Boffo Bean Dip that comes with 4 News Flashes, May 21-May 27, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Kitchen Talk – Southern Living shares great ways to start the day with their Breakfast Casseroles Worth Waking Up For. Scroll down on their page for such casserole versions as Cheesy Sausage Croissant, Banana Bread French Toast, Bacon & Cheddar Grits Quiche, Cinnamon Roll, Huevos Ranchero, and Breakfast Enchiladas.        When is an egg carton not an egg carton? When it transforms into a holder to portion and preserve rice. Here’s what I did – treated the compartments with non stick spray, filled all 24 with rice, covered the top tray with a cut-to-fit piece of plastic wrap, holding the wrap in place turned top over bottom, closed up and into the freezer. As you can see, when you subsequently open the carton, most of the top portions pop out on their own {you can just close the top back over them after removing what you want}, and if they don’t just push on the bottom of the sections. Where the two have been removed you can see the shininess of the plastic wrap.       Chocolate in, chocolate on, and a pistachio chaser in this Chocolate Pistachio Wreath Bread that the description calls ooey gooey. From Midwest Living, a Meredith Corporation publication.

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Shopping Finds – Have you heard of goldbelly.com? I hadn’t until recently when I started coming across it as the ordering source for various food items. What it does is connect you to restaurant food via mail order. That means you can set your table with specialties from, e.g., Marcus Samuelsson, Daniel Boulud, Stephanie Izard, Guy Fieri, Carla Hall, as well as from steakhouses, ethnic places, bbq joints, and more, more, more. They also show you the reviews behind their 4.7 star rating.        So, I’ve now excavated a KitchenAid stand mixer from the back of a cabinet. I’d inherited it, never used, but now ready to give it a go. If you have one in hiding or are thinking of buying one, their cookbook can be a BIG help, with not just preps but also tips and techniques. And if you’d like to check out the various mixer models on Amazon, just click here.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – “Golden” moms and dads, this mug’s for you. You can find three mugs styles and lots of shirt choices too, all right here on our CS Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – Super tasty dip – and the flashes?

First surprise or did you already know this? Until it was revealed actually in a commercial I had no idea that Amy in Big Bang Theory not only plays a neuroscientist – she is one! With a phd from UCLA.

Second, in addition to that and Emmy nominated, award winning actress, Mayim Bialik’s resume includes this – she’s also a cookbook author, capturing her culinary passion in “Mayim’s Vegan Kitchen.”

Page after page delivers the third news flash – vegan doesn’t have to mean bland or boring. Classic dishes are all over these pages and what’s so interesting is how they’re bombarded with intense flavors that boot out the non-plant components in such a way that we’ll never miss them.

And then the actual recipe, Mexican Bean Dip, {below in Notes} showcases the fourth revelation. Look at the ingredients – all familiar, all likely already in your kitchen. Whether a whole meal or just some of its parts, we’ve all likely been cooking vegan stuff for years. It’s just plant-based, not scary at all. And of course it would make a great cocktail snack, a worthy addition to CHB below.

Recipe Notes – You may want to add a bit more soy or some salt, and I did add more cumin, then served with vegs and three kinds of corn chips {no guarantee they were vegan though}. One other thing, I didn’t go full frijoles on this, but rather left it a little chunky.

The prep is so simple, we’re just going to run it right here: saute 1/4 c chopped onion, 1 minced garlic clove, and 2 T finely chopped celery in 1 T olive oil until soft, about 5 min; add 1 1/2 c or a 14-oz can kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed plus 1/4 t ea soy sauce & ground cumin and 1/8 t cayenne {opt}; puree in a blender or processor until smooth; serve with veggies and warm tortillas.

A few additional bio notes from her Wiki page. Most folks first came to know Bialik in her starring role in the tv series Blossom. Along the way she’s also written books for kids and parents {and become a mom herself}. She’s as well a founding member of a Jewish organization that advocates for the ethical treatment for animals. 

Next week – Lasagna Bites, a flavor blast morning, noon, or night

“Mayim’s Vegan Cookbook”   Vegan cookbooks on Amazon, 4 stars & up    Bialik on Wiki

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make pineapple upside down pancakes? So, the fave cake for dessert becomes a new pancake for breakfast. And just like the classic there’s butter, brown sugar, sweet cherries, of course the pineapple rings, even rum if you want {another round of breakfast for everyone}, and pineapple syrup to top it all off. This morning treat is from Tasty.

Alexa says request: How do you make cheeseburger pie? Even better, AllRecipes serves up a Quick Cheeseburger Pie. The flavor vibe starts with seasoned beef and the sharper taste of Swiss cheese, and then gets kicked up with dill pickle and dill pickle juice. The crust goes a little faster than one that’s rolled out and fitted as it’s just patted into place. Of course a store-bought one would be faster yet.

Alexa says request: How do I make a cake bomb? Oh Tastemade, you are baaaaaaad. Exhibit A? This No-Bake Cookies & Milk Cake Bomb. Yikes, wait till you see it and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Btw, if the instructions don’t paint a clear picture of the prep, no worries, the demo does. One other thing, you’ll see how to make cookie milk, which just may have a promising future in your kitchen all on its own.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   I found this on the editor’s page in Food & Wne, part of a piece on “getting out of a rut,” March 2021 issue. And it’s a pretty cool idea, sort of an upgrade on cocktail hour snacks. Or as Editor Lewis says, “Snack-ify dinner,” by setting out hearty snacks on a platter or sheet pan. He adds, “It’s fun, easy, and cleanup is a cinch.”

   Pretty much by definition, a heavy appetizer usually has meat in a starring role, with cheese not far behind. If those appetizers come from deli fave Boarshead, both often come to play. Case in point, this beautiful board from their appetizer recipe page which is filled with fabulous ideas that just could quite easily add up to a dinner party.

  Thinking about traveling again? This could be just the final nudge you need. “5 Amazing Wine Destinations in Africa for Delicious Drinks and Beautiful Views.” Uncorked for us by Food & Wine.

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Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

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Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

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And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> CooksSalon

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Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Melinda’s Tropical Shrimp Cocktail, April 23-29, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

  Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Leftover ham? Thankfully there are lots of ways to re-purpose it. But here’s another option, at least for some meals. Leave the ham as is in beautiful slices and let variation check in as tasty platemates. You can go big in your side dish choices with 101 from Epicurious or tame it down with 19 from AllRecipes, all ham-friendly.      We’ve talked before about, what to me anyway is a relatively new term, Pantry Meals. To avoid a trip to the store or maybe even to avoid waste, dip into the goodies already on hand. Here’s yet another take, “14 Recipes You Can Make Using Pantry Staples,” from Food & Wine.     So, Ree Drummond’s “perfect” spinach salad {04.09.21 Salon} sure looks like it can live up to its billing. But decided to make it and see for myself. Gotta say, pretty darn close. I did add a few halved cherry tomatoes for color.

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Shopping Finds – We hardly ever see butter knives on the dining table anymore, but a newer version just may become a staple in the kitchen drawer because it can rescue us from a culinary problem – hard butter. As you run it over the top of an uncooperative stick, a lineup of small holes in the blade pick up curls that can quickly soften to usability. For bread. For pancakes. For baking. And? They’re called butter spreaders, but you have to be a wee careful because some just regular butter knives on the Amazon page also use this description.     No, we don’t have an affiliation with Oreos even though this is the second mention in a couple of weeks. But came across these Birthday Oreos on Amazon and they are just so festive, so cheery, so-gift-ready.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – With June weddings just around the corner, time to think about bride gifts. One with a whimsical touch is our pretty, flowery “Just Married” tee. For the honeymoon trip, to relax into the day after the ceremony, or just to say, “Yep, did it!” On our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – Shrimp cocktail goes Caribbean, in a fresh & spicy way

It’s first important to note that this recipe comes from Melinda, known for decades as a major force in the hot sauce realm. In fact, I blame, uhhh credit, them with my own introduction long ago to the wonders of habanero peppers.

Melinda doubles down in this prep with the distinct potential to move the cocktail into incendiary territory. But what makes it all quite manageable is that the pepper’s legendary heat comes up against a counterbalance of cucumber, tomato, pineapple, orange, avocado, and more.

A really nice mix. Small servings would make a good first course or addition to the buffet table. But it’s also substantial enough for more generous scoops atop lettuce, spinach, or other greens to serve as a satisfying lunch or dinner.

Btw, still not hot enough for you? Do as we did and drizzle on a bit more Melinda.

Recipe Notes – The recipe actually specifies grapefruit and suggests orange as a sub, which what I did choose.

Next week – Chocolate malt brownies with malt marshmallow frosting

Recipe    Hot sauce cookbooks, 4 stars & up

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make a croque madame casserole? It’s probably not too far fetched to call a croque monsieur the national sandwich of France. Simple as it is, the secret is in the top notch ingredients – crusty bread lightly grilled, lean ham, good Gruyere, homemade béchamel. Add a fried egg and it becomes a madam. While most I’ve seen were open face, I’ve also come across ones that were regular sandwich style with double bread, enclosed like a croissant, or even stacked up. But until Alexa put this on the screen, I’d never encountered the croque madame casserole – and glad I did. From Epicurious.

Alexa says request: How do you make chocolate covered pretzel toffee? So, chocolate covered pretzels have been been satisfying our sugar cravings for quite some time. Serious Eats sweetens the deal with the addition of rich toffee. Here’s the recipe, credited to Lucy Baker. Thanks, Lucy!

My request: Do you have a recipe for baked hot dogs? The actual reason for this request was a guess that if such existed it would deliver an easy way to prepare several franks at once in the oven. Not only did a prep like that come up from AllRecipes, but even better for Baked Chili Hot Dogs. You can probably predict the ingredients. But what’s helpful here is quantities, pan size, time, and temp.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Wait, what, they’re keeping stuff from us??? Food & Wine tells all in 12 Wines That Serious Collectors Don’t Want You to Know About. There’s also a link in the story for best Prosecco rosés to buy now.

  The inspiration goes back to a coffee shop in suburban Chicago where our group convinced the owners to combine the olive burger and cheeseburger and make us olive cheeseburgers. Now, here it is in crispy snack form – brown 1/3 lb ground beef {fine crumble] with 2T minced onion and s&p, then add 2T minced pimento olives, 1T mayo and 1 t ea mustard & buffalo ranch. To assemble: Lay six 6″ eggroll wrappers on a work surface with the points toward you. Place a slice of American cheese on each, about a 1/2″ in from the point closest to you. Divide the meat mixture evenly, covering the cheese slices. Fold up the corner closest to you then roll it up, tucking in the sides as you go. Moisten and press to seal any open edges. Place seam side down in a baking pan treated with non-stick spray. Brush very lightly with peanut oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake at 400 for 10 min or until golden. Note that you can certainly substitute equal amounts of condiments of your choice. And then of course it’s easy enough to make multiples of this recipe. And called? Mini Olive Cheeseburger Eggrolls!

   Have you noticed – dips are almost always hits on the snack table. MyRecipes shows us how to mix it up with 18 Things to Stir into Mayo for Instant Sauces & Dips. The good news is that most of these tasty add-ins are likely ready and waiting in your kitchen.

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CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

♦  ♦  ♦

And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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So fun, Hasselback Pizza Chicken, April 9-April 15, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Have you heard of this? Tea latte, officially dubbed London Fog. The basics are tea and steamed milk and then customization sets in. What’s your pleasure? Perhaps vanilla syrup or brown sugar, other sweeteners, maybe a touch of lavender. Thanks to Google see it all here, how to make or where to buy.      Love Oreos but hate the gluten? Rejoice! Yep, there are now gluten-free Oreos. Regular and Double Stuf. See them on the Oreo site.      Burger lovers love burgers anytime of the year, but as the weather turns balmy, there just seems to be something extra special about those tasty patties, in the pan or on the grill. For folks who might like to change up the current faves will want to take a look at the Best 33 Burger Recipes from Food & Wine.

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Shopping Finds – So, we’ve played a lot recently with sparkly and colored sugar. But here comes a whole different take – sparkly syrup! Found Strawberry Sparkle on Amazon – I couldn’t really see glittering in the pix but one of the reviewers who had poured it into sparkling waters said, loved watching the sparkles swirl around the bubbles. And a company called Runamok {not familiar with them but shows the lock icon} offers a Maple Sparkle Syrup. Btw, on the Amazon page you can also find jars of mica, the stuff that creates the blingy magic.    For you, for someone just setting up housekeeping, for your cookster friend? Wowsie, 24-pc kitchen utensil set, #1 Amazon Best Seller, Prime eligible, $24.99.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item Who’s rescued a dog from a shelter and given it a loving forever home. You? Someone you know? This mug not only showcases that good deed in a kind of whimsical way, but also just may encourage others to go forth and do likewise. “I’m being trained by a sweetie I adopted from the shelter.” Find it right here on our CS mug page. Or choose a tee instead on our CS T-shirt page.

   On the Table 

Feature – Hasselback Pizza Chicken, easy fun

Once again Alexa popped up a recipe where resistance was fu-tile. And so here it is, “upstairs,” in the Featured Recipe spotlight.

This is so fun. Like chicken parm meets pizza meets a technique usually confined to the potato province.

I did take a couple of CS-liberties here. Marinara instead of puree. Pepperoni instead of salami. But you know what, it sure seems the original would be great too.

I also experimented with cooked chicken breasts from the deli counter, baked until heated through and the cheese was all melty. Worked just fine.

I opted for fries and slaw as platemates, but think pasta or even risotto could work well. Some kind of salad is almost always a good counterpoint.

Thanks, Tasty!

Next week – Creamy topped caramelized pineapple, quick and easy

Recipe  ♦  Chicken Cookbooks, 4 stars & up

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make perfect spinach salad? So, when that popped up on the screen sort of had to see how it might live up the hype. Here’s what backs up the hype for a perfect spinach salad – peppered bacon, onions caramelized in the bacon fat, mushrooms also sautéed in the fat {with license to add more fat if needed}, baby spinach, and – look out – more bacon fat in the dressing  {cardiologists, look away}. From Ree Drummond.

Alexa says request: How so I make potato cannolis? As the description says, Think of this as two potatoes for the price of one. That’s because the shell is rolled and crisped potato slices, and the filling is creamy mashed potatoes, mixed with Gruyere and little hits of nutmeg and salt. A sprinkle of chives adds a touch of color to the fun. This recipe comes from Tastemade.

My request: Show me some Nutella recipes Of the bunch that she pulled up, I think the one going on the to-make list is the Easy No Bake Nutella Pie from AllRecipes. Btw, the results also included a couple of ways to make your own version of Nutella.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Eately offers up some wine suggestions for the snack table and the sweet table. The page also includes a link for their wine & cheese guide.

  Our CS Tasting Panel judged this a hit. Chicken Parm Dip! Starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken {yay!}, then gets saucy and also adds in seasonings and cheese. Serve piping hot from the oven with crostini & veggies as dippers. And be prepared – it makes a lot. The good news, so many tasty ways to use the leftovers.

  Who loves margaritas {hand raised}? If you can still find the April/May issue of Taste of Home you’ll find 10 ways to gussy up the classic. Can’t find. Well then, double down instead with this page on their site, “20 of Our Best Margarita Recipes.”

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

      ♦  ♦  ♦

And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

 

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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Smoky Poblano Corn Pudding, March 26-April 1, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – While cold March winds are still a-blowin,’ nice hot chicken soup remains a welcome counterpoint. And it’s Better Homes and Gardens at your service with bowls of their Best Recipes, many hearty enough to easily serve as a main meal.      Meanwhile MyRecipes has their own Best, and it’s a goodie. Our Best Restaurant Copycat Recipes {and some packaged goods too}. Yay! Legendary rolls, breads breakfasts, soups, sandwiches, sauces, desserts and beverages, ethnic specialtes, even Bailey’s, Nutella and Chili’s Baby Back Ribs      Oh what fun this colored sugar is! Especially as a decorating substitute for those {hand raised} who do not like sprinkles. A glittery upgrade for simple peach ice cream and whipped cream  A sparkly update on bagel and cream cheese. And as if donuts aren’t already fun enough, a step even beyond the chocolate frosting. Link goes to Amazon.      See Cocktail Hour Buzz below for yet another happy app.

{PS on the sugar – as much as possible add it just before serving because being sugar there may be some melting. Although if it’s going onto something sturdy like cream cheese, as on the bagel here, you can let it just blur into a different pretty pattern. Something more liquidy like whipped topping, maybe not so much.}

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Shopping Finds – Have you heard of the sausage company called Seemore??? Oh my goodness wait till you hear their flavors. Chicken Parm, Chicken Soup, Broccoli Melt, La Dolce Beet-A, Loaded Blue Diamond Almonds, Bold Spicy Dill Pickle, 6 OunceBaked Potato. In a sausage! All can be ordered directly from them. I have to say I’ve never heard of these folks before, but their products are sold at Whole Foods and Amazon.      So, I had this somewhat addictive spicy dill snack mix, that was then {how rude} discontinued. Went online to see about something similar. Did, but wow, some unexpected pricing.Can This Help You FINALLY Quit Smoking ??? Finally found something not only dilly and reasonable but also a brand name. Blue Diamond Bold Spicy Dill Pickle Almonds on Amazon, and maybe at your own market.

This week’s featured CS item on Amazon – If quitting smoking is still one of your 2021 goals, maybe this can help. Our Kindle book of reinforcements about all the good to be gained and the bad to be gone when you kick this butt. Use with or without other methods. On our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table 

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make banana split cake? And it’s a no-bake cake! A vanilla wafer crust is layered with a cheesecake-like mix, then topped with crushed pineapple and sliced bananas, and then non dairy topping, chopped walnuts and maraschino cherries. This prep is from AllRecipes.

So, a couple of notes. First, you may want to be a bit more generous with the walnuts. Second, ummm, a most important classic topping is not represented – chocolate syrup! which you are of course free to add, or maybe chocolate chips on top.

Alexa says request: How do I make bacon jalapeno chicken? So, while this is a fairly simple  and most appealing dish, it’s based on a Traeger Grill. If you have one, yay, here’s their recipe. Meanwhile so the rest of us don’t have to miss out entirely, found these Chicken Bombs with Bacon and Jalapenos on AllRecipes. Oh boy, Monterey jack and cream cheese are wrapped up in there too, then all glazed with bbq sauce.

Alexa says request: How do I make smoky poblano corn pudding ? The smoky and the poblano elements start off this recipe with a trip to the oven for the peppers to get nice and charred. They then merge their smokiness with butter and whipping cream, cheddar and chives, to turn the frozen corn into a beautiful casserole. Thanks for this super side dish also goes to AllRecipes.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists,  delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Sparkly sugar comes to happy hour. And its sweet contribution so nicely plays against this vodka sour. As you can see, I didn’t use it in the usual way. Instead of upending the glass into the sugar thus creating only a narrow coating inside and out, I ran the cut lime about a 1/2 inch down around the rim on the outside, then rolled the glass back and forth on a band of the sugar. This method also means no sugar on the inside to be washed away as you make the drink. This sugar on Amazon.

   Like your beer well aged? Archeologists have uncapped quite a discovery in Egypt – what’s regarded as the oldest biz-size brewery in the world, dating back over 5,000 years. OK, probably no suds left in these tanks, but it’s estimated that at its peak, the facility could pour out 5,900 gallons of beer at a time. Turns out though most of the output was used ritually rather than for consumption. Cheers! {or not}

  While I don’t have an Aldi’s in my town, their map shows a bunch east of the Mississippi and even a sprinkling on the other side of the river. And so for all you folks in Aldi towns, here is the Well Done Newsletter’s report from EatingWell on best wines there under $15.

   “Life is a combination of magic and pasta” – Federico Fellini quoted in Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy”

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

      ♦  ♦  ♦

And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

 

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

eb4823     c74abc 

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Tasty Ham & Tater Cake-ettes, March 19-March 25, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Please note – CooksSalon was recently subjected to what’s known as a brute force attack, which means launching thousands upon thousands of attempts to crack your password. Fortunately WordPress alerted me to this activity and I was eventually able to get it fixed, though losing some content in the process.

Clearly it could have been much worse. So, if you have a site and see anything like this going after it, do everything you can to stop it because what I saw on google said that otherwise they won’t stop until they’re successful.

 Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – This was an interesting journey. When Stanley Tucci was in Rome for his “Searching for Italy” series he was served meatballs with a cocoa powder sauce. Ehhh? Went to google and did find one sauce for spaghetti with cocoa powder from The Spice House, but just a 1/4 t among many other seasonings. Interestingly, the search also turned up a marinara with dark chocolate from Gimme Some Oven. Could be worth a try.    I’ve now added multi-colored sugar to the “toys” and should have some goodies to show you next week    And here’s another journey, one that started with an online comment that sweet potatoes didn’t have to be pierced before baking. Googled, decided they probably should. But several stories showed the sweets topped with peanut butter. Really? Tried it, pretty good, but maybe see if classic toppings could play nice with pb to make a sauce. The result –  2 T brown sugar, generous pinches of salt, nutmeg and cinnamon worked into 1/2 stick softened butter, then blended with 1/4 c peanut butter. Be sure the taters are good and hot if you want the sauce to be all melty.

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Shopping Finds – Have you seen these? Clips that stick. More specifically, Magnetic Multipurpose Bag Clips on Amazon. Pretty too! They’re clips so they, by def, close bags of all sorts. But because they’re also magnetic they can turn your fridge into the place for grocery lists, coupons, reminders, notes, appointment slips, photos, even lightweight holiday decorations.    One somewhat unexpected place I like to shop now – Bass Pro Shops. For the sports stuff? Nah. It’s for their food section, especially the wide selection of salsas, but also because there are so many interesting items there that I don’t see anywhere else.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Let’s all scream – for Ice Cream! If you look closely you’ll see flavors galore tucked right into the letters. And as those words say, only after there’s been Ice Cream Ice Cream Ice Cream will there be everything else. Find in on our Food Themed Mugs page. On our Food Themed T-shirts page too.

   On the Table 

Feature – Ham and Tater Cake-ettes, love these

The first woohoo here is that these are just super tasty. The second is, no grating, because these cakes start with mashed potatoes.

There’s another interesting point in the prep. The crumbs serve not only as a coating, but also as an ingredient in the mix which, much as in say meatloaf, helps the whole shebang stick together.

And wow are they versatile, at home any time on the table. Thinking they could even make a nice snack.

For breakfast or brunch topped with fried or poached eggs, here paired simply with fresh tomatoes. For lunch, we followed the traditions for regular potato pancakes and paired the cakes with applesauce and sour cream. For dinner, plated them with sweet potato casserole and peas.

The prep popped up on Alexa, but had “feature recipe” written all over it. It comes from AllRecipes.

Recipe Notes – Since I really don’t do a lot of fried foods, I put four of the patties into a pan treated with baking spray, also sprayed the tops, and baked them for 20 min at 400, turning them over at the halfway point. As you can see here, they aren’t as “pretty” as the fried ones but I found them every bit as good. As always when oil is involved keep an eye on the proceedings especially if in a toaster oven.

Next week – Smoky Poblano Corn Pudding, put it in the Super Sides category

Recipe    Other leftover ham recipes on AllRecipes

♦  ♦  ♦

Alexa is on vacation from CS this week

No worries, she’ll be back next time

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   And following up on Alexa, here is some good news. “Found this on the abc.net.au site. Because of changes in the tariffs, their story says, Australia red wine prices should ‘plummet’ in various countries including ours” – LVB

  Lasagna Poppers? Oh, what fun! The seasoned beef, marinara and mozzarella merge into a filling for lasagna noodles, rolled, double breaded, and deep fried {some freezer steps in between}. Here’s the recipe From Tasty.

  So, in our 02.26.21 Salon we featured smoked salmon pinwheels in our Shopping Finds. And for sure they are convenient. But truth be told, you can pretty easily make your own. Here, wrapped them up with green onions and dillweed. And some on pumpernickel with cuke slices.

   This is variously attributed, but most citations give it to Steve Allen. “Do not allow your children to mix drinks. It is unseemly and they use too much vermouth.”

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Easy Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie, Feb 12-Feb 18, 2021

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Hello, bacon lovers! And rejoice as msn/lifestyle brings us these 10 most Creative Bacon Dishes from across the country. And I know all you clever CS-ers can replicate these bacony foods and beverages right in your own kitchens.     As far as we can tell, these foodfests are still scheduled in these locales for this year. South Beach, May 20-23.  Aspen, Sept 10-12. Austin, Nov 5-7.  Food + Funny. On Feb 17 PBS/Create is teaming chef Curtis Stone and chef/comic Alex Thomopoulos for a “Moveable Feast” through Australia.

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Shopping Finds – So, we’ve already seen ice cream for dogs. But here’s what’s new – ice cream for dogs from Ben & Jerry’s    In Amazon’s Hot New Releases, and “hot” applies doubly here – Mott’s Hot Apple Cider Keurig pods.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item  If we thought the new year would see high fives across the aisle and a bipartisan chorus of kumbaya in govs in DC and beyond . . . nope! Let’s flash this message everywhere we can.  See all 5 “Decent” items on our Eclectic Mall page.

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – Here’s one of those magnetic headlines I came across from MyRecipes. Why Snack Dinner is the Best Thing You Can Make for Yourself Tonight”  Wow, there are some fine looking assemblies here. But shown is the plate we featured from our cheese board in the 01.22.21 Salon and to the article’s point, it sure did add up to dinner.   So, had a lot of Genoa salami hanging around and decided to put it in the food processor with the other ingredients that would typically go into ham salad {including peanuts, love peanuts in ham salad}. Turned out good. But, duh, now had even more leftovers. Hmmm. After using some for sandwiches, mixed the rest with egg and bread crumbs, browned in a skillet, and then I had something I could freeze. Some has already come back out to join eggs and salad for a boffo brunch.    When you’re making chili, e.g., do you brown the meat trimmings and add veggies to make a stock? Me too. Then usually strained, defatted and made it into gravy. But recently instead added into the chili. Turned out to be a tasty idea.

   On the Table 

Feature – Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie

For being so simple, this savory treat from Food Network is a supremely satisfying dish. Tater tots, which are already somewhat seasoned, make a tasty base for an easy combo of cheddar and bacon, later joined by sauce and chives.

You know what’s a big bonus? That sauce! And as a double down, you’re likely to have some left over to kick up other preps you creative CS-ers can imagine.

One thing, looking at FN’s rendition {link below} the light color of the sauce makes me think they pulled back on the Sriracha. Depending on your heat tolerance, might want to taste as you mix.

And an egg good is so good on here. But just take a look and you can see how it’s sort of a natural playmate for these particular ingredients.

And with eggs, what a great centerpiece for brunch, especially joined by guac, tomatoes and olives. But you sure don’t have to wait for Sunday.

Recipe Notes – After the tater tots are baked, the assembled dish needs to bake for only about 5 minutes.

Substitutions if needed – Thinly sliced green onion tops can stand in nicely for chives. Also, you could certainly consider other cheeses or a combo.

Next week – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, starting with store-bought cookie dough

Recipe  ♦  Tater Tot cookbooks on Amazon

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make No-churn Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream? Oh my, with a title like that about all we need to do is add this recipe link. Maybe just note that both the peppermint and the chocolate make more than one appearance. From Food Network. Really sounds good.

Alexa says request: How do I make Mexican Cornbread Salad? This is nice, something like a 7-layer salad but as the title suggests with a decided south of the border accent. Colorful too! See it here from AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: Play the cookie dough secret video  Well, this couldn’t be easier. Chill the dough – 30 min in the fridge or 15 in the freezer. It says the fat will melt more slowly in the oven and thus help prevent overspreading. As a bonus chilled dough is easier to handle, and sturdier for cut-out cookies. Left it in too long? Just let the bowl sit on the counter until the dough softens a bit.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play sleep and meditation sounds

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  CS Tasting Panel member Debbie Vinson gives five stars to a recipe she passed along for a sambal sauce to be drizzled on cod, but as she and I noted it could be equally good on other fish, maybe even chicken. I’ve since made this sauce, and btw did use it on cod, and my palate and I 100% agree with her rating – sweet and spicy, tangy and tasty. You can see it right here on parade.com.

   How fun would this be for a sweet finish to cocktail hour? A cousin to last week’s tie dye cookies but this time it’s candy all the way as once again Trisha Yearwood shows us how to play with our food. White chocolate meets pastel wafers to create bark that’s an edible work of art. Melt x 5, spread, drizzle, swirl, then chill {both you and the confection}. Done!

   A pop quiz – when are ice cubes not cubes? When they’re spheres or hexagons or sticks. Or opt for classic cube shape but tiny or HUGE. Many trays are made of silicone or other easy release material and some come with lids. All right here on this Amazon page.

   Here’s a whole bunch of stuff we love tucked into one book. It’s Susan Spungen’s new work, “Open Kitchen,” a place, her site says, to “welcome company and enjoy togetherness.” It goes on to describe her entertaining approach as a “‘get-ahead’ cooking philosophy that ensures streamlined, stress-free preparation, so you can spend more time opening your kitchen to new menus, flavors, and guests–effortlessly.” Kindle and hardcover on Amazon.

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No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Jan 22-Jan 28, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – What’s better than a celebrity chef recipe for cornbread? Five celeb chef recipes for cornbread. What’s even better yet? Someone on insider.com willing to test all five, take us through each process, and give us the results. You have to search a bit, but there are links in each description that will send you to the recipe.    A slide show from USA Today lifted the curtain on how pickle juice can elevate fried chicken, calling it a magical combination. Quite intriguing, but didn’t say exactly say how to go about that {amount, timing, other ingredients}. But AllRecipes does with its Pickle Brine Chicken recipe.    Thinking ginger root must have hired a pr agent since I’m seeing more and more about its health benefits and flavor perks. Food & Wine brings us no fewer than 29 ginger recipes in this slide show {or scroll for full list}, including an intriguing one for ginger-roasted acorn squash that adds greens for a very pretty platter. {Hey, could put these three together for a mighty fine dinner}

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Shopping Finds – Did you know this? Panera Bread offers a decent variety of pantry items for contactless delivery or curbside ordering or pickup. See the details.     And did you know about this kitchen tool? You hold it kind of like a knife, run it over certain fruits or vegetables or even pastry or say slices of Swiss cheese for salad and end up with perfect uniform shreds. Many variations here on Amazon, all quite reasonably priced.

Also, CS Designed, Zazzle-crafted“I’m Being Trained by a Sweetie I Adopted from the Shelter” – see MUG on Zazzle page, TEE on Zazzle page OR preview BOTH here on CS page

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – All my previous ice cream breads have to move over, because there’s a new fave in this kitchen. Peppermint! Yes, peppermint stick ice cream bread, a semi-sweet treat that just dances in the mouth. See the original recipe in our 07.17.20 Salon, and remember, just three ingredients. Could be quite nice on the Valentine’s table.    Hot news! Yahoo Life reports that research presented at the recent AMA Scientific Sessions cited a wide-ranging chile pepper study that shows consuming these palate igniters could be instrumental in avoiding major diseases and increasing lifespan. The favorite spicy cookbook in this kitchen is The Fiery Cuisines, 5 stars on Amazon and notable for balancing flavor and heat in dishes from across the food groups and around the world.

   On the Table 

Feature – No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

This might border on illegal {if so, blame Tasty.co & Alexa}. Or at least something you might not want to mention to your dentist.

Rich cheesecake goes a big step richer with melted chocolate chips blended in. Then cozies up to a thick layer of peanut butter that’s gone all sweet with powdered sugar.

Would certainly be good as is. But looked sort of plain, so melted another 1/4 cup of chips to drizzle overall.

While a number of desserts taste better after sitting out of the fridge for a while, this is best nice and chilled. Probably don’t need to add that small slices will suffice.

So, just for the heck of it thought I would see if Amazon offers a ready-made chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and yep they do, and quite showy but also quite pricey. What you might find surprising though are the other choc/pb items on the page including even coffee.

Recipe Notes – I cut this recipe in half and made it in a deep dish pie plate. It calls for just chocolate chips, but I opted for semi sweet and wondering if even bittersweet might work. Also, ran both layers through the food processor so they would turn out silky smooth. Note that it needs fridge time in the process and afterward.

Next week – Loaded Mashed Potato Cups, 3 ways, all fun

Recipe  ♦  Chocolate peanut butter goodies on Amazon

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make tater tot breakfast pizza? Tater tots + egg = a crispy, tasty crust, especially if you heed some of the commenters who seasoned both the potatoes and the eggs. Then, the toppings, yum. Two cheeses, bacon, the eggs, pepper, not in the list but looks like parsley in the demo, and then avocados. Check other comments too for different topping suggestions. However it came together, these folks love this recipe from Tasty.

Alexa says request: How do you make cinnamon roll pancakes? AllRecipes wins this delectable derby with their 4 1/2 star recipe. Let the description on the page tell the rest of the story – “Sweet and delicious buttermilk pancakes with a butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon swirl filling. These are great any time of the day and less time consuming than making real cinnamon rolls!” Wow, add the above prep and we’re talking a 5-star brunch.

My request: Most of the time Alexa is quite amazing in putting together the parts of your request to deliver exactly what you’re looking for. In this case though, it took some “negotiating.” What I really wanted was a 5-star recipe for New Orleans style barbecued shrimp which as you all know is a whole different category of bbq. After trying this and that I finally decided to name drop and asked for a barbecued shrimp recipe by Emeril. Voop up it came and Voila! 5 stars. On Food Network and actually called Emerilized Barbecued Shrimp, it has more ingredients than maybe most others but oh my each one just layers on more flavor.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play dinner party music, such as classic jazz or classic rock

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

♦  Well look who dropped down out of her room. Alexa! That’s because she popped up some party food on her screen. S’Mores Popcorn. It comes to us from Giada on Food Network, and indeed has all the right stuff. You’ll see that she gives it a bit of a Valentine’s look, and woohoo it starts with store-bought popped corn.

  Well I’d say definitely soothing, but Food & Wine goes all in and declares, “Hot Cocktails Are Like Heating Lamps for the Soul,” and then goes on to describe some toddy siblings found in restaurants around the country. And fear not, there’s a link to another F&W story with actual recipes.

   Here’s how Ashe Cayne in “The Unspoken” dresses up a charcuterie plate: cured meats, hard and soft cheeses, olives, grilled artichoke hearts, pepper & fig spread, bruschetta, crackers, fresh & dried fruit, strawberry jam. There are just a couple of pages in this Amazon 4-star book where you wouldn’t want to be eating at the time, but it’s otherwise a relentlessly unfolding mystery in the toughened hands of Cayne, a Shakespeare-quoting, Food Network-watching Chicago detective, hard boiled and soft boiled. Here’s my recent plateful.

  Heard on Food Paradise, Food Network, “You season both sides because you eat both sides.” Kind of a cousin to Emeril’s oft-said “I hate one-sided tasting food.”

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Favorite Recipes from CS 2020, Jan 8-Jan 14, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 r

To see the full details for each dish, including recipe, context, recipe notes and any relevant substitutions click the opening link with the date – to see the recipe only click the closing link

07.17.20, Food Tips for Our Times  Fruit Pizza There’s a good chance there might be some extra fruit, fresh and canned, in the house these days, after stocking up for baking, dressing up a holiday table, received as gifts. A fun and colorful way to put it to good use is a fruit pizza. And at the same time show off your artistic skills! Just layer different colors of fruit and jam on a baked pizza crust spread with soft cream cheese and voila! a work of art. And so pretty! Here are some other suggestions for fruit pizzas that google found.

05.13.20, Featured Recipe  Chicken Pepperoni Parmesan  Just looking at the name tells you it’s a pretty good bet it tastes pretty darn good. And it does! This chicken pepperoni parm is already a plate of flavor. But in fact I did add some Italian seasonings to the tomato sauce or you could certainly use a jarred marinara. I also sautéed the chicken as is in butter/olive oil instead of breading it. Add crusty bread and a green salad and it’s done and yum. More good news – it all bakes on a sheet pan.  Recipe 

04.03.20, My Week  “Potato Snow”  What a fun and festive way to play with taters. See the pic? – that’s “potato snow,” and oh so easy too! Per the recipe, simply push boiled, peeled, towel-dried potatoes through a coarse sieve with a wooden spoon letting them “pile high into a snowy mountain slope.” Or do that several times to make a “range.” Another recipe I found {on an unsecured site}, suggested adding onion salt and garlic salt to the cooking water rather than trying to mix it in afterward. The prep I used is from The Secret Garden Cookbook.

10.23.20, Featured Recipe  Bobby Flay’s Cheesy Bacon & Tater Quesadilla  This is a perfect example of Chef Flay’s passionate take on southwest cuisine. The title foodstuffs join onion and peppers in a tasty tortilla stack, topped with a nice fried egg, fresh tomato salsa, and chopped chives. A perfect way to start the day. Especially a day with a late and lazy start. Bloody Marys anyone? The recipe is on the Food Network site.  Recipe

07.17.20, Featured Recipe  Ice Cream Bread  Wow, the unique flavor of ice cream right in your bread? And just 3 ingredients. In the original sojourn I used French vanilla, then played with some variations. The result is sweeter than bread, less sweet than cake, with a texture kind of between French bread and pound cake. Those subsequent variations  – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough {08.07.20}, Chocolate Brownie {10.30.20} Each good as is, but also happily welcome toppings.

10.02.20, Featured Recipe  Knife & Fork Bacon Cheeseburgers  This is one satisfying plateful, a happy gathering of onion, tomato, pickle, bacon, burgers, buns, plus a condiment mashup, and savory cheese sauce. And this is nice. Lots of the elements can be prepped in advance. To make life even easier, use store-bought burgers if there are some you like, and fill out the plate with deli-supplied or pantry & fridge ready side dishes. Might also like to take a look at these google-found alternatives for burger sauces.

06.19.20, Featured Recipe  Bacon Peanut Butter Corn Muffins  One bite and you’ll see why these goodies took a top award in a Taste of Home contest. Yowza are they good. And happily the come together with ingredients likely already in residence in your pantry and fridge. Great as is for breakfast. Or with the caramel ice cream topping, Poof! Dessert! Or go all in for dessert with the suggested alternate of chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. And you know what, thinking this topping would be just as happy on a regular pan of cornbread or even pancakes, French toast, regular toast. Recipe 

11.20.20, Cocktail Hour Buzz  Baked Mini Ham & Cheese Sandwiches  This hearty snack actually was part of a reply when we invited “Alexa” into CHB and asked her for cocktail snacks made with cheese. These minis sounded so good, and then tasted as good as they sounded. Pretty easy too. One of the others that’s now high up on our to-make list is the Filled Parmesan Baskets, and then maybe the Stuffed Artichoke Hearts. If you would like to see the other snacks and their recipe links, just click on the 11.20.20 above. All are from AllRecipes, and there’s demos too. Recipe

09.18.20, Featured Recipe  Cheese Ravioli Soup  A big bowl of good, and thank you Taste of Home. Despite the long-ish ingredient list, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. 1} brown the ground beef, then add the sauce ingredients. 2} cook the ravioli, combine with the sauce and heat through. 3} stir in parm, top with parsley. Done! So what brought its rating down to 3 1/2 stars. Not the flavors. Nope, instead critics said it was more like an entree than soup – and we couldn’t agree more! Thick, hearty and satisfying.  Recipe 

10.09.20, Featured Recipe  Nanaimo Bars {and “Plan B”}  For at least seven decades these rich bars have been on celebratory tables in Canada. Rich, yeah! A chocolately, nutty, graham cracker crust, topped with amped up butter cream frosting, topped with a kind of ganache where the cream is replaced by butter. Indulgent! Even so, I played with an alternate, “NaNaNo Bars,” – a bit less complicated, a bit less crumbly, and a bit less sweet, maybe more creamy. You can see details of this version if you want in the 10.09.20 Salon. Recipe

Our Featured Recipe when we return to regular Salons Jan 11: a full of flavor tamale makeover

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Favorite Sweet Potato Casserole, Nov 20-Nov 26, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New! Another of our very own CS designs

Coffeehounds, this one’s for you. And if you’re a dog lover, it’s even more for you. Especially if you know the answer to this – “Who’s a Good Coffeehound???”

Crafted by CA-based Zazzle, it’s offered as a classic design, two tone, morphing, stein and travel mug.

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Whole lot of enhancements for the dining room table in this “30 Deliciously Easy Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides” story from MyRecipes    Have you noticed that the beef or chicken in some Asian dishes is not just tender but super soft? Yahoo Sports {?} explains it all in its story, “Velveting is the Chinese Technique That Takes Stir-Fries to the Next Level.” And yes, it is something you can try at home.    There a promise of being good and good for you tucked into this tale of “The Wellness Tea Concentrate to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season.” It actually does sound pretty tasty. Also from MyRecipes.

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Shopping Finds – Have you heard of Chef’s Gold? Quite interesting, made from prime beef tenderloin fat trimmings, formed into “bricks,” and dry aged along with the beef. This msn.com story calls it “the secret to adding serious flavor to any cut of meat,” later noting it can also transform mashed potatoes. There’s a link to the source but it’s incorrect – use this instead, Snake River Farms – the site does show the lock icon.    Hands up, who loves chocolate? You? Shout it from your shirt with our own “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate / then everything else” tee, with images of the title goodies tucked right into the letters. From Zazzle, with details on our CS food-themed tees page. You can also go all chocolate on our CS food-themed mugs page.

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Kitchen Talk – A great recipe source is most food product websites. And a nice perk is by definition the prep likely shortcuts the process with store-bought goods. I recently tapped into the Barilla site and found a nice minestrone with an unexpected ingredient – butternut squash. This Tomato & Basil Minestrone recipe starts with their pasta sauce of the same name.   So had some of the spinach puree left over from last week’s squash polenta casserole, and found a good home for it in a grilled cheese & tomato sandwich. A really good home.    NFG? Ehhhh? So heard this term on Fieri’s GGG, and don’t know if it has currency beyond this show but it stands for something worth thinking about – Non Functional Garnish. Meaning don’t plop on top something that doesn’t add to the dish, doesn’t go with the dish, or worst of all detracts from it.

   On the Table  

Feature – A surprising mix of ingredients, easy & sooooo good

This sweet potato casserole is one of my most crowd-pleasing recipes. The original is by a favorite chef, Nick Stellino, and the only major difference between my version and that one is that his is a souffle and mine isn’t, and then there are some minor variations in seasoning amounts.

My non-egg version is denser and needs to bake only until heated through. Those who favor a lighter touch will want to stay with the original.

Either way, an unexpected ingredient combo makes this a winning companion for ham, chicken, turkey – I even like it with a nice pork roast or even Mexican food. But the next time I make it, very tempted to add the topping from one of the recipes from the MyRecipes story above.

Below are links for all three . . .

Recipe Notes – if the thyme in the recipe isn’t to your taste, nutmeg is an interesting alternative.

Next week – Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups {and sweet variations}

My version on our Recipe Page    The one from the MyRecipes story {above} with the topping  

Nick Stellino’s original    Stellino’s cookbooks

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make enchilada rice? Well, here we are right back on the Tasty site, where the recipe gets even better because the full title is “One Pot Enchilada Rice.” A quick glance at the ingredient list shows this is a fiesta in a pan. What doesn’t show in the print but does is the demo is ways to use it other than just on a plate, which is in a taco, wrapped in a tortilla and something I was already planning on, topped with a fried egg. Btw, cheese is listed as optional, hahahahaha, more likely doubled.

Alexa says request: How do you make a Twix Lovers Cake? So, this recipe from Food Network shows a wonderful cake, both in appearance and in the rich ingredients that start with a cake mix. It does call for making chocolate mousse, but if you’ve had satisfactory results with a mix or premade, that could be a worthy shortcut. It also calls for making ganache, which is actually quite easy. This cake is likely to be quite the crowd pleaser.

My request: What’s the best way to cook quinoa on the stove ? As a newbie I relied on the package directions but something didn’t seem clear. Thanks to Alexa, I now have a method that works great. Combine 1 part of well rinsed and drained quinoa with 2 parts water {or broth}. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed and the grains have curly tails. I like this visual check, don’t even have to worry about timing.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play podcasts

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Get lit – twice. Friend Norene sent along an adorable mini-book titled Tequila Mockingbird, which in turn is adapted from a full size tome, “Tequila Mockingbird, Cocktails with a Literary Twist,” an Amazon best seller that loosely ties classic reads to cocktails with such related names as Rye and Punishment, Brave New Swirled, Frangelico and Zooey. Some spinoffs too on the same page. Of course I’m not really suggesting you get drunk because we know that can be painful. As these t-shirts, also on Amazon, say “One Tequila/Two Tequila/Three Tequila/Floor.”

♦  Look who we invited into the Salon. Alexa! This special visit, “downstairs” so to speak, is to ask her for cocktail snacks made with cheese. Here’s what she found. Baked Ham & Cheese Party Sandwiches {shown}   Filled Parmesan Baskets  ♦  Beer Cheese Pretzel & Dip Dip {includes recipe for pretzels which also incorporate beer and cheese and could be fun, but could certainly use store-bought}   Stuffed Artichoke Hearts   Jamie’s Baked Brie    Double Tomato Bruschetta. All from AllRecipes. Demos too!

   See, replicate, voila! – beautifully upgraded presentations on your table. Chef Pete Ghione has a remarkable talent for assembling dishes in ways that take colorful all the way to eye-poppingly artistic. Probably no reason you couldn’t make many of these pretty entrees and more seen here on his Instagram page.

   “What could be healthier than the food you love” – Marie Barone {Everybody Loves Raymond}

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

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Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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Baked Rigatoni with Sausage, Fennel & Peperonata, Nov 6-Nov 12, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Did you buy canned pumpkin to make a pie for Thanksgiving? Wait! Indeed the pie is traditional, but just maybe you might like to take a look at these “21 Delicious Desserts That Start with a Can of Pumpkin” from MyRecipes. Cake, squares, bread, cookies, cupcakes, coffee cakes, pie variations including pumpkin mousse, and then a giant step sideways into fudge and candied nuts.    Well this tale from My Recipes starts out with dealing with lime-less guac and goes on to an interesting take on getting creative with citrus and other acidic components..     I wasn’t familiar with kirbiecravings.com, but it does show the lock icon and really has some pretty interesting stuff on the site. Among the recipes is an apple bread with no flour, butter or oil.

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Shopping Finds – In case you thought singing, dancing, acting, winning top awards and being an all-around nice person defined the limits of Dolly Parton’s talents – Nope! Williams-Sonoma adds “all-star baker” to her resume on their Dolly Parton Baking Collection page. You’ll find both baking accessories and pre-made items, all very pretty    Wear your passion. Visit my page right here on CS for t-shirts featuring coffee, chocolate, and ice cream – and the one that declares, “In this house I’M the celebrity chef.”

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Kitchen Talk – So, after featuring the chocolate ice cream bread last week, discovered I still had some slices of the previous incarnation, the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream bread {08.07.20 Salon} in the freezer that I wanted to use up. Remembering the friend who “French toasted” a waffle, yep, did the same with this bread. And what was so nice even before the butter and syrup, it had all the good flavors of the ice cream bread.    So I know I’m late to the “quinoa party,” but have been thinking about joining in ever since I saw the Mexican version {mine shown} in the Breakfast Bowls feature in our 07.31.20 Salon. Then found tri-color quinoa and that sealed the deal. Note that though the recipe site shows slices of tomato and avocado and hard cooked egg as toppers, and the directions call for dicing and mixing in, I opted for chopping & topping and a swirl of hot sauce.    Bacon jam! Order it from Amazon or make your own, and then spoon it onto a burger, baked potato, grilled cheese, or a cheese plate. I especially liked it on eggs. Some of the commenters said they gave jars of it as gifts. I actually combined a few different bacon jam recipes from those I found on google.

   On the Table  

Feature – Baked rigatoni with sausage, fennel, and peperonata – cheesy too! 

Isn’t it great when you find a tempting recipe not only on the way to something else but also in a rather unexpected place. In this case the source is Williams-Sonoma, whose site I was visiting to find more information on the Dolly Parton baking collection mentioned above in our Shopping Finds.

Of course they do sell food, it’s just that I usually think of them more in terms of cooking and serving rather than prepping. But lo and behold the emporium’s site has a whole lot of recipes.

This one is definitely going on my do list. Hard to resist a winning combo of Italian sausage, three kinds of peppers, two kinds of cheese, and a new fave, fennel.  CS friends, even if like me you really, really, don’t like its siblings licorice and anise, give fennel a try – when cooked, it takes on the most wonderful flavor and texture.

Now one thing to note – the recipe calls for “prepared tomato sauce” which my best guess is just simply canned sauce. Amidst top ratings in the comments there’s a lesser one that refers to the sauce as bland, and I think I would probably have the same reaction. So, along with so much else good going on here, surely if we want we can add some seasonings, or use flavored tomato sauce or pasta sauce.

{Photo from Williams-Sonoma recipe page}

Next week – Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

Recipe    Williams-Sonoma recipe page    Williams-Sonoma cookbooks on Amazon

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make almond butter cups? Oh my, could this rival peanut butter cups? The actual recipe is titled Giant Homemade Almond Butter Cups, and AllRecipes says its prep is the “perfect combination of bitter, sweet and healthy.” And pretty darn easy too, just pouring melted chocolate into lined muffin cups, then balls of almond butter mixed with confectioners sugar, more chocolate, let sit on the counter, done!

Alexa says request: How do you make chicken parmesan roll ups? Now here’s something interesting that can happen with an Alexa request. If you follow a recipe to its source on your computer, maybe even just to print it, you could well come upon an alternative that you like even better. And I did! Now to be fair the original options were just fine, and I have absolutely nothing against the vegetables they included, but I wanted a dish truer to the classic and I sure found it in Chicken Parmesan Rollatini at Food Network Kitchen.

My request: Alexa, give me a cooking tip. She replies with “How to Cook for Just Yourself,”, something that may be exactly what’s going on right now. Among other points, it lists as a perk that you can always make meals that you, you, enjoy. It goes on to cover shopping, prepping, and storing.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you what well known people have birthdays today – say Alexa, what’s the birthday roundup?

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, food, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Found this on the way to something else too – Chocolate Party Pie. Cook and stir 3 3/4 oz chocolate fudge pudding mix, 2 c milk, 2 T packed brown sugar, 1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa & a slightly beaten egg in a saucepan on med heat until it comes to a full boil. Remove from heat & blend in 2 T butter. Cool 5 min stirring twice. Pour into 8″ baked & cooled pie shell. Chill. Top with whipped cream. Easy pie-sy.

   I’ve previously mentioned how much I love Tajin, salty and spicy and citrusy, so good sprinkled on steak, eggs, raw veggies, corn on the cob, tacos, etc, etc, etc. Now I’ve discovered how perfect it is as the rimmer for a bloody mary. Doesn’t hurt to stir some in too! My market carries Tajin but if yours doesn’t and you want to try it Amazon does have it. {So, in the process of finding the link for you also discovered they have Tajin-flavored snacks}.

   Ha, found it! And not surprisingly, it was YouTube that served up this demo for making ginger syrup. What was a surprise is the connection to cocktails. I did gasp a bit when he threw out the strained ginger. Yikes, it probably wouldn’t have the strength of the original, but surely could be used in any recipe calling for ginger, just use more and that would be no problem as the recipe yielded at least a 1 1/2 cups of the stuff. As noted in a previous Salon, if you prefer pre-made you can find it at Amazon.

   “Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

     Zazzle                                       SunFrog

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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