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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
A nice big piece of perfectly-cooked fall-off-the-bone-tender barbecued chicken, hot of the grill grids and dripping with a fresh slather of tangy barbecue sauce, is one of my favorite meals. That said, timing is everything, and the slightest time delay, as little as three short minutes, can cause the chicken to go from succulent, to dry and overcooked -- this is further complicated if one is grilling a variety of various-sized chicken (breasts, legs and thighs). It's easily controlled by babysitting each piece during the last five minutes of the cooking process, but, it's never correctable once the damage is... Continue reading
Posted 9 hours ago at Kitchen Encounters
Pat -- I am so pleased, and, thank-you for taking the time to let me know. You made my day! ~ Melanie
Oven-roasted chicken leg-thigh quarters are on my weeknight meal rotation two or three times a month. They're tender and juicy, and, sigh-oh-my, that gorgeous, golden, crispy skin. Each one is a one-piece drumstick and thigh, which means each piece is the perfect one portion, so, no guesswork involved, you never have any leftovers (unless you want leftovers, then you roast six-eight). No matter what you're seasoning or saucing them with (the possibilities are almost endless), the upfront prep-work is minimal. Into the oven they go for 1 hour, 15-20 minutes, and, your hands are, for the most part, free to... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
Steaming hot mashed potatoes -- I love them, you love them, I know you do, doesn't everyone? In my food world, about the only thing that can be better than a forkful of pure, unadulterated creamy-rich, mashed potatoes is: a forkful of creamy-rich mashed potatoes with a flavorful cheese added -- American, cheddar and gruyère are favorites in my house. Jalapeño Jack cheese is one such cheese too, and, oh-my-sigh, trust me, if you and yours enjoy a little spicy heat, you will not have to call anyone to the table twice if they know you're serving these. Trust me,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
Good morning Vera -- Thanks for the nice comment. Perhaps the apple slices were added at the 99 we happened to eat in -- they were in with the onions. No matter what, it was very, very good! ~ Melanie
Any time of year, at the end of a bad day or a great day, served as a side-dish or a main-course, a creamy-dreamy bowl of luxurious Alfredo-sauced pasta can be just what the doctor ordered. A few pantry ingredients, cheese and cream, plus, one-pot on the stovetop. Fifteen minutes later, you stick a fork in it and all is right with the world. There is no trick to Alfredo. About the only thing one can do wrong is to purchase a jar of bottled glop, which, never mind, let's not go there. A bit of history about the iconic... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Kitchen Encounters
You always bring a smile to face Theresa!
Elaine -- You're right, they're as yummy as they are easy!
Thanks for the nice feedback Sara!
Sometimes the simplest things are the best, and, many times, they conjure up great memories. When I was growing up in Eastern, PA, in our family, if any one of us was coming or going for any reason, we could always count on a supply of sliced ham, hard salami, Swiss and American cheese, in mom's pastel-yellow refrigerator. Sliced as thin as she could get the deli-guy to slice them, all four of us liked all four, and, on white-or-rye or not, we were free to get as creative with the condiments as we wanted. When it came to ham,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
When it comes to breakfast or bunch, I am always looking for the easiest way to serve good food. Mornings in the average family tend to have a lot of things happening at once. I love my family and I enjoy my guests, but, back in the days when I was trying to get three kids off to meet the school bus and my husband out the door to the office, or, fast forward to when I happen to be organizing breakfast for a few overnight guests, no one appreciates having a few time-saving recipes that taste as good as... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Cocinas -- Your kind comment (translated, "I love your cooking blog and follow your posts. In our kitchen company we have recipes like yours."), is very much appreciated. Thank-you!
What started in 1964 as late-night pub grub at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, deep-fried chicken wings, is now found in many forms. Truth told, there's not much that Buffalo-style chicken can't do, and tacos are the perfect marriage of two of our favorite foods. But, are these tacos as good as, or as enjoyable as, eating chicken wings? As a lady who loves wings, but, only in the privacy of my own home (where I'm free to lick my fingers, smack my lips, get goo stuck in my teeth, and, drip sauce on my blouse), yes, while different,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Good morning Theresa -- You are going to LOVE it!
The sweet and savory act of combining porcine and apples is classic. Every whole roasted pig that I've ever seen had an apple in its mouth. I honestly can't remember where I read it or heard this, but, my recollection is: this centuries old custom had to do with pigs being fattened by feeding them apples, so, this was considered a show of respect for the animal, representing it eating apples in life and into eternity (hogs were typically slaughtered in the Fall and apples were in season). All I know for certain is pork and apples go hand-in-hand, it's... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
An over-fried corn tortilla can be like eating broken glass. That super-crispy-crunchy state is best left for frying tortilla wedges or wisps to serve as tortilla chips with dips, or wisps to garnish various Mexican-style soups or main-dishes. No one wants to pick up a taco only to take a bite and have the taco shell shatter all over the plate. This is not a blog post I ever intended to write, but, based on the number of times I get asked how I fry my taco shells, in order to achieve the perfect crisp-yet-pliable texture, I guess I should.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Good morning Theresa -- I am addicted to that dressing!
Mexican food is a favorite of mine, but I often wish it wasn't. Don't misunderstand me -- I can and will gobble up all its flavor-packed goodness with the best of 'em. It's next to impossible for anyone me to resist the melty or crumbly cheeses along with the creamy-rich refried beans, guacamole and crema. That said, more often than not, when dinner is done, I find myself wishing I'd exercised (pun intended) even a modicum of restraint, but, let's face it, despite the array of fresh ingredients used in Mexican food, Mexican fare doesn't offer any genuinely light options... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Sour cream cookies have been a favorite in households for decades -- mine included. They are the perfect little not-too-sweet cookie. They're soft, a bit chewy and need no adornment or intervention. They only require a few on-hand ingredients (unless you're out of sour cream) and take moments to mix. They're good hot, warm, at room temp, and, they keep for days in the cookie jar. I can't think of a better use for a cup of sour cream, shortening and two eggs. I have two recipes for sour cream cookies (see Cook's note below), and both or great. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Nineteen Seventy-Four. I was nineteen years young, a new bride, and, living in our first apartment here in downtown Happy Valley. I was the secretary to the Vice-President of Lending for our towns premier bank. I drove a hot, little lime-green Fiat, got my first miniature poodle and named him Caesar, and, I loved to cook. Life was good (and it still is). While times change and people change, a good recipe does not -- it just gets better and better with age. This is one such recipe, and, these cookies evoke these and more memories every time I bake... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Not everyone is a master of the barbecue grill or smoker. Newsflash. Not everyone wants to be. While I'm more than competent on a gas grill, charcoal gives me fits and the smell of smoke gives me a blinding headache. There's more. When the temperature in the great outdoors is threatening to blow the top off my thermometer, you won't find me outside torturing myself in the blazing heat just to prepare a rack of ribs. It's the AC for me baby, and, trust me when I tell you, you're gonna love the ribs I'm making in the cool oasis... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Linda -- If you took the time to read the post, you'd know it clearly states to use "cook-type" when canning. Sigh.
Macaroni salad has always been a staple at our Fourth of July feast -- just call me a Yankee Doodle. That said, depending on what I'm serving, I don't make it the same way every year. My recipe for classic macaroni salad goes on the table when we're serving all-American hamburgers and hot dogs. This year because Texican-style BBQ'd chicken and ribs (the ribs on Saturday evening and the chicken on Sunday afternoon) will be in the center of the table, my Southwestern-style macaroni, bean and corn salad will the star of the side-dishes on both days. While easy to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat, and, called it macaroni. Fun song to sing? If you've ever wondered why Yankee Doodle would name his feather macaroni, this post will explain. Sans the folks who think Kraft Foods invented macaroni, food historians agree that here in the United States, it had its humble beginning in the kitchen of Thomas Jefferson, who returned from a trip to Paris with a macaroni maker/press which he bought while in Italy. Thank-you Mr. Jefferson for introducing macaroni to America. A bit about macaroni: Macaroni is a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters
Fried spaghetti at midnight. It's kind-of a joke in our house, but, when it comes to late-night snacking in ten minutes or less, reheating a slice of cold pizza in a skillet or frying a portion of leftover spaghetti are at the top of my short list. It goes without saying, frying spaghetti in less than ten minutes does require having cooked, lightly-seasoned, spaghetti in the refrigerator. For reasons unknown to me, this dish works better with day-old pasta (any type can technically be used), and, while the pasta can be lightly-sauced, I prefer it made with unsauced spaghetti. Pasta... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2020 at Kitchen Encounters