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

02/01/2016

~Bok Choy w/Ginger, Garlic, Mushrooms & Noodles~

Eat your vegetables. No problem. I've always loved vegetables. Granted, I typically like some form of protein with or in my veggies, but, every once in a while, an all-veg meal is AOK with me. This is one of them, and, it's one of the quickest, easiest meals you will ever make. Cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable, is one I grew up eating, but, until I was thirty-something, it came to my table via round green or red heads. Thanks to publications like Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and Gourmet magazine, I began experimenting with recipes for Chinese bok choy (an...... View full recipe for "~Bok Choy w/Ginger, Garlic, Mushrooms & Noodles~"

01/29/2016

~ Sauerkraut Yesterday -- Sauerkraut Cakes Today ~

I'm feeling brave today. I'm going to share an intriguing recipe for sauerkraut that even some of you fermented-cabbage lovers might not know about: 'kraut cakes. These are the cabbage world's version of the potato pancake, and its cousin, the mashed potato cake -- recipes that hail from our Eastern European ancestors (necessity-driven, inventive cooks who knew how to stretch and transform leftover 'this or that' into a delicious new meal). Pair these up with some pan-fried kielbasa coins, a bit of brown mustard and/or a bowl of warm applesauce to the side and you've got a 30-minute-or-less, winner-winner, 'kraut-cake...... View full recipe for "~ Sauerkraut Yesterday -- Sauerkraut Cakes Today ~"

01/22/2016

~ Nana's Bare Bones PA Deutsch Chicken Pot Pie ~

I've never lived outside of the great state of Pennsylvania. I was born and raised in Eastern, PA, the Lehigh Valley region, which has a large Pennsylvania Dutch community. For the past forty years, I've lived here in Central Pennsylvania, which has a large Amish population. In both farm cultures, pot pie isn't just a meal -- it's a relaxed, comforting, "pull-up-a-chair and join us for dinner" way of life. Lucky am I to have learned how to make both styles of pot-pie. Recipes do vary from cook to cook, and, yes there are cross-overs of both versions as people...... View full recipe for "~ Nana's Bare Bones PA Deutsch Chicken Pot Pie ~"

01/09/2016

~ Chicken, Cheddar and Chimichurri Veggie Patties ~

This time of year, a lot of people are looking to cut back on carbs, increase lo-fat protein and add a lot of vegetables to their diet. I know because a lot of recipe requests are coming across my desk. The first time I ate a chicken patty that I liked (I tend to refer to burger-type thingies as patties when they are cooked in a skillet and burgers when they are cooked on the grill), it was at my friend Kathy's house. Hers were Asian (as is she) and she served them with egg-drop soup. I asked her what...... View full recipe for "~ Chicken, Cheddar and Chimichurri Veggie Patties ~"

01/06/2016

~ Steak, Peppers & Cheddar Chimichurri Omelette ~

I won't lie, I don't love steak and eggs for breakfast. I don't hate it, I just like bacon, sausage or ham better in the morning. That said, I do like a steak omelette for dinner. In fact, it's one of my favorite 'breakfast for dinner' meals. Don't try to psychoanalyze this -- it makes no sense. Let's move on. I'm making breakfast for dinner today, and, it's going to be a great steak omelette full of peppers, onions and cheddar topped with my homemade chimichurri sauce. There's more. Think twice about crowding the plate with toasted bread and fried...... View full recipe for "~ Steak, Peppers & Cheddar Chimichurri Omelette ~"

12/20/2015

~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~

Yes Virginia, there is more than one way to make an omelette, especially if you are cooking breakfast or brunch for a crowd. The Denver omelette in particular, which is a festive-looking Southwestern omelette that is loaded with lots of smoky diced ham, bell peppers, onions and grated cheddar cheese, once the ingredients are diced, which takes about 10 minutes, transitions from making omelettes one-at-a-time to one crowd-pleasing casserole so easily, if you're like me, it's going to end up at or near the top of your go-to AM casserole recipes list. Here's my photo of ~ My Kinda Cowboy...... View full recipe for "~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~"

12/12/2015

~ A Rustic Wintertime Chicken & Mushroom Risotto ~

Sometimes you just know when you've got to to slow down, take a step back, and, allow your mind to unwind. Today is that day. 'Tis the busiest time of year and I need a bit of stress-relieving "kitchen therapy". What's on the agenda for my self-imposed holiday from the world? An afternoon of movies on my kitchen TV, a glass or three of wine, and, cooking a nice and slow, laid-back pot of my favorite rich, creamy and comforting chicken risotto for dinner. "There are no two ways to make risotto. Either you make it right or it is...... View full recipe for "~ A Rustic Wintertime Chicken & Mushroom Risotto ~"

12/07/2015

~ Dad's Mac & Cheese, or: What I Cook Just for Me ~

This isn't the recipe I planned to post today, but, it's what I'm cooking today, so, why not take a few photos along the way and type a few words too -- it's easy for me to do. Joe is traveling, so, what I eat on this day is all about me, and coincidentally, while entertaining some friends on Saturday, I got asked, "when you're not cooking for the blog or TV, what do you cook just for you?" It's not the first time I've been asked this, and, my answer is always the same: "Most times I just make...... View full recipe for "~ Dad's Mac & Cheese, or: What I Cook Just for Me ~"

12/04/2015

~ Breadcrumbs, Butter, Garlic + Shrimp 'de Jonghe' ~

Chances are, if you have never been to Chicago, you have never heard of shrimp de Jonghe -- it's virtually unknown outside of the windy city. Dating back to the late 19th Century, it is said to be one of the city's oldest "gastonomic glories" -- in Chicago it's an immortal institution. Close your eyes and conjure up an image of a plate of succulent, jumbo shrimp bathed in a rich herb-butter, sherry and garlic sauce, topped with the most divine, golden, homemade French breadcrumbs and doused with few generous squirts of fresh lemon juice. Tres magnifique! Invented by Belgian-born...... View full recipe for "~ Breadcrumbs, Butter, Garlic + Shrimp 'de Jonghe' ~"

11/02/2015

~ Mrs. Varga's Evolving Hungarian Paprikas Recipe ~

Although limited, my encounters with Hungarian cuisine have all been good ones, and, to the best of my knowledge, authentic too. While my family is not Hungarian, we are Eastern European (of the Slovakian type), which means the food of other Eastern European countries, generally speaking, appeals to our appetites. Thanks to a recipe my mom got from a Hungarian co-worker, she made really good Hungarian "goulyas". As for paprikas, that's a recipe I got from my current neighbor Gabriella's mother (both of whom immigrated from Hungary to the USA in the 1950's). A copy of Gizella Varga's paprikas was...... View full recipe for "~ Mrs. Varga's Evolving Hungarian Paprikas Recipe ~"

10/23/2015

~ Baked Ziti Casserole w/Sausage & Four Cheeses ~

Do you have a favorite casserole recipe? You know "the one". The one your family loves, the one you take to potluck, the one you donate to a good cause, the one you give to a sick friend -- the one you've made so many times you've got the recipe committed to memory. Every really good cook or chef, of any level, will be the first to admit they have at least two or three "go to" casserole recipes in their repertoire. I'm no exception and this one is at the top of my short list. When it comes to...... View full recipe for "~ Baked Ziti Casserole w/Sausage & Four Cheeses ~"

10/18/2015

~Beer & Brown-Sugar Braised Kielbasa Sandwiches~

I don't crave kielbasa. I just don't. That said, if it's put in front of me, I won't turn my nose up at it. It was a bigger part of my life as a kid. If you are born into an Eastern European family, standing around watching your dad or one of your uncles make kielbasa is a form of entertainment. Each has their own special blend but all turn out a really tasty end product -- some are coarse-textured and on the dryer side, others are fine-textured and moister, but none are like the mass-manufactured, vacuum-packed bologna-textured products found...... View full recipe for "~Beer & Brown-Sugar Braised Kielbasa Sandwiches~"

10/01/2015

~ Justified: Carnitas w/o a Big Butt & a Vat of Lard ~

When it comes to cooking, if the end justifies the means, I am all for breaking the rules -- as long as no one gets hurt and the end result is not compromised. Carnitas is the Mexican version of American pulled pork. I love one as much as I do the other, and, while neither are hard to make, the process to do either authentically is cumbersome -- handling huge hunks of porky porcine is not my idea of hog heaven. I also have no desire to build a Southern barbecue pit to smoke a pig, or invest in a...... View full recipe for "~ Justified: Carnitas w/o a Big Butt & a Vat of Lard ~"

09/24/2015

~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~

Excuse me, I'm just going to go ahead and eat this fish taco while you all argue over what constitutes a perfect fish taco and its toppings -- deep-fried vs. pan-fried (sometimes grilled), corn tortilla vs. flour tortilla, green slaw vs. red slaw, pico de gallo vs. salsa, and, crema vs. sour cream. My favorite fish taco, as long as it is well-balanced in both flavor and texture, is the one that is in front of me, and, the first one I ever ate was so good I've declined to debate this issue with anyone -- if you bring it...... View full recipe for "~ Beer-Batter-Dipped, Deep-Fried, Cod-Fish Tacos ~"

09/04/2015

~Go Back to School: One-Skillet Chicken Parmesan~

I do not miss getting up with the birds to get three kids off to school. That said, on Tuesday morning, 7:45AM on-the-dot, when I'm laying in bed and I hear the brakes squeal on the school bus, at the school bus stop across the street and just outside our bedroom window, I won't be able to not reminisce about how much I do not miss the organized, orchestrated, whirlwind chaos. School shopping, lunches, after-school activities, fund-raisers, homework, playtime, bedtime -- and, of course, getting a really good meal on the dinner table in the midst of it all. Lot's...... View full recipe for "~Go Back to School: One-Skillet Chicken Parmesan~"

08/19/2015

~ For the Times When Ya Just Gotta Have Piccata ~

Lemon and Pepper Seasoning has been on my spice rack for as long as I've had my spice rack. The brand I use is a tasty blend of black pepper, sea salt, sugar, dehydrated lemon peel, garlic, onion and citric acid (which gives it its signature tang and "pop"). I'm certain I could mix up my own blend, but, I like the stuff I use too much to bother. It's a great seasoning for cooked or steamed vegetables -- I particularly like it tossed into broccoli, cauliflower or Summer squash. It's excellent judiciously incorporated into mild-flavored protein dishes too --...... View full recipe for "~ For the Times When Ya Just Gotta Have Piccata ~"

08/11/2015

~ Broiled Wild Sea Scallops w/Broiled Brown Butter ~

I am here today to report scallop abuse. Over the weekend I ordered pan-seared sea scallops in a restaurant. I was less than impressed -- overcooked on the outside, undercooked on the inside. It was disheartening because they were really big and beautiful, and, I never relish sending a dish back to the kitchen in any establishment -- ever. That said, as one who knows a thing or three about cooking scallops, I do get somewhat upset when a restaurant chef doesn't know, or hasn't taken the time to teach the person in charge of cooking the scallops, how to...... View full recipe for "~ Broiled Wild Sea Scallops w/Broiled Brown Butter ~"

07/24/2015

~ Succulent Crockpot Apple 'n Onion Pulled-Pork ~

As much as I adore all the fruits and veggies Joe grows, from mid-July until end of September, the quantities of produce I have to process can get overwhelming. This is a "that's the facts Jack" statement of truth, not a complaint. At present, my culinary focus is on eating what we can of the daily harvest and preserving as much of the rest as humanly possible for our cold-weather enjoyment. It's no secret, I've never been a crockpot kinda gal, but, over the past few years I've mellowed. I've made peace with mine. I've learned: a crockpot can be...... View full recipe for "~ Succulent Crockpot Apple 'n Onion Pulled-Pork ~"

07/15/2015

~ Butter-Browned & Broiled BBQ'd Chicken Thighs ~

Real-deal outdoor-grilled chicken, the bone-in kind, juicy on the inside with crispy skin on the outside, all slathered in sweet and savory barbecue sauce, served with a crisp green salad full of garden-ripe tomatoes and a cob of in-season sweet corn -- this is perhaps my favorite Summertime meal. I fantasize about it -- I don't care who grills it, if I'm invited, I'm showing up. The bar I've set for my ideal grilled chicken with barbecue sauce is high, but make no mistake, I'm completely capable of making a perfectly-good version under less than ideal circumstances -- indoors. In...... View full recipe for "~ Butter-Browned & Broiled BBQ'd Chicken Thighs ~"

06/11/2015

~ Thai Turkey Patties & w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~

Americans do not require an excuse to indulge in a thick, juicy 'burger, complete with a slathering of sauce, and/or few savory toppings served on the perfect bun. We will hike, bike or drive to our favorite joint to eat one. We've declared May, National Burger Month, and, May 28th, National Burger Day. We adore them. That said, have you ever wondered: when does a burger turn into a patty? What's the difference between a patty and a cake? Aren't they all one-and-the same? In my opinion (and probably yours too), it depends where you grew up. In my neck...... View full recipe for "~ Thai Turkey Patties & w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~"

06/06/2015

~ Know the Pros & 'Cons' of Ground Turkey vs Beef ~

Between you and I, Joe and I are not lovers of ground turkey, turkey franks, turkey kielbasa, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, etc. We do, however, love real-deal roast turkey with all the trimmings, and, adore turkey sandwiches. I in particular get really annoyed by television chefs and advertisements that peddle these products as "just as good as" ground beef or pork, sausages and cured bacon products. In my opinion, they are a disparagingly dry, bland, boring "look alike" alternative for folks who can't or won't eat beef or pork. They're usually marketed as being "healthier" or "lighter" -- which, in...... View full recipe for "~ Know the Pros & 'Cons' of Ground Turkey vs Beef ~"

05/19/2015

~Eliot's Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce~

Eliot, our middle son, developed a somewhat serious interest in cooking around the age of fourteen (1985-ish). I allow myself to believe it had something to do with me, but, if there is one thing I have learned over the years it's: you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Not the case with Eliot and cooking. For the most part, he had a natural instinct for combining the right spices with the right ingredients. When he got old enough to take on a Summer job, he became a waiter in an upscale, downtown Italian...... View full recipe for "~Eliot's Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce~"

05/17/2015

~My Mad Men Last Supper Menu: Chicken a la King~

In the 1950's, '60's and '70's, New York City's Madison Avenue was ground zero for the advertising industry -- for almost all of those years, it was an elitist club of all-male executives. These Madison ad men, cavalierly referred to themselves as Mad Men. Unless you've just beamed to earth from another corner of the universe, you know, that for the past six years, Mad Men has been a period drama television series about this business and the bizarre lifestyle of the people working in it. For those lucky enough to remember the realities of this time period, it's a...... View full recipe for "~My Mad Men Last Supper Menu: Chicken a la King~"

04/15/2015

~ Succulent Seafood Newburg Crepes for a Crowd ~

There was an eight-year timespan in my life when I spent every day cooking for a crowd. In mom-speak, it is referred to as "the teenage boy years" and I raised three. During those years, one casserole of anything was not enough -- two was mandatory, and, if I wanted leftovers I made four. On pizza nights, I made six -- big ones. I doubled or tripled every recipe that could be doubled or tripled to accommodate their appetites. I put a second refrigerator in my garage, bought a 24-quart stockpot for my stovetop and a 20-cup food processor for...... View full recipe for "~ Succulent Seafood Newburg Crepes for a Crowd ~"

04/10/2015

~ Seafood Newburg: Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat ~

This sinfully-rich dish of sweet, tender seafood swimming in a silky-smooth cream sauce is one of those quintessential dishes of the latter 1950's, '60's and '70's that sadly, many cooks have forgotten about. Not me. It's one of the first fancy-schmancy restaurant dishes American housewives started making at home because it didn't take a ton of time or a lot skill to prepare from scratch. Then, as with almost anything made with a cream sauce at the time, the cream-of-soup people stuck their two cents in and began to sell cream of shrimp soup -- dumbed down versions began appearing...... View full recipe for "~ Seafood Newburg: Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat ~"

04/03/2015

~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Crockpot Corned Beef ~

It's no secret: my crockpot is my least used kitchen appliance. I don't use it at all unless the end justifies the means without any compromise in the food. Corned beef is one example. My stovetop ~ Braised and Brown Sugar Glazed Corned Beef ~ recipe has been very popular ever since I posted it on the blog-o-sphere (in conjunction with a Kitchen Encounters TV cooking segment) back in 2011. You can get the recipe and watch me cook it too by clicking on the Related Article link below. I assure you, my recipe cooks up the same on the...... View full recipe for "~ My Brown-Sugar-Crusted Crockpot Corned Beef ~"

03/24/2015

~ Tender Chicken Paillards with Mushroom Sauce, or: Southern Smothered Chicken with Mushroom Gravy~

Pick a name, they're both the same, and, whichever you choose, a quick, delicious, chicken dish with a tangy, creamy sauce should be in every cook's recipe box. What amuses me about a great recipe like this is: I can creatively "sell it" to my family and friends in one of two ways -- fancy French restaurant-style or down home country-style. Any recipe that can be served two ways is worth its weight in gold. I can serve this on china with asparagus and a buttery croissant, or, on stoneware with peas and a buttermilk biscuit. Potatoes? Rice? Noodles? No...... View full recipe for "~ Tender Chicken Paillards with Mushroom Sauce, or: Southern Smothered Chicken with Mushroom Gravy~"

03/21/2015

~ All that Jazz Chicken Oscar w/Blender Bearnaise ~

The first time I ate "Oscar" was in 1983 and I was in "The Big Easy". Four of us were sitting in a fancy New Orleans French-Quarter restaurant, Arnoud's, listening to a jazz band and groovin' to the tunes. My meal arrived and it was all sorts of wonderful: a lightly-pounded, gently-sauteed, succulent, fork-tender veal paillard, piled high with tender Louisiana crayfish, drizzled with buttery bearnaise sauce and garnished with steamed asparagus. I was also drinking French 75 cocktails that night (gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar) -- it was a most memorable dinner. After the first bite or two,...... View full recipe for "~ All that Jazz Chicken Oscar w/Blender Bearnaise ~"

02/26/2015

~Succulent Boneless Leg of Lamb w/Creamy au Jus~

Lamb, one of my favorite meats, was an acquired taste. My first encounter with it didn't go well. My grandmother and mother never cooked lamb and I got "blindsided" by it in the third grade. It was my turn to play with Barbie dolls at my girlfriend and neighbor Brenda's house. Next time, she would come to my house -- we did this often, and, it always included the dinner du jour. My Lamb Stew (Irish Stew) Story -- "Those poor orphans!" Brenda's mom was generally a good cook, but on this day, she was cooking something "foreign" to me....... View full recipe for "~Succulent Boneless Leg of Lamb w/Creamy au Jus~"

02/17/2015

~ Aurora's 'Famous' Chicken Pepperoni Seems Like Old Times (Dinner and a Funny Movie Review too!) ~

I've got a movie on my menu tonight. Neil Simon's 'Seems Like Old Times' (starring Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Charles Grodin) is a feel-good blast from my retro 1980's past. I'm not usually a fan of romantic comedies, but, this one keeps me laughing out loud from start to finish every time I see it. It's no secret that in order to write this blog and do my TV segments I work almost nonstop in my kitchen. Having always been a movie buff, movies on my kitchen TV keep me company throughout the entire day. Seems Like Old Times...... View full recipe for "~ Aurora's 'Famous' Chicken Pepperoni Seems Like Old Times (Dinner and a Funny Movie Review too!) ~"

01/17/2015

~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rosemary Turkey Breast ~

When a recipe has the word "perfect" in its title, one had better be certain it is exactly that. In my kitchen, in order for any recipe to make it onto my blog, it must make it through my kitchen three times without glitches. Yes, unlike plenty of other cooking blogs, my recipes are not only tested, they are tested three times before I place them in your capable hands. I take testing very seriously, and, once is not enough. In the case of roasting poulty and meat, many times, three times is not enough. For example, I tested this...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rosemary Turkey Breast ~"

01/14/2015

~ Basque in a Spanish Breakfast: Huevos Rotos con Chistorra y Potatas (Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes) ~

Put your big boy pants on. Put bigger pants on. This stick-to-your-ribs hard-working hungry-man's one-skillet breakfast contains a days worth of full-flavored tongue-tingling calories. It's got it all -- fried eggs, fried potatoes, fried sausage, and sometimes, even a talo (tortilla) too. Hailing from the high mountainous Navarre regions of Spain, also known sa Basque country, this is a dish of humble origin, poor-man's food. "Huevos rotos" literally means "broken eggs", so it should come as no surprise that the eggs have a soft, runny texture. Nowadays, it's mostly served in homes for celebrations or holidays, but, it's found on...... View full recipe for "~ Basque in a Spanish Breakfast: Huevos Rotos con Chistorra y Potatas (Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes) ~"

01/09/2015

~ January "White Out" White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~

Oh baby it's cold outside -- several degrees below zero cold here in Happy Valley. Even if the sun does comes out, the temperatures aren't going to tempt me into venturing outside into the swirling tornado of white snow whirling around on my back porch, thanks in part to the snow machines running full throttle up on the Tussy Mountain Ski Slope (almost in my backyard). Staying indoors is on my agenda, and, I am not alone. The better portion of the entire Northeast is in this deep-freeze with me. I can't be the only one dreaming of a bowl...... View full recipe for "~ January "White Out" White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~"

01/06/2015

~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rack of Berkshire Pork ~

There are pork roasts and then there are pork roasts. This is the mother-of-all pork roasts. This is the best pork roast you will ever eat anywhere. This is a Berkshire pork roast. Berkshire pork, also known as Kurobuta pork, is on the menu of many upscale and fine-dining restaurants, like Spago in Beverly Hills, and The French Laundry in Yountville, CA. The first bite will render you speechless -- it's moist, juicy and tender, with a very rich, refined, luxurious taste and texture. A bit about Berkshire pork: It comes from a heritage breed of pig that was discovered...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rack of Berkshire Pork ~"

01/04/2015

~ How & Why to Tie Rib Roast (Beef, Lamb or Pork)~

When I was growing up, and, into the better part of my adult life, I never encountered vacuum-packed meat of any kind. Meat and poultry, and, fish and seafood, were freshly cut and/or processed, on a daily basis. This happened at mom and pop butcher shops everywhere and on premises at all grocery stores. At a very young age, I learned by listening to my mother, how to "talk shop" with a butcher. When my mother ordered a primbe rib roast for the holidays, she would say, "eight ribs, Frenched, trimmed and tied". If it was a boneless beef tenderloin...... View full recipe for "~ How & Why to Tie Rib Roast (Beef, Lamb or Pork)~"

01/02/2015

~ How to: French a Rib Roast (Beef, Lamb or Pork) ~

Knowing how to "French" a rib roast is a very cheffy skill. Like boning poultry or fileting fish, you won't graduate from culinary school unless you can do it proficiently. The verb "to French" means to "strip the meat away from the bone of a rib or a chop to cleanly expose the bone." It's done with the finesse and expertise of a fine surgeon using a scalpel. This process not for everyone, and, if you're not concerned with an upscale restaurant-type presentation, it isn't even necessary. In fact, if you don't have a long, thin, razer sharp knife, don't...... View full recipe for "~ How to: French a Rib Roast (Beef, Lamb or Pork) ~"

12/21/2014

~ Pork Tenderloin Medallions w/Dijon-Cream Sauce ~

This time of year, recipes for easy-to-prepare weeknight meals are more important to me than ever. I affectionately refer to them as "flash-in-the-pan meals", because, in a flash, in one pan, with no stress, I am eating something delicious -- in the case of this recipe, it is elegant enough to serve to company as well. It's one of those dishes that makes you feel like a bona fide French chef too -- medallions, shallots, wine, butter, cream, Dijon and capers. If you want to add a few diced mushroom caps, they just add to the porcine fun. Voila. There...... View full recipe for "~ Pork Tenderloin Medallions w/Dijon-Cream Sauce ~"

12/14/2014

~ When in Rome, start with: Bucatini all'Amatriciana ~

Amatrice is a town in the mountainous northeastern panhandle of Lazio, near Abruzzo (central Italy). "All' Amatriciana" means "made in the style of Amatrice and sugo Amatriciana is one of the oldest Italian sauces. It's a humble, rustic pasta dish commonly found on the restaurant menus of Rome. This immortal sauce is bold-flavored, and, like many Italian classics, it is easily prepared with a short list of ingredients, but, the list is specific and the dish is only as good as the quality of said ingredients. Recipes vary, so there is some room for improvisation, but this is seriously not...... View full recipe for "~ When in Rome, start with: Bucatini all'Amatriciana ~"

12/03/2014

~ Rise & Shine: Creamy Crustless Crabmeat Quiche~

If you are like me, there can never be enough easy and elegant breakfast or brunch recipes in the food world. On my best day I am not a nice person early in the morning. I'm not mean (depending upon who you ask), I just tend to need time to quietly organize my thoughts in the morning. A typical weekday for me entails cooking and cleanup with photography and writing sandwiched in between and afterward. This leaves me protective of my mornings to myself. That said, I entertain regularly too, and, when I have overnight guests I want their morning...... View full recipe for "~ Rise & Shine: Creamy Crustless Crabmeat Quiche~"

11/15/2014

~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini (Stranded Pasta baked in Parmesan Cream Sauce) ~

If you write a cooking blog long enough, you learn that sharing old, classic recipes is as important as sharing new, innovative ones. Another way to say it is: "what's old is always new to someone", and they appreciate learning about it -- and that includes a bit of history too. I know this to be true because by the time I was in my thirties, tetrazzini had been around for a very long time but I had never tasted it. I grew up a tetrazzini deprived child. My mom didn't make it because my dad doesn't care for anything...... View full recipe for "~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini (Stranded Pasta baked in Parmesan Cream Sauce) ~"

11/04/2014

~For the Love of Meatballs from Sweden (Kottbullar)~

Svenska kottbullar. Swedish meatballs. The only two Swedish words you'll ever need to know. The National Dish of Sweden, and famous throughout the world, I've never met a person who doesn't adore them -- soft, one-inch meatballs bathed in beefy, creamy sauce love. Traditionally served during the holidays as an appetizer or main-course at smorgasbord (an elaborate, festive buffet), typically accompanied by buttery egg noodles or creamy mashed potatoes, and, always with lingonberry preserves as a condiment, they're elegant, extraordinary and exquisite. Sweden's culinary gift to meat, gravy & potato lovers: (God bless us every one.) Swedish-style meatballs were first...... View full recipe for "~For the Love of Meatballs from Sweden (Kottbullar)~"

11/01/2014

~ Crockpot Lasagna - I made it, it works & it's good! ~

Proving I am not a food snob isn't always easy because on many levels I am. I believe in cooking with real butter, real cream, real cheese and real eggs. I believe in a diet that consists of meat, poultry, fish and seafood balanced with potatoes, pasta, rice and grains, and, vegetables galore. Every bite of every thing, in moderation, should be worth every calulated calorie. I want it cooked properly by the best method available, whether that be low and slow or fast and furious using moist or dry heat, and, I want it to emerge as pretty as...... View full recipe for "~ Crockpot Lasagna - I made it, it works & it's good! ~"

09/06/2014

~ Farfalle w/Butter, Basil, Peperoncino & Parmesan (Basic Pasta al Burro con Formaggino w/Panache) ~

When I'm having a serious late night snack attack, the kind that two or three slices of cheese, some salty deli meat and a few crackers can't cure, for me, a one-pot pasta dish is always on my short list. The criteria: it must be simple, straightforward, seriously flavorful, and, on my plate in the time it takes to pour a glass of wine and cook the pasta -- start to finish: 15 minutes tops! Pasta al Burro con Formaggino (Pasta w/Butter & Cheese): The Italians came up with a solution for the snack attack centuries ago in the form...... View full recipe for "~ Farfalle w/Butter, Basil, Peperoncino & Parmesan (Basic Pasta al Burro con Formaggino w/Panache) ~"

06/29/2014

~ Conchiglie Pasta tossed with Crispy Pancetta, a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce, Spinach & Walnuts ~

I really did encounter this dish in a restaurant at a tennis club in Taipei! Damn straight. The year was 1986. Joe's engineering company was doing business with a manufacturing company in Taiwan. It was owned by an interesting American businessman who, having being stationed in Taipei after the Korean War, decided to return to Taiwan to live for the rest of his life. Thanks to Lee's English-speaking Taiwanese secretary, while the men were conducting business, I spent ten days being chauffered around to sight-see, eat and shop. On the last day of our stay, Lee, who knew that Joe...... View full recipe for "~ Conchiglie Pasta tossed with Crispy Pancetta, a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce, Spinach & Walnuts ~"

06/06/2014

~ Mel's Rosemary-Kissed Pork Sugo w/Strozzapreti ~

This dish tastes every bit as good as it sounds and just saying it makes me salivate. If you haven't noticed, my past few posts have all included pasta in some form: bucatini (thick, hollow spaghetti), cellentani (hollow corkscrews), pappardelle (wide flat egg pasta), orecchiette (little ears), and now, strozzapreti (priest stranglers). At the end of May, a friend gave me a beautiful box of very special Italian meats, cheeses, all sorts of marinated vegetables, and, a variety of imported organic pasta. It was a thank-you gift, and, for me, it's as appreciated as jewelry. I immediately opened this treasure...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Rosemary-Kissed Pork Sugo w/Strozzapreti ~"

06/02/2014

~ Steak Peperonata (Steak with Peppers & Onions) ~

I love almost all vegetables. When I was growing up, fresh vegetables were served with just about every meal. My mom wasn't a fancy cook, but, roast beef was served with roasted carrots, baked ham came with cabbage or brussels sprouts, meatloaf got peas, pork chops got baked beans, spaghetti got tomato sauce, T-bone steaks got corn in some form, and, hot dogs came with home fries. My dad grew some of the vegetables in his garden, my mom bought the rest at the local Hometown Farmer's Market. What's my point? Veggies weren't a threat. They were a natural part...... View full recipe for "~ Steak Peperonata (Steak with Peppers & Onions) ~"

05/27/2014

~ Roast-Chicken Caprese-Panzanella Pasta-Salad ~

Here in the Northeastern part of the United States, the Memorial Day weekend is the official unofficial kick off to the Summer season. Gardeners fertilize their soil and plant their seeds while barbeque grillers iron their aprons and sharpen their knives. Public swimming pools and beaches open, and fishermen put their boats in the water. The young, the old and everybody in between is ready to set up their lawn chairs and move outdoors for a few months. As of yesterday afternoon, I have switched gears. I am officially in Summer meals mode, meaning: During the Summer, what I enjoy...... View full recipe for "~ Roast-Chicken Caprese-Panzanella Pasta-Salad ~"

05/21/2014

~ Pappardelle Pasta & Crispy Pancetta tossed with a Creamy Sauteed-Mushroom Asiago-Cheese Sauce ~

If this sounds like a dish you would be happy to find late at night on a restaurant "after hours" menu it is: my own. Here in Melanie's Kitchen (also known as The Preschutti Bar & Grille), we call this: "The House Pappardelle". Just like another of my house specialties, "Spaghetti a la Carbonara", it is pure, simple, perfection. Don't ask me why, but, there is just something magical about feasting on spaghetti at midnight any time of the year under any weather conditions. We've been inundated with a few days of cooler than usual, AC off/put the heat back...... View full recipe for "~ Pappardelle Pasta & Crispy Pancetta tossed with a Creamy Sauteed-Mushroom Asiago-Cheese Sauce ~"

04/18/2014

~ E-Z Jamaican Shrimp Curry in a Hurry w/No Worry~

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. Since I've just spent the past week posting some luscious recipes for cod fish (I love cod), a lovely thought and tribute to Jamaica (I love Jamaican food) would have been to end the week with this uniquely tantalizing recipe. 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...... View full recipe for "~ E-Z Jamaican Shrimp Curry in a Hurry w/No Worry~"

04/11/2014

~Cod Cakes w/Creamed Corn & Crisp Tortilla Wisps~

I never met a fish cake or a crab cake I didn't like. Some recipes are better than others, but generally speaking, I love them all. Whenever I broil, bake or poach fresh fish filets I always buy two or three, for the sole purpose of having leftovers to make fish cakes the next day. Almost any kind of fish can be used to make fish cakes, but, this recipe is the one I use specifically for white fish cakes. Firm, lean and meaty cod, grouper or haddock are my favorite three, and, I found some beautiful wild cod filets...... View full recipe for "~Cod Cakes w/Creamed Corn & Crisp Tortilla Wisps~"