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


~Cinnamon-Swirl Turkey, Apple & Apple Butter Panini~

Do you need a fancy-schmancy panini press to make a panini sandwich? No, you don't. Simply place your sandwich in a grill pan and place a heavy (cast-iron works great) skillet on top and you'll get the similar results, except, unlike cooking on a panini press, you will have to stop to flip the sandwich over half way through the process. Don't have a grill pan either? Worry not. Use a nonstick skillet with a cast iron skillet on top. As long as the sandwich is pressed, you can still call it a panini -- even without the grill marks....... View full recipe for "~Cinnamon-Swirl Turkey, Apple & Apple Butter Panini~"


~ Sausage & Egg w/Cheddar, Apple & Apple Butter ~

Can one ever have too many breakfast sandwich recipes? The answer is an unequivocal, hell no. A sweet sausage patty with a fried, poached or scrambled egg and a slice of yellow American cheese served on thick-sliced Texas-type toast, a gnarly bagel, a craggy-edged nook-and-crannied English muffin, or a flaky buttery biscuit is one of my year-round favorite ways to start the day. It's safe to assume it's a favorite with most of America too, as all breakfast-all-day drive-through fast-food joints and all-night sit-down-at-the-counter diners serve some version of a sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. It's hard to compete...... View full recipe for "~ Sausage & Egg w/Cheddar, Apple & Apple Butter ~"


~ Grilled Ham-on-Rye w/Cheddar, Apple and Arugula ~

Can one ever have too many grilled cheese-type sandwich recipes? The answer is an unequivocal no. High-quality, super-thin-sliced deli-ham on caraway-seeded rye is one of my favorite sandwiches. Crispy, thin-sliced apples with a chunk of white or yellow cheddar cheese is one of my favorite snacks. As a fan of sweet and savory combinations, when I combine the two with a slather of apple butter and some delicate, slightly-peppery greens in between, magic happens. It's perfect for Fall. It's simple, straightforward and uncomplicated 'wichcraft. It's simple, straightforward & uncomplicated 'witchcraft. For two sandwiches: 4 tablespoons salted butter 4 slices caraway-seeded...... View full recipe for "~ Grilled Ham-on-Rye w/Cheddar, Apple and Arugula ~"


~ Hungarian Gulyás: Beef, Vegetable & Paprika Soup ~

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


~ Lemon-Dressed Arugula, Watermelon & Feta Salad ~

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


~ My Pennsylvania Deutsch-Style Beef Noodle Soup ~

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


~ A Simpler Straightforward No-Nonsense Beef Stock ~

The case for making homemade beef stock is easy to make. Store-bought beef stock, with the exception of one or two brands, all too often has a medicinal smell and taste. That said, store-bought stock does have a place in my pantry and plays a part in recipes that don't rely on it as one of the main components. For those "special" recipes, homemade beef stock is always on-hand in my freezer to insure I'm never in danger of compromising my end result. This time-saving recipe is my all-purpose recipe. In 5 minutes it's simmering on the stovetop and results...... View full recipe for "~ A Simpler Straightforward No-Nonsense Beef Stock ~"


~ Old-Fashioned Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes ~

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


~ The Perfectly-Seasoned 16-Minute Broiled Burger ~

On busy weeknights, or when I'm just plain pressed for time, popping a flank steak, a couple of pork blade steaks, or a few burgers under the broiler frees up my hands and some time to set the table, toss a salad or fix a side-dish and collect a couple of condiments. In exactly 18-, 22- or 16-minutes respectively (17 minutes if we want cheeseburgers), dinner is on its way to the table. To those who contend that broiling is not the ideal method for cooking any of the above, I say "poppycock". Position the oven rack 5 1/2"-6" underneath...... View full recipe for " ~ The Perfectly-Seasoned 16-Minute Broiled Burger ~"


~My Copycat Primanti Brothers Pitts-burger Sandwich~

On occasion I go to Pittsburgh. Just like every city there's plenty of sights to see, entertainment to be had, and, of course, lots of food. While Pittsburgh offers its share of show-offy fine-dining experiences, The Steel City, in my opinion, is known more for its blue collar, working man's fare. One of the most well-known, and most popular examples is Primanti Brothers -- trendsetters in sandwich making since 1933. When in Pittsburgh, you'll also notice that eating "alla Primanti's", "in-the-style Primanti's" (huge, overstuffed sandwiches topped with slaw and fries) surrounds you. Now a chain, the original shop is located...... View full recipe for "~My Copycat Primanti Brothers Pitts-burger Sandwich~"


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

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


~Hoagies, Heros, Grinders & Submarine Sandwiches~

Me on any given day. Grab two slices of super-fresh bread. Layer of some thin-sliced meat and cheese on top of one of them. Add, almost always, a slice of onion and tomato along with a leafy green, plop the top on it, and, I'm in sandwich heaven. When asked what food I couldn't live without, the sandwich is always my answer. 'Tis true, I can slap almost anything between two slices of bread, slather it with some sort of a spread, sauce or dressing and make it taste really, really good. On days when I swap out the bread...... View full recipe for "~Hoagies, Heros, Grinders & Submarine Sandwiches~"


~ Mel's Bone-Suckin' Copycat-McRib & Onion Subs ~

On those rare occasions when McDonald's returns the McRib to its menu for a limited time, I'm not ashamed, well maybe a little ashamed, to admit to making the pilgrimage to the golden arches drive thru. For the ten or twelve minutes it takes to sit in the parking lot and eat it with a side of fries and a diet Coke, I lock my nutritional conscience in the glove compartment and indulge in what I believe to be their greatest achievement. Perhaps the "blush would come off the rose" if it were available whenever I wanted one, and, "if...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Bone-Suckin' Copycat-McRib & Onion Subs ~"


~South African Steak, Stilton & Peppadew Mayo Subs~

The addictive Peppadew pepper is one of my favorite things. I first encountered them at a cocktail party at a friend and neighbor's home a few years ago. Everyone was asked to bring an appetizer. A couple who hailed from South Africa brought a plate of antipasto. I asked if the peppers were hot. The answer, which came to me complete with a lovely South African-British accent, was "it'twill be a pleasant, sweet-heat". That, is how I fell in love with the Peppadew. Peppadew is a brand name for a small, pickled red pepper, resemblant of a grape-tomato, known as...... View full recipe for "~South African Steak, Stilton & Peppadew Mayo Subs~"


~ Sweet, Succulent & Snowy-White King Crab Subs ~

When I was growing up, in addition to the deli-meat and cheese, on any given trip to the grocery store, my mom would purchase a container of creamy krab (not a typo) salad. At home, she'd scoop it onto cottony-soft 'burger rolls, open a bag of Wise potato chips, and lunch was served. As far as childhood memories for preprepared at the deli-counter salads or side-dishes go*, this store-bought mixture of imitation krab meat, mayo, lemon and paprika, was the singular mayo-based item that ever made it into our grocery cart. Why? Neither my mother or father cared one bit...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet, Succulent & Snowy-White King Crab Subs ~"


~ Batter-Dipped Buffalo Chicken & Blue Cheese Subs ~

In case you haven't noticed, I have my own way of going about all things culinary. I'm not apprehensive about experimenting within reason, am not afraid of failure, although I hate it when it happens, and, I'm more than willing to play around with a recipe until I get it exactly where I want it to be. Yes, I'm picky like that. I'm not big into dieting, never have been and never needed to, but, I refuse to swallow one calorie unless it represents scrumptious taste and pleasurable texture. In the case of my version of the all-too-often greasy-soggy-mess of...... View full recipe for "~ Batter-Dipped Buffalo Chicken & Blue Cheese Subs ~"


~ Not Your Mama's Chicken-Parm Garlic-Bread Subs ~

Interestingly, I am not one who believes chicken parmesan, or "chicken parm" as it is affectionately referred to, should be slapped between two slices of bread and eaten like a sandwich. I simply prefer it on a plate with pasta and a side of garlic bread -- I feel the same way about meatballs. AND, along the same lines and in the same manner that meatballs got taken away from spaghetti and transitioned to the incredible, edible Italian-American meatball sub, many folks, a few of them in my own family, do not subscribe to my opinion on this point. Pollo...... View full recipe for "~ Not Your Mama's Chicken-Parm Garlic-Bread Subs ~"


~ Tex-Mex Chipotle Beef and Chorizo Meatball Subs ~

Who doesn't love a meatball sandwich -- I know I do. Besides a high-quality roll, a well-constructed meatball sub only requires three components: tender meatballs, a great melting cheese and a savory sauce. Culinarily, the meatball sandwich is, understandably and correctly, associated with Italian-American fare, with meatballs being a spinoff of meatloaf, which is an all-American invention. In turn, my Southwestern-Style meatballs, are a spinoff of my Mexican-style beef and chorizo meatloaf (but should not be confused with Mexican albóndigas (albóndiga is the word for meatball in Spanish), which contain rice, not a bread product, as a binder. It's worth...... View full recipe for "~ Tex-Mex Chipotle Beef and Chorizo Meatball Subs ~"


~Brownbag it with Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Subs~

Whether you're sending kids back to school in a few days, looking for something different to lunch on at your office computer, or yeah baby, a sandwich that will be the hit of your next tailgate party -- this sub has got your back. It's on my short-list of most-popular in-my-house-made deli-style hoagie- submarine-type sandwiches. It's extremely easy-to-make and user-friendly too. Chop and toss the ingredients together in a bowl, stuff 'em into a sub roll just before eating, then go to town. It's akin to feasting on a tuna sub, only full of classic Caesar salad flavors and textures....... View full recipe for "~Brownbag it with Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Subs~"


~Lighten Up w/a Refreshing Tuna-Mac Garden Salad~

Occasionally, on a day off or a Saturday, my dad would fix his version of tuna salad for us. On mom's medium-sized meat platter, he'd make a bed of soft garden lettuce leaves, then add a layer of tomato slices followed by a sliced cucumber. He'd scatter a lightly-drained can of chilled tuna-packed-in-oil over the veggies, followed by a few dollops of cottage cheese. His creation ended with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Mom would make some rye toast, put a pitcher of iced tea on the table and lunch was served. It wasn't fancy, but our family...... View full recipe for "~Lighten Up w/a Refreshing Tuna-Mac Garden Salad~"


~Tuna Salad w/Cottage Cheese, Tomato & Cucumber~

I picked a cucumber this morning. I walked to the the other side of the vegetable garden and picked a couple of tomatoes too. Checking out the vegetable garden in the early hours of the day, as soon as it's light enough to see, is part of my routine. My dad used to do the same thing. He'd come in the house, rinse off whatever he'd picked, put all the "stuff" in the dish drainer, then go out to mow the grass. Dad thrived on his routines, and, sans the lawn mower, so do I. While carrying my cucumber and...... View full recipe for "~Tuna Salad w/Cottage Cheese, Tomato & Cucumber~"


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

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


~ Adding Olives to Mexican or Mexican-Style Dishes ~

Olives in Mexican food? It's controversial. So-called experts will flatly state that olives in Mexican food make the dish Spanish, not Mexican, meaning "don't". That said, with some of the largest concentrations of green olive trees in the world being located in regions throughout Mexico, areas bordering Texas, and, the Guadalupe Valley in Northern Baja California, common sense would and should lead one (it did me) to a different conclusion, meaning, if you are an olive lover, "go for it". Just know, a Mexican dish you added olives to can't be peddled as "authentic" or "classic" Mexican" -- olives render...... View full recipe for "~ Adding Olives to Mexican or Mexican-Style Dishes ~"


~Greek-Style Chopped-Salad w/Red Wine Vinaigrette~

When tomatoes and cucumbers are ripe for the picking, small side-salads accompany our dinner almost every evening. Our seasonal herbs du jour always determine what cuisine-style I'll lean toward -- dill for Eastern European, basil for Italian, thyme for French, cilantro for Tex-Mex, and, oregano for Greek. Once that's decided, the cuisine-appropriate embellishments easily fall into place. It's a pretty straightforward process, but, no matter what I decide, my all-purpose super-easy-to-make red wine vinaigrette pulls it all together -- you'll rarely find my refrigerator without it. This refreshing relish-esque salad, goes great with grilled chicken, any type of steak, pork...... View full recipe for "~Greek-Style Chopped-Salad w/Red Wine Vinaigrette~"


~Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Cocktail w/Lemon Dip~

How much would you pay for this in an upscale restaurant? About $8.00 as an appetizer? Perhaps $12.00 as a lunch entrée? Both sound fare to me, but, truth told, this small plate of happiness is so good I'd happily pay more. 'Tis true, rake my shrimp cocktail over some hot coals and I'll follow you anywhere -- and pay a tidy sum for it too. Add a few slices of grilled bread, uncork a bottle of white wine, and invite a few guests to join you too -- it's that impressive. For the pucker-up lemon sauce for seafood or...... View full recipe for "~Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Cocktail w/Lemon Dip~"


~ Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette ~

A salad without lettuce? There's no law against it, and, in the case of this salad, lettuce is just in the way. The combination of tender blanched asparagus, a few halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and, small, creamy, fresh mozzarella balls drizzled with a lemon-balsamic vinaigrette is to-die-for. The only item I do add to it on occasion is: a handful of crunchy croutons. Nothing more, nothing less. No other embellishments need apply. The dressing, loaded with lemon flavor and laced with subtle herbs de Provence, is the star of this salad show, so, don't stray from this flavor profile....... View full recipe for "~ Asparagus Salad with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette ~"


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

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


~Three Great Tips for Making the Perfect Pasta Salad~

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


~ Greek Pasta Salad w/Tapenade, Tuna and Tomato ~

Americans cherish the Summer. The deck chairs come out, the cooler fills with ice, the shorts go on, everyone slides into their flip-flops, and then, spends as much time in the fresh air and sunshine as possible. Some play sports while others garden, some like to swim while others prefer to sun bathe, but, each and every one loves to eat -- and a forkful of food simply tastes better in the great outdoors. Here in the Northeast, the land of four seasons, Summer has finally arrived and I'm kicking it off with a refreshing, main-dish pasta salad that is...... View full recipe for "~ Greek Pasta Salad w/Tapenade, Tuna and Tomato ~"


~Bacon, Lettuce,Tapenade & Chicken Club Sandwich~

There is nothing quite as satisfying as a BLT or a club sandwich, made with a just-picked perfectly-ripe tomato. Tick, tock. It is going be an impatient two-month wait for my own or any locally-grown tomatoes to be at my fingertips, so, hold-that-beautiful-thought, give pause to the beloved tomato for a moment, and allow me to change the conversation: there is another tart fruit to consider. It's the brine-cured olive, and, in the form of tapenade, a Mediterranean relish-type condiment, there is no reason to compromise your BLT with a not-at-its-peak tomato. Try a BLT or Club w/my tapenade instead...... View full recipe for "~Bacon, Lettuce,Tapenade & Chicken Club Sandwich~"


~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~

My pantry and/or refrigerator are never without a can or two of inexpensive, mild-flavored ripe, black olives and a big jar of tangy green pimiento-stuffed olives too. Throughout the year, I toss either one or both, whole into garden salads, or, slice and use them to top an occasional pizza. That said, at the end of a long Summer's day, there is nothing like a well-chilled cocktail out on the deck with a salty snack to nibble on. A cracker or two with a slather of soft brie or chèvre topped with a dollop of tapenade is a favorite, but,...... View full recipe for "~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~"


~Smoked Ham and Asparagus in a Béarnaise Quiche~

Every once in a while (not often, but it does happen) you'll come across a recipe that goes from ordinary to extraordinary by using a store-bought, instead of a scratch-made, dry sauce or seasoning packet. This is one such recipe. While it is next-to-impossible to make a quiche using scratch-made hollandaise or béarnaise sauce (in place of the typical whisked cream and egg mixture used to prepare a quiche), because either will breakdown in a hearts-beat or three, it is possible to add a dry, high-quality, store-bought, hollandaise or or béarnaise sauce-mix to season and enrich the cream and egg...... View full recipe for "~Smoked Ham and Asparagus in a Béarnaise Quiche~"


~ Five Ways to Enjoy Slovak-Style Stuffed Cabbage ~

When it comes to making cabbage rolls, like meatloaf or meatballs, most cuisines have a traditional recipe for them, and, all make use of on-hand ingredients. For instance: If they live in an area suited for raising sheep, lamb is in their cabbage rolls. If they live in a climate where vegetables grow year round, you'll find veggies like bell peppers and chunky tomatoes in them. I will, however, go out on a limb and state: when I say "cabbage roll", you should say "Eastern European", because that is the cuisine they're hands-down most commonly associated with. Known as holubki...... View full recipe for "~ Five Ways to Enjoy Slovak-Style Stuffed Cabbage ~"


~Slovak Vegetarian Cabbage & Tomato Lover's Soup~

I come from a long line of cabbage lovers. Known as kapusta in Eastern European inner circles, a week rarely passes that cabbage doesn't make it's way onto the dinner table in some form. Like my mother, the vegetable bin of my refrigerator is rarely without a head of green cabbage in it. Braised cabbage and carrots and butter-braised cabbage with egg noodles were two of our family's favorite side-dishes. Mom's stuffed cabbage rolls (made on the stovetop or in the crockpot) and my grandmother's stuffed cabbage soup with mini-meatballs (or with ground beef and rice) were two of our...... View full recipe for "~Slovak Vegetarian Cabbage & Tomato Lover's Soup~"


~ Slovak Unstuffed-Cabbage Stew with Beef & Rice ~

While I was growing up and thru to today, my mother's stuffed cabbage rolls (made on the stovetop or in the crockpot) and my grandmother's stuffed cabbage soup with mini-meatballs were two of our family's favorite main-dish meals. The latter is the easier of the two ways to bring this traditional Eastern European comfort food to the table, but, I am here to tell you, there is a third, even easier method: Stir sautéed and nicely-seasoned ground beef and cooked rice to the easy-to-make cabbage soup base. From start to finish, it's on the table in 45 minutes. That said,...... View full recipe for "~ Slovak Unstuffed-Cabbage Stew with Beef & Rice ~"


~ Slovak-Style Stuffed-Cabbage Soup with Meatballs ~

Known as holubki to me and golabki to many of you, stuffed cabbage rolls are beloved in every Eastern European household. Everyone makes them a bit differently, with the constants being: ground meat (beef, pork and/or lamb), cooked rice, steamed green cabbage leaves and a tomato-based sauce. Because they are labor-intensive, too often they're reserved for holidays or special occasions. That said, those of us in Eastern European inner-circles know there's another form of this knife-and-fork meal that brings this savory comfort food to the weekday table in half the time. Get out the bowls and spoons and meet my...... View full recipe for "~ Slovak-Style Stuffed-Cabbage Soup with Meatballs ~"


~ An All-Purpose Mexican-Style Soup or Soup Base ~

My kitchen is no different than anyone elses. The cuisine we're in the mood changes from day to day -- Asian, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Jamaican or Texican (to name a few of our favorites). For the past few days, we've been hungry for Tex-Mex, and, like all of our other favorites, having an all-purpose marinade, a seasoning blend or two, along with a sauce for dipping or drizzling, suited specifically to this South-of-the-border flavor profile, makes meal prep easy, not to mention creative and fun. Trust me, any way you cook it, every dish prepared in the home kitchen...... View full recipe for "~ An All-Purpose Mexican-Style Soup or Soup Base ~"


~ Sopa de Albóndigas (Mexican-Style Meatball Soup) ~

Soup with meatballs swimming in it -- it's common in almost all cultures, and, there is a common reason for it too. In the history of food, and throughout all the documented ages, meat was for the wealthy. In spite of that, savvy cooks minced or ground unwanted scraps or lesser cuts of meat and combined them with inexpensive binders like breadcrumbs or rice, a liquid or egg, plus some common-to-the cuisine seasonings. They are to be commended for developing great-tasting meatball recipes which allowed the poorer classes to partake in a diet richer in protein. Albóndigas = meatballs, in...... View full recipe for "~ Sopa de Albóndigas (Mexican-Style Meatball Soup) ~"


~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~

Endicott, NY, is off the beaten path for some, which is why the spiedie sandwich just might be the best sandwich a lot of folks never heard of. The odd part is, growing up with parents who pretty much stuck close to their home in Eastern, PA, as a family we actually made it to New York every now and then, and, everyone in our family, including grandma, loved a spiedie sandwich. It was back in the 1960's, and, I was so young, I didn't even know I was eating an official spiedie. My grandmother, my mom's mother, had a...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Sandwich ~"


~ Texican-Style Pork Steak and Bell Pepper Spiedies ~

My grandmother, my mother's mother, had a close friend who lived in Endicott New York (a village just West of Binghamton). For a period of six-eight years, once every Summer, our family of four plus grandma, arranged ourselves in my dad's all-white, 1960 Dodge Dart Seneca and headed North. It was a very long day (we left early in the morning and returned late in the evening), but just before arriving at our destination, we stopped to eat spiedies for lunch (our hostess made us dinner). Our family, including grandma, loved the classic Italian spiedies in Endicott -- Dad and...... View full recipe for "~ Texican-Style Pork Steak and Bell Pepper Spiedies ~"


~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Corned Beef Sandwiches ~

Everyone I know associates corned beef and cabbage with St. Patrick's Day, but, tick-tock, I'd rather show up a day or two later for a corned beef sandwich. Truth told, Joe and I like corned beef sandwiches enough for me to buy corned beef a few times a year. That said, I typically don't serve them Rueben-style (with the 'kraut). We two prefer to eat ours made grilled-cheese-style with a big scoop of Russian- or Thousand Islands-dressed potato salad or cole slaw to the side. Having made Rachel sandwiches for our green-for-a-day holiday, I was thrilled to find corned beef...... View full recipe for "~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Corned Beef Sandwiches ~"


~ The Secret's in the Slaw Rachel-on-Rye Sandwich ~

I crave a Reuben sandwich once or twice a year. The Rachel sandwich, on the other hand, is: standard operating procedure in my kitchen. My refrigerator is rarely without some super-thin sliced deli turkey breast and/or pastrami, and, my favorite Lacey Swiss cheese -- it often has a container of semi-homemade or deli-style coleslaw in it too. That means, with a slice or two of lightly-toasted Jewish-style rye bread, a Racheal sandwich is only a few short minutes away. When I crave a Reuben sandwich, I'm more inclined to make one or all of the components from scratch: bake a...... View full recipe for "~ The Secret's in the Slaw Rachel-on-Rye Sandwich ~"


~Russian Dressing & How it Differs from 1000 Islands~

It's almost understandable why most home cooks don't know what the difference between Russian and Thousand Islands dressing is, but, it's head-scratchingly odd that many restaurant chefs don't. Truth told, when I order a Rueben or a Rachel sandwich, one dressing or the other, whichever is offered, will do nicely -- they're both favorites of mine. That said, when a menu states Russian dressing, I expect Russian dressing and vice versa. These two condiments, while they can be used interchangeably as a matter of preference, are not interchangeable. While Russian dressing is not Russian, it is a compilation of ingredients...... View full recipe for "~Russian Dressing & How it Differs from 1000 Islands~"


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

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


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

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


~ Secrets to the Italian-American Sausage Sandwich ~

Whether one is at the ballpark, a carnival, or entering a shopping mall, one can't help but notice the line in front of the vendor selling Italian sausage sandwiches. Hot-off-the-griddle, a succulent link of sweet or hot sausage on a medium-textured Italian roll, heaped with a savory mélange of griddle-sautéed peppers and onions: it's next to impossible to resist. If you've ever eaten one, you've also noticed they taste immensely better than the majority of home-grilled versions. Why is this? Read on, and "don't knock it until you've tried it", so, criticize this post with caution. The best technique for...... View full recipe for "~ Secrets to the Italian-American Sausage Sandwich ~"


~ Creamy & Chunky Chicken & Mushroom Chowder ~

Whether it be a quick-to-make brothy soup or a long-simmered thick stew, a steamy-hot cup or a whole damned bowl of either is my idea of the ideal take-a-break and sit-down-to-eat meal. Add a handful of cooked noodles or rice and I'm as happy as a clam. Speaking of clams brings chunky chowder to mind, and, every time I make chowder, I ask the same question, "why don't I make this more often?" I love everything about it, right down to the little crackers that get crumbled in. Chowder is a rich soup chocked full of chunky-chopped protein and vegetables....... View full recipe for "~ Creamy & Chunky Chicken & Mushroom Chowder ~"


~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. A double-whammy of calories and carbohydrates are going on our dinner table tonight. Why? Because eating spaghetti and meatballs without a great big basket of garlic bread on the table is, gulp, culinarily criminal. We'll have a salad too, because it too goes great with this meal (not because it's healthy or to make me feel less guilty). Everybody knows spaghetti and meatballs require garlic bread, a salad and a bottle of red wine. Garlic bread isn't Italian. Neither is spaghetti & meatballs. While many regard spaghetti & meatballs as quintessential Italian, the...... View full recipe for "~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~"


~ Mel's Great-Big Cauliflower Pizza Crust Experiment ~

In crust I trust, but, in the case of the two bloatedly-overpriced-at-almost-$9.00 cauliflower pizza crusts I purchased (on a whim just to get a taste-in-my-mouth for what all the buzz is about), I'd rather eat cardboard. In my food world, in order to avoid eating compromising crap, I eat less of the things I love before cutting-back on carbs, or worse, cutting-out gluten completely. "Once you get used to them, they're pretty good", is not a retort to my comments, so stuff it. The only way to justify this type of ingredient-specific-deprivation requires a diagnosis from a doctor. My great...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Great-Big Cauliflower Pizza Crust Experiment ~"


~ Quick as the Craving for Cream of Cauliflower Soup ~

January is National Soup Month, and, the cauliflower in my grocery stores is gorgeous right now. Do the math: soup + cauliflower = cauliflower soup -- more specifically, a savory, smooth, satisfying soup that can be made in about thirty minutes. I simply stop there, and so should you because it's full-of-flavor and fantastic as is, with a humble parsley garnish floating on top, so, oh-my-sigh, no cheese please, and, believe it or not, not everything tastes better with bits of bacon. How much is in a head of cauliflower? How much should I buy? Mother Nature did not have...... View full recipe for "~ Quick as the Craving for Cream of Cauliflower Soup ~"