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chocoannie's Profile

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Hazleton, PA

Try Mea's---in a former bank in downtown Hazleton; Top of the 80s has good food and a great view---rather dated decor; Ovalons also in town is good; in Conyngham try the Brass Buckle--funky spot but fun--billed as Mexican but has a huge menu...

Ovalon Restaurant
254 N Wyoming St, Hazleton, PA 18201

Aug 11, 2010
chocoannie in Pennsylvania

baked mashed potatoes--or rather mashed baked potatoes...

I make a (rather common) casserole that mixes mashed potatoes with cream cheese, sour cream and other nice high-fat stuff. The problem is I make a huge amount, using about ten pounds of potatoes, and I HATE peeling potatoes. Is there any reason I can't bake and scoop the potatoes rather than peel and boil?

Nov 20, 2009
chocoannie in Home Cooking

what to do with GIANT MARSHMALLOWS?!?!???

These are really adorable--made me chuckle just looking at them!

Aug 25, 2009
chocoannie in General Topics

I-81 Between Harrisburg & Wilkes Barre Recs Please

Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot right off the interestate. A few miles down the road off exit 145 in Conyngham is a little place called the Brass Buckle. It bills itself as a Mexican restaurant (the name doesn't sound Mexican!) and has a lot of Mexican food, but has a pretty extensive menu. It's kind of fun and the food is good. If nothing else turns up here, you might give it a try! Someone might mention Top of the 80s which is in the same area. I remember my grandmother used to go there---would love to hear an update......

Jul 28, 2009
chocoannie in Pennsylvania

Sell me on a single-bowl sink

I have the kind of sink mentioned several times (double sink--one side significantly larger than the other) and I wouldn't have anything else. The whole discussion of a sink big enough to wash your biggest pots is valid, but, much more often than washing big pots, I'm looking for just a little bit of hot soapy water to wipe off my counters, appliances, etc. Filling that big sink with hot water several times a day for that would be an incredible waste of water (and the whole rubber dishpan in the sink thing would just be annoying several times a day)....

Jul 16, 2009
chocoannie in Cookware

What is the best dip you ever had and the recipe?

I've used this recipe before, and it's always a hit. After making it several times, I found an even easier version with the same taste......simply layer the ingredients in a glass dish--cream cheese on the bottom, ranch dressing and hot sauce mixed together, cooked chicken, cheese....then microwave it rather than bake (the cheese doesn't get hard that way) . Scoop with celery sticks or nacho chips.

Jun 19, 2009
chocoannie in Home Cooking

Looking for good restaurant near Harrisburg / Hempfield

Try TJ Rockwells in Elizabethtown--not far from Lancaster. Kid friendly--even large rowdy groups. Feed them the rhino fries after they've played (not before! they won't be able to move). In warmer weather, their outside deck is just great fun.

Nov 13, 2008
chocoannie in Pennsylvania

Easy meal ideas to cook in a vacation rental

This is a recipe my kids all took to college apartments with them because it doesn't use seasonings, etc. You need some cooked chicken but everything else is available at any grocery store.

Cook 8 ozs of pasta or noodles. Meanwhile melt a stick of better in a frying pan. Add one envelope of Ranch dressing mix and stir. Add cooked chicken (about 2 cups maybe?) and some frozen veggies if you want (peas are good, but it's also fine without the veggies) and heat through. Toss with the cooked noodles.

Jun 23, 2008
chocoannie in Home Cooking

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good


What's really interesting to me is the responses to that--pretty much equally split between those who find it very common (many Candians!) and those who said they get strange looks when they do it. I can't understand how something so delicious isn't totally universal!

Feb 25, 2008
chocoannie in General Topics

good food on the way to, and in hershey

Obviously it's too late now, but for future reference....I highly recommend the Hershey Pantry, out of town on Chocolate Ave (I think it's choc. ave.)---give it a try for lunch or dinner.....

Feb 11, 2008
chocoannie in Pennsylvania

Take-Out: To Tip or Not To Tip ? [Moved from Quebec board]

What about curbside-to-go places....where someone brings the food out to your car? I feel like a tip is in order, but how much?

Feb 05, 2008
chocoannie in Not About Food

I hate whole wheat bread.

I agree. I used to really avoid whole wheat pasta--thought it tasted like rubber bands. Because my husband is a healthy eater and really wanted whole grains, I started mixing my pasta: some regular, some whole wheat. Over time, I increased the amount of whole wheat, and now we eat only whole wheat. I really believe though that it's not because we eased into it, but because it has actually gotten better. Glad to hear someone else has observed the same thing.....

Cracker Barrel

this post makes me laugh---I've always said that CB only serves "beige food"--and read this last post---cornbread, gravy, chicken, dumplings, potatoes---not a color in sight! That said.....their breaksfasts are pretty good---eggs, toast, grits, pancakes... hmmmmmm more beige!

Jan 29, 2008
chocoannie in Chains

Recipes for starving college students?

Just a little aside....give him a fondue set for Christmas....that way he can make what look like fancy dishes for "date night"--my son impressed many a date with chocolate fondue that was nothing more than melted chocolate with strawberries and some other goodies around it.....pretty amusing.

Sep 17, 2007
chocoannie in Home Cooking

Recipes for starving college students?

This is not exactly a gourmet delight, but it is easy, will feed a small crowd, and is generally liked by college students.
--Break up two tubes of refrigerated biscuits (I warned you that it wasn't gourmet!) and spread around a 9x13 greased pan
--Brown a pound of ground beef and sprinkle over biscuits
--Pour over a jar or two of spaghetti sauce
--Add whatever other pizza toppings you like or have around: onions, peppers, etc.
--Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

This is a very forgiving recipe: kids can add or subtract ingredients, alter the amounts, and still end up with something fairly edible. The good news is that they become better cooks and eaters as time goes on!

Sep 13, 2007
chocoannie in Home Cooking

What foods do you HAVE to mail order?

When I travel to Pennsylvania, I bring back bottles and bottles of Gazeebo Room Salad dressing--without a doubt, the best dressing/marinade ever! The regular Greek dressing is incredible, but I do sacrifice a little and buy the "lite"--it's still pretty darn good!--can't find it here in NJ!

Aug 20, 2007
chocoannie in General Topics

Fast and Fancy Dessert Help!

Chocolate dipped strawberries---if you've never done them, let me assure you they are so easy. Melt some good chocolate---add a spoonful of solid shortening to get the right consistency. Dip your strawberries by the stem and let harden on waxed paper. Can't believe what the "gourmet" candy stores charge for these!

Jun 26, 2007
chocoannie in Home Cooking

Great chow along rte 80 betw. PhilPA and Ohio?

Bloomsburg does have some nice restaurants.....and there's also the Pine Barn Inn in Danville. Oprah actually stopped there on her road trip for what it's worth. It did recently change hands, so I don't know if it's still good, but it's been a successful restaurant and inn for years.

Jun 21, 2007
chocoannie in Pennsylvania

Romantic Anniversary Dinner - Hershey PA Area

The Hershey Pantry is also a great place----unusual atmosphere (that's a positive) and good food. It's a little more artsy (not sure if that's the right word) than the Hotel---one of my favorites.....

Jun 19, 2007
chocoannie in Pennsylvania

Kid-Friendly in Lancaster/Strasburg

You might try Rockwells in Elizabethtown (not far). If the wait isn't long, request to eat outside--lots to look at and I think there's even a playground of sorts right on the deck(not completely sure about that as my playground days are over), and if you aren't worried about a heart attack, order rhino fries!

Jun 18, 2007
chocoannie in Pennsylvania

lunch on broadway!

I'm taking the train into NYC on Wednesday with my mother (late 70s), daughter and niece (20ish). We're looking for a good lunch spot (salads, sandwiches.....nothing fancy). We need a place that's reasonable walking distance (yes, my mother can walk with the best of us)--say probably no further up than about 55th street. We'll have plenty of time to walk, etc. Ideas?

Jun 18, 2007
chocoannie in Manhattan

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

Two combos that I think may be Pennsylvania Dutch:
cottage cheese and apple butter
french fries with vinegar

Jun 12, 2007
chocoannie in General Topics

Blueberries and Raspberries

This recipe is an absolute favorite in my family. Go ahead and make two--it freezes well (if there is actually any left over)

Jun 04, 2007
chocoannie in Home Cooking

Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family

My mom used to make "fried cinnamon buns"--she'd take those boxed white-icing-yellow cake cinnamon buns, slice them into about thirds and fry them in a skillet of butter (lots and lots of butter)--it was absolutely a heart attack on a plate (but truthfully worth it!).

May 31, 2007
chocoannie in Home Cooking

Brewery Restaurants in NJ

Long Valley Pub and Brewery is one of our favorite local restaurants......really like that you can have a sandwich or salad or full dinner--whatever strikes your fancy. Often my husband and I are on different wavelengths on any given night, so it's nice to have a fairly extensive menu (not extensive like a chain [thank goodness] but extensive nevertheless.

May 31, 2007
chocoannie in New Jersey

Food That Travels....

I'm traveling to a party out of state and was asked to bring a "finger dessert." I'd really like to take a platter of assorted brownies, bar cookies, etc., so I'm looking for recipes for some unusual baked goods that travel well. I'll have to make them on a Thursday for a party on Saturday, so they also have to "sleep" well (as my best friend's aunt used to say about anything that was better a day or two later--always liked the term). Any suggestions?

May 30, 2007
chocoannie in Home Cooking

Best Cookbooks--cooking with fresh vegetables, for omnivores?

I don't even know if this book is still in print, but my absolute favorite produce cookbook is Too Many Tomatoes. My own copy (given to me by my husband who grew up in a gardening family while I did not) is tattered, torn, and taped, and I still use it constantly.

May 29, 2007
chocoannie in Home Cooking

Jersey Tomatoes

As a fairly new transplant to Jersey, I'll buy the idea that Jersey corn is outstanding; the tomatoes,however.....not so much. The others are correct; the best tomatoes come out of your own garden and go directly to your plate/mouth.

May 27, 2007
chocoannie in General Topics

Favorite Donut Flavors

When I was a kid and we had these mini donuts, my mom would slice the left overs (if there were any!) in half horizontally, butter them, and run them under the broiler. It was a great treat!

May 24, 2007
chocoannie in General Topics

Argumentative food writing for a college course

Barbara Kingsolver has a book called something like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle--it's a narrative of a year her family spent raising much of their own food and attempting to eat totally locally grown/raised food. I read an excerpt in a magazine that was quite good---have not read the entire book

May 23, 2007
chocoannie in Food Media & News