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KitchenEncounters
Melanie's Kitchen, Boalsburg, PA 16827
Experienced cooking consultant, instructor and recipe developer. PS: The subscriber/follower feature on this blog does not work. I've tried to work it out with typepad to no avail. Every time I get several hundred, the system turns it back to zero. I have lots of followers. Life's a beach. Follow me, Melanie Preschutti on Facebook. Have a nice day.
Interests: Teaching and inspiring people of any level of expertise to enjoy cooking great food of any cuisine.
Recent Activity
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I'm often asked what I cook just for myself, meaning: what I eat when no one else is around or no one else is looking. My answer is always the same: Most times I make a sandwich or nuke some soup (which require no actual cooking), but, when I do want to place a pot on the stovetop, I treat myself to a super-quick, super-easy pasta dish that is a spin-off of a childhood favorite (my dad's version of mac and cheese) which was an odd combination of hot, buttered-macaroni tossed with cold cottage cheese and seasoned with garlic powder,... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
Jay -- what a nice comment. Thank-you! ~ Melanie
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I know I'm not alone on this point, C-19 has changed what I store in my pantry -- truth told, it's not bad, just different. In preparation for the lock down that occurred a few months ago, I stocked several boxes of Rice-a-Roni, four boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a big box of Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes, and, a few boxes of Stovetop stuffing mix and Betty Crocker cheesy scalloped potatoes. Thanks to them being staples in my mom's pantry, I knew these easy-to-make convenience-food side-dishes not only have a long shelf life, they're tasty. In the case... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
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As a lover of Asian fare, teriyaki-in-general is one of my favorite ways to cook. Teriyaki is as well known outside of Japan as sushi or ramen is, so, most American people, kids included, will give "teriyaki anything" a try. A bottle of teriyaki sauce has been a staple condiment in my pantry for as long as I've had a pantry, standing right next to the elites: Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, Hellman's mayonnaise, K.C. Masterpiece barbecue sauce, and, Lee & Perrin's worcestershire sauce. That said, teriyaki sauce is seriously simple to make, and, it can be customized to suit your... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
Kathy -- Thanks for the feedback. Every seems to be VERY pleased with this recipe, but, you seem to be the only one who has tried substituting milk for water (in place of powdered milk). MANY thanks for letting us all know it works! ~ Melanie
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More than a few foodie people I know, me included, secretly fantasize about owning a small-town, mom-and-pop-type diner -- a simple little eatery, with a dozen or so counter stools, plus a few booths lined up in front of a row of windows too. A safe harbor where the local clientele can meander in almost any time of day for a cup of coffee and breakfast, the lunch or dinner special, or, a slice of lemon meringue pie. A big piece of juicy barbecued chicken, hot out of the skillet, slathered in a copious amount of semi-caramelized barbecue sauce served... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
Linda -- I wish I could answer your question (it's a good question). I have never tried it, so, I do not know. If you decide to try it, please report back and let me (and others) know if it works. ~ Mel.
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A Paillard, a noun, is a thin, lightly-pounded cut, large or small, of any type of meat -- most commonly beef, chicken, lamb, pork or veal. That said, occasionally, in certain culinary applications, firm seafood, like lobster, shrimp or scallops, can, for the right reason, become a paillard. It's also possible to use some vegetables to make a paillard. In certain areas of the United States, paillards are simply referred to as "cutlets". Paillard, the verb, generally speaking, means to lightly-pound. I'm using a few boneless, skinless chicken thighs as an example. Paillard (PI-yahrd): This fancy French word dating back... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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Next to Buffalo-style chicken anything, a big piece of juicy barbecued chicken, hot off the outdoor grill grids, slathered in a copious amount of semi-caramelized barbecue sauce is one of my favorite things. There's more. I like to take that seething hot piece of barbecued chicken and plop it atop a cold, crisp salad. Yes, of course, the hot chicken semi-wilts some of those greens, but when I put a knife-and fork to this barbecued chicken salad meal, I can't stop eating. A bit about paillard (PI-yahrd): This fancy French word means "to pound", and, references a lightly-pounded portion-sized slice... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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The best of both worlds -- corn pancakes. They're a combination of pancake batter and Johnny cake batter mixed together in one bowl to make: corn pancakes. They're wonderful -- slightly sweeter and considerably-lighter than typical Johnny cakes. In a perfect world, I'd get up in the wee hours of the AM and make 'em from scratch. Well, newsflash, it's not a perfect world, and, I can still make a great corn pancake breakfast by combining store-bought pancake mix and store-bought corn-muffin mix. No eye rolling please -- once you stick a fork in one of these and take a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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Can a really, I mean REALLY good dinner entrée be made using three ingredients? Yes, on occasion it can, and, let's be honest, whether your food world moves at a fast pace or a slow pace, a three-ingredient dinner entrée recipe in-the-style of this one (meaning you're proud to plate and serve it to your family, or, to a few guests), is: a recipe worth having -- it's "the stuff" good home cooks are made of. There's no shame in shortcuts as long they are high-quality ones. For example: Using a bottle of seriously-good store-bought teriyaki sauce, instead of making... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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When I was three, my parents built a home in the suburbs of Tamaqua, PA -- Hometown, PA. Hometown, was/is a community of mostly one-story ranch and bi-level homes that is best described as where the post-WWII generation built their dream homes in the latter 1950's, 60's and 70's -- homes with one or two car garages or an occasional car port, well-maintained lawns with backyard patios, swing sets and badminton nets, barbecue grills, etc. -- a great neighborhood to raise kids. Amongst other things, Hometown had its own fire company, elementary school, a couple of gas stations, a diner,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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If you're a fan of, or prefer, a thin-and-crispy light-and-airy crust as the foil for your pizza or pizza creations, this is the recipe you've been searching for. Thanks to a pizza-pro friend who schooled me on the virtues of beer in his pizza dough (by emptying almost an entire bottle of beer into his flour mixture in place of water), all it took was one taste when his pizza was done for me to try it in my own home kitchen. It changed one of my pizza dough recipes forever -- my thin crust recipe. One ingredient, one substitution,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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I was a hot dog in a past life. A hot dog a day keeps the doctor away. I say silly stuff like this all the time. But, why wouldn't I? I am the hot dog queen in my kitchen. My husband's an aficionado of Italian-American-style sausage, pepper and onion sandwiches (which I can take-or-leave). In my food world, the hot dog reigns supreme, and, I like all kinds too -- from New-York-style Dirty Water Dogs, to New Jersey-style Italian hot dogs, to, last but not least, Chicago-style hot dogs. That said, my hands-down favorite is: Texas-Style. Read on: Texas... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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Try as I might, I can't let more than a month or two go by without either: succumbing to the craving to deep-fry and eat Buffalo-style chicken wings, or, experiment with a new way to enjoy the sweet-heat of Buffalo-sauced anything. Today, I decided to try my hand at low-and-slow cooked Buffalo-style pork ribs -- when they were done, I finished them off under the broiler, just to crisp the fat cap and caramelize the sauce a bit. Remember the famous ad-man line, "pork -- the other white meat"? Well, I'll be making these again, and often. Life in the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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Mom's macaroni salad. This, now retro, 1950's era recipe is nothing fancy, nothing special, and, certainly not gourmet. It's simply old-fashioned, pull-a-chair-up-to-the-kitchen-table lip-smacking goodness. There's more, if one keeps this easy--to-make, creamy-crunchy picnic-and-potluck side-dish staple in their refrigerator, it only takes one scoop from the bowl to a plate to turn anything, from a lunchtime sandwich to a dinnertime pork chop, into a delightful meal. A bowl of no-nonsense, easy-to-make old-fashioned goodness: 3/4 cup high-quality mayonnaise 2 tablespoons ballpark-style yellow mustard 4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 1/2 teaspoon celery seed 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper 6... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
Honey -- I'm looking at the recipe now and the images are all loaded. Sometimes the Internet (yours, mine, or someone else's) is simply slow. Sorry to say, there is nothing I can do to control it.
Susan -- Because of the raw eggs, this pasta is not meant to be frozen. Drying the pasta won't help, nor will cooking them first. This pasta is meant to be made and eaten fresh, as soon as possible after it is made. That said, it's great pasta! ~ Mel.
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Experimenting with pizza dough is not something I do often. Why? Because one has to be willing to run the risk of sacrificing a pizza in the event it doesn't work. Let's put it another way, one has to be of the mindset to experiment with a new dough or a variation on an existing one, and (chuckle if you want to but it's really not a laughing matter if you're wed to eating pizza), for a few short hours, one must throw caution to the wind and live dangerously. I did this today, and, I gotta say, I came... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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Beef tips and gravy. It's one of those humble-yet-hearty, frugally-inexpensive, weeknight meals our moms and grandmoms served to a hungry family after purchasing a pound or three of cheap-at-twice-the-price odds-and-end chunks of beef cubes (aka "stew beef") at the butcher shop. No one had to be called to the table twice when this dinner was goin' on the table. Some families preferred their meal ladled atop white rice, others liked it ladled atop mashed potatoes, and, still others served it ladled atop buttered egg noodles. My family fell into the egg noodle category. My recipe came via my mother and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
Gabriella -- Thanks for the nice comment and feedback. What a great choice to serve it with a pork roast and mashed potatoes. Sounds luscious!
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Chicken wings. While not even close to the top of my list of healthy-eating snacks or meals, they are at the top of my list of favorite snacks or meals, and, much like the greater percentage of the rest of the population of the United States, from time-to-time I get a craving for them. Also, much like the greater percentage of the rest of the population of the United States, I am in agreement, deep-fried wings, as opposed to air-fried oven-roasted or barbecue-grilled, are the best wings. What started in 1964 as late-night pub grub at the Anchor Bar in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
Elaine -- Yes, I did tell you that, and, you should just straight divide the recipe to make 1/4 of the quantity. The stew will come out great. You are not increasing the quantity, you are decreasing, so you will be fine. In my post, I explained, generally speaking, how to take a recipe from a small batch to a large batch. Since my big batch is seasoned accordingly, dividing by four will be close to, if not 100% spot on.
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Three distinctly-different recipes with three decidedly-different results, all using one, inexpensive common-to-us-all, ingredient: Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. At 59 cents for each eye-catching blue-and-yellow box, it's been a time-saving staple in my pantry for over four decades. I am not alone. A week ago, there was discussion, on one of my Facebook friend's pages, about store-bought cornbread mixes. We discussed the rising cost of them, and, which one us "cheaters" consider the best. As it turned out, almost unanimously (Martha White gets honorable mention), it was the Jiffy brand. We went on to share our favorite ways to "doctor it"... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters
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A few snow storms ago, more than three storms and within 7-10 days, but, truth told, there've been so many snow events, I've lost track, there was discussion, on one of my Facebook friend's pages, about store-bought cornbread mixes. We discussed the rising cost of them, and, which one us "cheaters" consider the best. As it turned out, almost unanimously, it was the 59-cent-a-box Jiffy brand. We went on to share our favorite ways to "doctor it" up. Fun, yum and don't tell anyone it's a mix. Jiffy corn muffin mix, has been a staple in my pantry for over... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2021 at Kitchen Encounters