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, 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

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



Celebrate Prime Rib Day . . . with Prime Rib, for April 13-19, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Cooking questions, cooking answers, cooking tips    Faking the pastry    Meet Lidia Bastianich in person    “Tee Party”    Perfect prime rib    Smashing garlic    Re-purposing fudge frosting, fudge sauce, cherry tomatoes {no, not in the same dish!}


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Cooking questions? Cook’s Illustrated may well have the answers in their book published a fewKitchen Smarts: Questions and Answers to Boost Your Cooking IQ months ago, “Kitchen Smarts”: “packs together hundreds of definitive, researched, kitchen-tested answers to questions large and small, common and bizarre.” It follows their “Kitchen Hacks”50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks of a few years earlier, also on the same Amazon page. Then there’s also my “50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks.”

Theirs has a lot more than mine but also costs more than mine, though offering some nice discounts. Both of theirs on Kindle and paperback, mine on Kindle at 99 cents. We all earn 4 1/2 stars. Btw, you can also email me Qs at any time and I will do my best to bring you answers.    Smarts   My “50,” 99 cents

  Well when you see a subject line that says, “How to Trick Anyone Into Thinking You’re a Pastry Pro,” you sort of have to go to the site and read the story. I did. You can too. Right here

  Want  to meet Lidia Bastianich? The restaurateur, cookbook author and tv star is currently hitting cities from coast to coast to introduce her new book, “My American Dream,” a “heartwarming, emotional and revelatory memoir.”  You can connect with her in the selected venues now through May 11.  Lidia’s Tour Schedule   “My American Dream” on Amazon

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Party like a kitchen star

This fun t-shirt embodies favorite party elements, balloons, streamers, confetti, and spirited beverages. Colorful too!

Other colors available, men’s & women’s, many sizes.

Tees, sweats, hoodies – hats too.

A’ll crafted at Michigan company SunFrog.

Party Party Party shirts    Hats    CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe  

Friday, April 27 is Prime Rib Day!

Celebrate in your own kitchen or out at a great steakhouse. If you happen to be in Las Vegas . . . may we suggest Oscar’s inside the iconic glass dome of the Plaza Hotel downtown. It’s bone-in right from the carving station and will sit alongside the steakhouse classics, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad and Yorkshire pudding. $40 p/p

What, you’d rather do it yourself? Are you in luck because we have right here a boffo prep from Las Vegas’ own celebrity chef, also cookbook author and cooking instructor, Les Kincaid. And, here ’tis . . .

Perfect Prime Rib from Les Kincaid

Serves 6-8

 1 (4-pound) bone-in standing rib roast

Kosher salt and black pepper

4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
For jus

2 cups beef broth

1 small fresh rosemary sprig

1 small fresh thyme sprig

1 garlic clove, smashed

 Preheat oven 360 degrees F.

One hour before you plan to cook, take the roast out of the refrigerator. Season the roast on all sides liberally with salt and pepper. Don’t add water to the pan, and don’t cover it!

In a small bowl, combine the butter, basil, tarragon and rosemary and mix well. Spread the herb butter all over the roast, applying the heaviest layer to the fat cap.

Place the roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan and cook for about 2 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature deep in the center of 125 degrees F for medium-rare.

Transfer the roast to a platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes or up to 30 minutes. Cut the meat away from the bones and slice the roast thickly or thinly against the grain as desired. Separate the leftover beef rib bones and serve them along with the meat.
Make jus:

Skim fat from pan juices. Add broth, rosemary, thyme, and garlic and deglaze pan by simmering on top of stove over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Transfer to a small saucepan and add any juices that have collected on platter. Gently simmer 10 minutes. Skim fat and season jus with salt and pepper.

NOTES {from Les}: To make the best prime rib:

A thermometer is the absolute best way to guarantee the roast turns out exactly the way you want it. For an accurate reading, push the thermometer into the middle of the roast, making sure the tip is not touching fat or bone (or the pan).

Medium Rare = 130-140 degrees F
Medium = 145-155 dfegrees F

Remember that the roast’s temperature will rise at least 5 degrees after you remove it from the oven.

Allow the roast stand for 15 or 20 minutes before carving to let the juices return to the center.
Also, allow at least 6 ounces of cooked, trimmed meat per adult. A boneless roast will give you about two servings per pound, and a bone-in roast will give you one to one-and-a-half servings.

Les Kincaid’s website


Truth be told, prepping garlic can be a pain in assorted parts of the anatomy. Thanks to the late, funny, and much missed Mr. Food, the process actually can be painless. Here’s what he showed me: put the clove on a work surface {if very large, cut in half and place cut side down}, then take a regular flatware fork and start pressing down all around the edges, gradually making your way to the center.

In addition to not having the pieces stick to everything in sight, there’s the added bonus that you can so easily create whatever result you want. Stop when the pieces are coarse, or continue to make them finer, or add a little salt and turn it into a paste. No muss, no fuss, no cuss.

A Peek at My Week

  As I’m sure you all know, leftovers tease our creativity . So true in a recent pancake venture, said ‘cakes coming out of the freezer because I’m about to experiment with a new recipe {if good, you’ll “hear” it here}. Hmmm, some pears that need to be used up could be good toppers. What else. Hey {however rare} leftover fudge frosting. It went like this, melt a chunk of butter, pour in some maple syrup, stir in a good dollop of frosting till blended and hot, add the diced pears and cook till heated through, plop on. Mmm mmm.

  Leftover leftovers? Well as it turned out, didn’t need all the syrup for the pears so stirred in some hot sauce, peanut butter, and a bit of dissolved beef bouillon. Voila! Impromptu {OK,  totally non-authentic, but really good nonetheless} mole! And that will go on tonight’s bean and cheese burritos.

  Those who regularly check in here know we HATE to waste food. So when I recently spied some cherry tomatoes going crepe-y, grabbed a small skillet and the olive oil. Heated that up and tossed smashed garlic, salted a bit, till fragrant, oh just a minute or two, then in with the ‘mators and a good glug of hot sauce. Cooked until a lot of the juice evaporated, then piled atop quartered avocado. Yeah it was good! Proportions to your taste of course, but I used five smallish garlic cloves for 8 tomato-ettes.

  Posted Oprah’s Book Club pick on my Nice Life Books site– Thursdays

♦  Posted  The Daily’s “Countdown of 10 Cutest Puppies – on YouTube”  link on my DoggieShirtz site – Thursdays

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