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


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

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


Looking for something in CS?

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


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


Doritos Chicken Casserole, Nov 1-Nov 7, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – recipe pre-test / donairs / perfect carrots    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – celebrate & mangia    FEATURED RECIPE – links now, mine later    TIP – unexpected plate   THE WEEK –  Parm corn butter / soup ahoy / cheesy chat 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well this is helpful. Long time Food & Wine executive food editor, and cookbook editor to culinary stars, Tina Ujlaki clues us on how to avoid some disappointments in the kitchen in “How to {sort of} know if a recipe will work.” Some smart tips here.

  I love discovering new foods and sharing them with Salon folks who may also be unfamiliar with them. In this case it was a wrap that echoes such dishes in other cultures as burritos, the recently featured saltenas, and gyros, most closely resembling the latter, though with  a touch of spice, and a creamy sweet and sour sauce. Called donairs, they hail from Eastern Canada., but can now be found across the provinces, sometimes lending their flavor profile to pizza, tacos, even saw an Eggs Benedict. Google has the scoop.

  The pros at Food & Wine tell us how to make carrots in a way that just might steal the spotlight from the entree. Roasting! The simple prep slightly caramelizes the veggie to bring out its natural sweetness. In addition to the main story, “How to roast carrots to perfection,” the page also includes links for alternately pickling, glazing, and pureeing into a dip.


If you’re going to be celebrating anyway

. . . why not “celebrate like an Italian”??? You can do just that with Lidia Bastianich’s cookbook of the same name.

With a focus on fun and festivities, the TV chef promises the recipes are not only easy and delicious but as well fit any Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party: A Cookbookcelebration, from a casual pizza party to a grand buffet. And that includes Italian-style libations.

Some of the preps that caught my eye: fried mozzarella sandwich skewers, leek/walnut/gorgonzola salad, eggplant parmigiana stacks, baked rigatoni with tomato sauce/meatballs/eggs, chocolate hazelnut bread parfait.

You’ll also find theme party guidelines, entertainment advice, wine tips, decor and service suggestions. And then with all that in your tool bag you’re ready to, as Lidia says in the book’s dedication, “have many grand and delicious moments.”

“Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian” cookbook    Bastianich’s other cookbooks    Her DVDs


So, here’s what happened 

I promised in last week’s look-ahead that our recipe for this week would be Doritos Chicken Casserole. And indeed I made this very dish.

The good news – excellent flavor. The bad news, did not at all like the topping, drawn from two recipes, just dried out.

What I’m doing then, rather than share a recipe that falls short of CS standards, is posting a google link for all kinds of variations of this dish. I have considered some of these, but didn’t like the idea that the chips might be soggy or there might be a shortfall on flavor – but I sure haven’t tried all and there may be some very good ones there.

Meanwhile, I know I have a good start on my version and will make the tweaks it needs. Watch for it soon.

Dorito Chicken dishes on Google

♦  TIP  

Did you know about this?

Those take-out cartons ubiquitous in Asian restaurants have a secret. Clue: they’re like a culinary version of a transformer.

Yep, turns out the classic kind can drop its flaps and become a “plate.” Though you may have to be a little careful if the food is extra saucy.

Leftovers? No problem, just fold the carton right back up. Add a bit of masking/freezer tape if needed.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Cool This prep takes elote, street corn, into a tasty new realm. Actually called Parmesan Corn Butter, it blends the main ingredients into a compound butter, suggested as a topping for grilled chicken, fish or steak. I’m thinking the stuff would even be good on toast or vegetables, but the way I did use it was {shown} on grilled shrimp.

  Soup rescue. So, I made a new chicken and vegetable soup. Despite having a lot of flavor elements, it just didn’t quite hit the mark. Nuts, after all that chopping. Aha! Poured in some vegetable juice and the whole character changed, richer, mouthier and wonderfully more flavorful.

  So, I tried Burger King’s new cheese tots. Not bad really, even if more tot than cheese. And, good or bad depending on your preference, not over-salted. One other thing, may not be as big as you might think, about the size of a silver dollar and maybe 1/2″ thick. Added some virtue to the equation by using them, cut up, as a salad topper. Also good the next morning cooked into scrambled eggs.

Meanwhile what is totally good there is the Twix pie. Yum. {and, no, no affiliation with BK}

So far next week: Salon-tested sweet potato casserole, Irish Whiskey pumpkin pie, NOWFE discount tix, recalls/now what, marshmallow chart, cinnamon apple bread {another version, this one using store-bought rolls}

Last week, just below: easy bottled salad dressing upgrades, pomegranate punch, Watergate salad, Cake Boss cake kits, bacon & egg brunch burritos, scary veggie platter, cookbook-loving bookstore, pizza rescue, Jose Andres’ spinach so rich 

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, others/mine

Link sources – recipe eval/MyRecipes, all Bastianich/Amazon, Parm corn/Food & Wine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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



Mex makes salads exciting, May 31-June 6, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon 

  TIDBITS – cake plate trick / spicin’ / pubtime for pups {M – uh huh, and for kitties???}    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – behind the “Beard”    FEATURED RECIPE – s.o.b salads & free book  ♦  TIP – sammie upgrade    THE WEEK – Beard-ism / saucy discovery / fridge smarts

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Elevate your desserts. Literally. The secret behind “The $0 Trick for Bakery Style Desserts” is . . . bowls. Even before you click through, be aware that we’re talking here about presentation, not recipes. But intriguing nonetheless.

  Want to spice up your life in some new ways? Discard that first thought and have a look at “13 Next Level Spices and Seasonings.” Truth be told, it’s quite likely some of these will be familiar to CS-ers, and probably already in the pantry. But the good news is there are recipes links for each of these flavor boosters – e.g., stuffed roasted pumpkin, blackberry cardamom mulled wine, pecan breaded pork chops with beer sauce, dark chocolate ice cream with Sichuan peanut brittele, lots more.

  When you’re serving ice cold brews on a hot summer day – don’t forget the dog. Yep, Rover can join right in with the quaffing thanks to “Good Boy Dog Beer.” It’s brewed like people beer but not fermented, and thus non-alcoholic. Just to be good parents, may want to get your vet’s take on the beverage before sliding one down the bar to your good boy or good girl.


Inside the mind of a culinary legend

The behind-the-catering-scene book “Hotbox” featured in our 05.24.19 Salon opens with a guest chef dinner at the James Beard Foundation, which made me realize how little I knew about this iconic chef, widely regarded at the First Foodie, though I now know that title may more appropriately belong to his mom. I learned that fact and so many other revelatory details in the PBS film, “James Beard.”American Masters: James Beard DVD

What a fascinating story his life tells, from childhood travails, to mom’s influence, to cooking in exchange for invites, to his founding role in The Four Seasons restaurant and its pioneering devotion to seasonal cuisine, to his personal and professional relationships, to his authorship of about a dozen cookbooks, to his ascent to legendary status, to his post-mortem inspiration for the James Beard Foundation and Awards.

The tale is vastly enriched by lots of perspectives from those who knew him best. The DVD is about an hour long, part of PBS American Master Series, four stars on Amazon, Prime Eligible, just under $10.

“James Beard” DVD    James Beard cookbooks    CS Fine Chefs shop


Color, texture, flavor, ole! {s.o.b. – south of the border}

In our 07.06.18 Salon, we featured Irish salad with cheese. Although it was a fine dish with its shaved Dubliner, it wasn’t really a match for what I’d thoroughly enjoyed in a totally authentic Irish pub, crisp cool veggies topped with warm melty cheese. Onward. Decided to apply the idea to a Mex mix. The lettuces, green onion, black olives and serrano were cold from the fridge. Tomatoes room temp. And then melted cheddar, sour cream and lime wedges.

And making that one immediately gave me a taste for Mexican Tuna Dip, which I first discovered in Cabo San Lucas, and subsequently found right in one of my fave local restaurants. As the name implies, the lively mix of cilantro, onion, tomato, jalapeno, mayo is intended as a dip but is actually quite a treat on toast or lettuce.

It also occurred to me that the melty salad could be an entree with the addition of a bit of rotisserie chicken, and then avocado making it even more substantial. Btw, with cheese pretty much all over this one, it’s a bit more like that Irish salad that started the ball of fun rolling.

Meanwhile found this Kindle book on Amazon, covering Mexican side dish and main dish salads. It doesn’t have any reviews yet but we may not care – it’s free! Yay!

“Mexican Salads”

♦  TIP  

Sammie glamour

In one of the demos in the Beard DVD there was such an easy way to turn a humble sandwich into a pretty picture. It was his signature combo of onions and homemade mayo on bread that in some versions is cut into rounds, but here it was triangles.

Then the magic. More mayo was spread on the outside and then the sandwich edges were rolled in freshly chopped parsley. Depending on the filling, thinking this could also be dill, basil, oregano, etc.

In my take – pastrami, Swiss, lettuce and tomatoes, with parsley – as you can see I left one side ungarnished to contrast with the layers of filling. For you creative CS-ers, the variations are endless.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I just loved that James Beard DVD, felt like just about anyone interested in food could comfortably have a nice chat with him despite his fame. One of the quotes in the film is especially endearing to us CS-ers who love freshness and flavor and hate wasting food and money: “It is true thrift to use the best ingredients available. Use them carefully and wisely and you will have less waste than if you searched for bargains and end up with a full garbage pail.”

♦  Just like some headlines can draw in the food-inclined, so for sure can some recipe names. Would you agree that “Comeback Sauce” might fall smack into that category? I first came across this reference in Food & Wine where it was served with grilled shrimp, and then in short order in the “Comfort Food Shortcuts” cookbook {02.22.19 Salon} where it teamed up with mashed potato crusted flounder. Not too surprisingly, google is all over it. Since as I’ve learned it’s a southern tradition, I made the really good one from “Southern Living.” Great on wings!

  So this is a good idea. In a recent episode, Ree Drummond not only cleaned out her refrigerator, but then, aha, moved the items with the closest expiration dates to the front of the shelves. I had recently washed my fridge from stem to stern and now, thanks Ree, added step two. Another way to help minimize waste!

So far next week: brunch bounty, chocolate peanut butter mousse, chocolate cookbook, make a sandwich cake, chocolate tip {sensing a theme here}, anti-anxiety foods, hello Mezcal, the ol’ pub in the yard trick

Looking for something in CS? – scroll and check Misty’s previews OR enter the item in the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – dvd/Amazon, all others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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