"

01/10/2024

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

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

01/05/2024

~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~

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

12/30/2023

~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~

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

12/25/2023

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

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

12/10/2023

~ Cranberry and Soy Sauce Glazed Pork Loin Sliders ~

Intermittently halting the holiday preparations to interject an impromptu movie night into the festivities is a pleasant break from the upcoming hullabaloo. Who doesn't love kicking back on the couch to watch a movie or two for a few hours -- for me, the feeling is akin to playing hookie from school. That said, coming up with a menu (after the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone and before the Christmas gluttony begins), is, in it's own small way, tricky -- for me, it's gotta be low-key, stress-free, easy, and, seriously over-the-top tasty. A simple family-night -- we all need one. Did...... View full recipe for "~ Cranberry and Soy Sauce Glazed Pork Loin Sliders ~"

12/05/2023

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

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

11/30/2023

~ Some Hot & Savory Open-Faced Sandwich History ~

There's no time like the week after Thanksgiving to dive into a discussion about open-faced sandwiches. After all, a great percentage of our United States's population just spent the weekend making hot, open-faced sandwiches using their leftover turkey, dressing and gravy. I'm no exception. Shortly after sitting down to write my recipes for Kentucky's Classic Hot Brown and Pittsburgh's Original Devonshire, two iconic hot turkey sandwiches, both with rich histories, I took a break to research the finer-points of the open-faced sandwich. Why? Technically, open-faced sandwiches aren't sandwiches in the true sense of the word. Unlike traditional sandwiches, open-faced sandwiches...... View full recipe for "~ Some Hot & Savory Open-Faced Sandwich History ~"

11/25/2023

~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~

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

11/15/2023

~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~

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

11/10/2023

~ Dare to be a Square: Individual Breakfast Frittatas ~

As an egg lover, for me, a frittata is a relatively-easy quick-to-make hunger-satisfying meal any time of the day -- for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or late night snack. It tastes great served hot, warm, at room temperature or cold, and, leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave. A bit of slicing, dicing or chopping is typically required, but it's minimal, and, since frittata can also be a tasty way to use up leftovers from a previous meal, in some instances, no knife is required. In my food world, making individual-sized frittatas, a perfectly-portioned quick-as-heck protein-packed meal or snack that I...... View full recipe for "~ Dare to be a Square: Individual Breakfast Frittatas ~"

10/30/2023

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

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

09/30/2023

~ Chicken, Cheddar, Bacon, Apple & Honey Mustard ~

Write this list of five ingredients down. Why? Together, they are a stellar Fall sandwich (or salad) combination. Piled high between two slices of bread or tossed together in a bowl, along with some thinly-sliced onion and a few greens, they constitute a complete and salivatingly satisfying meal -- savory, sweet, and ever-so-slightly-salty, with plenty of meaty protein, tangy cheese, tart fruit and crisp vegetables. It all gets pulled together with a drizzly dressing made of honey, mustard and mayonnaise, which complements each and every component perfectly. I like to stuff everything into a pita pocket, but, I have been...... View full recipe for "~ Chicken, Cheddar, Bacon, Apple & Honey Mustard ~"

09/25/2023

~How to: Make Roasted Chicken Carcass Soup Stock~

As unappetizing as the two words chicken carcass sound, culinarily, those are the words that describe what's left of a boned chicken (what's left after the meat has been removed from the bones), and, truth told, whether the carcass is raw or has been roasted, there is a ton of flavor in those bones. There's more, and this is important: Discarding a chicken carcass without extracting the flavor from it is such a waste it should be a crime. Whether I have raw ones (which I rarely do) or roasted ones (which I often do), even if I don't have...... View full recipe for "~How to: Make Roasted Chicken Carcass Soup Stock~"

09/05/2023

~Grillmarked: Ground Chicken Caprese-Style Burgers~

Today is a glorious day in early-September, but unless we get a wealth of warm weather and sunshine for at least three more weeks, it's probable that I picked the last substantive batch of garden tomatoes this morning -- and it's been a banner year. While walking my basket of dew-covered beauties back to my kitchen, I passed by my last full-leafed basil plant, the one I've been saving for that celebratory "last caprese day" of the season. Today ended up being the day. While I'm always, and I mean always, in the mood for a classic caprese salad (sliced...... View full recipe for "~Grillmarked: Ground Chicken Caprese-Style Burgers~"

08/15/2023

~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~

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

08/10/2023

~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~

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

07/25/2023

~ Beefy, Cheesy, Fully-Loaded Mexican Tortilla Pizza ~

I haven't eaten at a Taco Bell in years, but, it's worth mentioning the first time I ate a Mexican pizza was the first time I ate at a Taco Bell -- and I liked it a lot. My personal-sized snack pizza came as a pleasant surprise. It contained refried beans, nicely-seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, a few small-diced tomatoes and red enchilada sauce -- all sandwiched between two slightly-crispy flour tortillas. It wasn't my choice to stop at their drive-thru window on that day, but, I must admit, it indeed inspired me to make many a Mexican snack pizza...... View full recipe for "~ Beefy, Cheesy, Fully-Loaded Mexican Tortilla Pizza ~"

07/20/2023

~ New Mexico-Style Cheese, Corn & Bean Enchiladas~

Whenever we traveled out of town for a few days, the moment we crossed the Centre County line and got within 20-30 minutes of home, we'd discuss what we were most hungry for (the food we missed the most on our trip always won). We'd order it for pick up, from one of our favorite eateries. Typically, that revolved around a pizza shop, a Chinese takeout place, or, a Mexican joint. When it came to the latter, I usually ordered up a plate of seriously cheesy enchiladas. Enchiladas are one of those Tex-Mex specialties that taste a bit different everywhere...... View full recipe for "~ New Mexico-Style Cheese, Corn & Bean Enchiladas~"

07/15/2023

~ Spicy New Mexico-Style Ground Beef Enchiladas ~

Enchiladas are one of those Tex-Mex specialties that taste a bit different everywhere you eat them. In a Mexican-American restaurant or in the home kitchen, they are lightly-fried corn tortillas that have been dipped in a deep reddish-brown chili-powder-based sauce before being filled, rolled up and baked. The filling can consist of a seemingly endless variety of meats (beef, chicken or pork), fish or seafood, cheese and/or beans and/or various other vegetables (for a vegetarian option). In my Happy Valley kitchen, the two kid- and tailgate-tested favorites for my New Mexico-style Red Chile Enchilada Sauced enchiladas are ground beef, lots...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy New Mexico-Style Ground Beef Enchiladas ~"

04/20/2023

~ GF Manchego, Apple, Walnut & Fig Preserve Bites ~

If you entertain on occasion, it's wise to have one or two really good gluten-free recipes in your repertoire. In the case of these delightful two-bite snacks, I love to serve them even when gluten-free is a non-issue. On the topic of GF and speaking from my own experience, two decades ago I knew one person with Celiac's disease. Currently I know three Celiacs. Don't ask me to speak about people decide of their own free will to follow a gluten-free diet without a doctors diagnosis -- a silly, somewhat irresponsible fad-diet trend which I'm starting see too much of....... View full recipe for "~ GF Manchego, Apple, Walnut & Fig Preserve Bites ~"

03/25/2023

~The Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato BLT Everything Bagel~

This Everything Bagel BLT sandwich is everything one could ask for in terms of a BLT sandwich -- lots of crisply fried bacon, crunchy lettuce and fresh tomato slices served on a toasted everything bagel that's been slathered with a tangy whipped chive-and-onion cream cheese spread. It doesn't have to stop there. If your a fan of the turkey club sandwich, feel free to add a generous pile of your favorite shaved deli turkey atop the bacon. If you think you'd enjoy a fried or poached egg on your bagel sandwich (even though I am not of fan), I won't...... View full recipe for "~The Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato BLT Everything Bagel~"

03/20/2023

~Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream Sandwiches~

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words -- especially if it only requires two ingredients. And, if you're a fan of mint-chocolate anything (candies, cocktails, brownies, cookies and/or ice-cream), one look at the above photo will most likely inspire you to bake some cookies and pick up a pint of the best mint-chip ice-cream you have access too. Except for a great recipe for home-baked mint-chocolate-chip cookies, which is kind of the point of this post, it is now in your hands. My recipe for Andes Creme-de-Menthe Mint-Chocolate Cookies: Plus, the mint-chip ice-cream brand of your choice: Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream...... View full recipe for "~Mint-Chocolate-Cookie Mint-Ice-Cream Sandwiches~"

03/05/2023

~Manchego, Apple, Prosciutto, Arugula & Fig Crostini~

I have a handful of favorite ways to enjoy Manchgo cheese here in my kitchen, but, truth told, my favorite way is the simplest: put a thin slice of Manchgo on a French bread slice with a dollop of fig preserves. That's it. Just three ingredients (bread, cheese and jam). It is marvelous -- sometimes, when I'm hungry and in need of quick, snack, I skip the bread and use Club or Ritz crackers as the crunchy base. Combined with a few other easy-to-find ingredients, these two-three-bite three-ingredient appetizers go from marvelous to over-the-top in a few short moments. One...... View full recipe for "~Manchego, Apple, Prosciutto, Arugula & Fig Crostini~"

01/15/2023

~ For the Love of Arby's Original and Horsey Sauce ~

You say Arby's and I'll ask what time to meet you there. It's no secret that I'm typically not a chain-restaurant kinda gal, but, I admit to loving an Arby's roast-beef sandwich or two drizzled with both their signature original sauce and horsey sauce. While Arby's offers an array of 17 different sauces to pair with your favorite roast-beef, chicken, ham, turkey or fish sandwich, 'burger or salad, their original sauce and horsey sauce are my two personal favorites -- they're addicting. They're so addicting, most customers relish in the guilty peasure of pocketing a few packets of these lip-smacking...... View full recipe for "~ For the Love of Arby's Original and Horsey Sauce ~"

12/05/2022

~ Dijon & Bacon-Wrapped Jumbo-Shrimp Appetizers ~

Bacon-wrapped shrimp is a relatively-easy appetizer that’s guaranteed to impress. There's more. Because they can be assembled 1-2 days before the party, this make-ahead hors d'oeuvre lowers the last-minute stress level considerably . The trick to making perfect bacon-wrapped shrimp, meaning, an opaque shrimp that is perfectly-cooked through with a layer of crispy bacon around it, is to partially-cook and cool the bacon before wrapping the raw shrimp. Why? Because it takes longer for bacon to cook to crispy perfection than for shrimp to cook to tender perfection. The trick to perfect bacon-wrapped shrimp = precooked bacon. 1 pound bacon,...... View full recipe for "~ Dijon & Bacon-Wrapped Jumbo-Shrimp Appetizers ~ "

10/20/2022

~ Fall Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Ground Beef Chili ~

Generally speaking, I'm not a Crockpot kinda gal, unless the end absolutely justifies the means with no compromise. In the case of this recipe, and almost any chili recipe, because chili is best when cooked low and slow over a long period of time, the end definitely justifies the means -- because that's what slow cookers are designed to do. There's more. This chili recipe, which is chocked full of sweet potatoes slow-cooked in a scrumptious blend of tomatoes mixed with aromatic spices is perfect for Fall. Which is why my family refers to this chili as my "Fall chili"....... View full recipe for "~ Fall Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Ground Beef Chili ~"

10/15/2022

~ Simply Slightly-Spicy Pasta with Butter and Garlic ~

No matter what you might imagine, people who cook all day have little-to-no desire to cook again at the end of a hectic work day -- and that's not a bad thing. Yet, these are at the same people who conjure up the best no-fuss, no-mess, simply-delicious stuff to eat. Trust me I know. There was a time in my life when I did cook all day. I won't lie, I'm rally happy those crazy days are over, but, I still love to sit in front of a movie or three to relax and enjoy one of my easy conjurings....... View full recipe for "~ Simply Slightly-Spicy Pasta with Butter and Garlic ~"

10/10/2022

~ Just Buttery Pasta in a Silky Tomato-Cream Sauce ~

Meet my fifteen-minutes-to-make pasta-craving-at-midnight meal. Truth told, it's more akin to my I-just-got-home and I'm starving what-can-I-make-really fast meal -- a hot, hearty, comforting feed-me-now meal. That said, it's also one of my go-to side dishes to serve with roasted chicken, broiled fish or sautéed seafood too -- I simply love it alongside some buttery, garlicy shrimp. If you have homemade marinara sauce on-hand in your freezer, feel free to use it, but, trust me, when store-bought marinara sauce gets a bit of cream stirred into it, you'll get no complaints. A tasty little side-dish for chicken, fish or seafood:...... View full recipe for "~ Just Buttery Pasta in a Silky Tomato-Cream Sauce ~"

09/30/2022

~ History of Canned Tuna and Tuna Salad in America ~

Tuna or chicken salad is nothing fancy -- and it's ertainly not gourmet. Just a quick and easy-to-make lunch made from ingredients you most-likely have on hand in your pantry -- and it'll keep you smiling all afternoon too. Why? Because besides being loaded with fat-free protein (from tuna packed in water or the meat from leftover chicken breasts, plus hard-cooked eggs), it's filling and packed-full of flavor (from all the wonderful spices in your favorite "lite" Italian dressing). There's more. It's light -- a refreshing respite from calorie-packed carbohydrates. We Americans have been eating tuna salad for over a...... View full recipe for "~ History of Canned Tuna and Tuna Salad in America ~"

09/25/2022

~Classic-Style Chunky Tuna, Egg & Shell Pasta Salad~

We Americans have been eating tuna salad for over a hundred years. The first reference to tuna salad appeared in 1907, and by 1914 dozens of recipes had been published. Tuna salad, classically made with with celery and mayonnaise, was a spin off of chicken salad, with tuna salad being touted as more convenient (due to the use of canned tuna) -- a big reason for its rise in popularity. Because of its nutritional value, it was marketed as diet food during the 1960s. Until the 1800s, the sardine was the canned fish Americans ate. Tuna was available, but, what...... View full recipe for "~Classic-Style Chunky Tuna, Egg & Shell Pasta Salad~"

09/20/2022

~ Classic-Style Creamy & Chunky Rotini & Egg Salad ~

Classic-style, old-fashioned macaroni salad. I like it a lot, almost as much as potato salad, and in my kitchen, just like potato salad, it's not restricted to Summertime eating. That said, when macaroni salad is made with elbow macaroni, I often lose interest in it after a few bites. Why? Texturally, in a to-the-tooth sort of way, it misses the mark, which is why I've always liked potato salad better. Then came the day I discovered that my creamy, mayonnaise-dressed macaroni salad recipe, if made with larger pasta and chunkier pieces of eggs, puts it on the same level as...... View full recipe for "~ Classic-Style Creamy & Chunky Rotini & Egg Salad ~"

09/15/2022

~ Hail to the Grill-Panned Shrimp Caesar Pasta Salad ~

We Americans love our Caesar salad. Over the course of the past four decades, the Caesar salad has overwhelmingly become America's favorite salad. If you are a lover of a crisp and tangy classic Caesar salad, and, you love your Caesar salad with plump, tender grilled shrimp (or chicken) tossed into it, there's more. If you are a lover of pasta salads too, you are gonna fall in love with this recipe. Adding pasta and a protein to a Caesar salad makes sense on many levels. Besides stretching it to feed a crowd, it turns it into a hearty and...... View full recipe for "~ Hail to the Grill-Panned Shrimp Caesar Pasta Salad ~"

09/10/2022

~Hail to the Grill-Panned Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad~

If you are a lover of a crisp and tangy classic Caesar salad, and, you love your Caesar salad with juicy, grilled chicken tossed into it, there's more. If you are a lover of pasta salads too, you are gonna fall in love with this recipe. Adding pasta and a protein to a Caesar salad makes sense on many levels. Besides stretching it to feed a crowd, it turns it into a hearty and refreshing main-course salad perfect to to serve at any almost any gathering -- a picnic, potluck or tailgate. We Americans love Caesar salad. Over the past...... View full recipe for "~Hail to the Grill-Panned Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad~"

09/05/2022

~ Hail to the Grill-Panned Chicken Caesar Sandwich ~

Over the past four decades, the Caesar salad has become America's favorite salad. It altered the lettuce industry, as the demand for romaine has skyrocketed, and, it turned the chicken-topped Caesar salad into the most ordered chicken item on restaurant menus -- even more than chicken wings and chicken fingers. If you are a lover of Caesar salad, and, you love your Caesar salad with juicy, grilled chicken tossed into it, you are gonna fall in love with my sandwiches. A bit about the chicken: Experience has taught that chicken sandwiches made with boneless, skinless breast are usually a "miss",...... View full recipe for "~ Hail to the Grill-Panned Chicken Caesar Sandwich ~"

08/27/2022

~ What are Bread-&-Butter or Sweet-'n-Sour Pickles ~

Bread-and-butter pickles also known as sweet-and-sour pickles are on the sweet end of the pickle spectrum, but not quite as sweet as sweet pickles, and, decidedly different than the sharp bite of dill pickles. They're typically crinkle-cut sliced, which makes them ideal for topping hamburgers and a variety of sandwiches. I often serve them as a side-dish, and, occasionally, dice them to add to salads or mince them to add to relishes. Interestingly enough, my family never made homemade bread and butter pickles. There was no need. We lived in Eastern Pennsylvania, the land of the Pennsylvania Deutsch (the German-speaking...... View full recipe for "~ What are Bread-&-Butter or Sweet-'n-Sour Pickles ~"

08/24/2022

~All About the All-American Cheeseburger in Paradise~

A cheeseburger, eaten anywhere in the good old USA -- each one a cheeseburger in paradise. It's become the quintessential American food. There are two claims* as to who slapped that first slice of processed American cheese on the lonely hamburger, but, we can all agree it was the best marriage of food since sliced white bread married peanut butter and jelly. And, we've come a long way baby -- nowadays the cheeseburger is eaten in fast food chains, fine-dining restaurants and all points in between. Cheeseburgers are for pick-up, delivery, drive-thru, eat-in, eat-out, eat-alone or invite-some-friends from sea to...... View full recipe for "~All About the All-American Cheeseburger in Paradise~"

08/21/2022

~All About Chinese Hotpot & Japanese Shabu Shabu~

From my American foodie's vantage point, I found hot pot and shabu shabu to be more alike than different. A literal hot pot of mild- to spicily-seasoned, simmering, meat- or vegetable-based broth is placed in the center of the communal table. Depending on the country and region of the country, an array of thinly-sliced meats, vegetables, dumplings or noodles and dipping sauces are positioned around the pot. Via a pair of chop sticks, each person picks up and cooks their food by gently bathing it in the simmering broth. The words "shabu shabu" mean "swish swish", and, double-dipping (using the...... View full recipe for "~All About Chinese Hotpot & Japanese Shabu Shabu~"

08/18/2022

~ Four Fab Recipes Using Lipton Onion Soup Mix ~

It's said to have been created by an unknown French cook in Los Angeles in 1954 and was intended to mimic the taste of French onion soup. The recipe became such a popular addition to the fare served in martini-drinking social circles, it got printed in a local newspaper. Shortly after, in 1955, the Lipton company promoted it on the TV show "Arthur Godfry's Talent Scouts", touting it as "Lipton California Dip", and followed that up with ad campaigns in supermarkets and on television. In 1959, the recipe was added to the Lipton instant onion soup package, where it remains...... View full recipe for "~ Four Fab Recipes Using Lipton Onion Soup Mix ~"

08/15/2022

~ The Lipton 1954 Classic French Onion Dip Recipe ~

Lipton's Classic French Onion Dip. It's made from one packet of Lipton's boxed French Onion Soup Mix stirred into one 16-ounce container of sour cream This beloved all-American flavor-infused concoction is meant as a dip for potato chips and vegetables -- it deserves to be served with a sense of pride. The packed contains a mix of dehydrated onion, onion powder and other herbs and seasonings, which can be used to flavor burgers, meatloaf and roasted potatoes too. From California Dip in 1954 to French Onion Dip in 1960 -- Lipton cornered the market on it. It's said to have...... View full recipe for "~ The Lipton 1954 Classic French Onion Dip Recipe ~"