2012-10-11-omaglogo.jpg
By Ted Allen


The host of the Food Network's "Chopped" and author of In My Kitchen transforms weeknight meals in the simplest way possible.

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  • Roast Chicken

    Serve it with chimichurri, the Argentine condiment that's made from herbs, garlic, oil, and vinegar. I add roasted jalapeños and red wine to mine for extra punch, and I use it on steak, too.

  • Burgers

    Add diced portobello or cremini mushrooms. They bring a great flavor to the meat, and the moisture they add is especially helpful if you're making turkey burgers, which tend to be dry.

  • Mac And Cheese

    Try using gruyére -- it's a wonderful melting cheese with a nutty flavor. I also mix in a few spoonfuls of dijon mustard and top with bread crumbs and fresh Parmesan before baking. That's the best part.

  • Meatloaf

    Instead of glazing the meat with the traditional ketchup before or after baking, warm up a good salsa with chipotle and slather on top, which will add a fresher, smokier taste to the dish.

  • Pork Chops

    Giardiniera, the spicy pickled veggies you buy in jars, are great with pork. Brown a few chops on the stove, then pour a jar of giardiniera into the pan, liquid and all, and simmer. Cook until medium, ten to 15 minutes.

Click through the slideshow below to see vintage recipes whose ingredients you might not want to include....

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  • Ham And Banana Surprise

    On their own, the ingredients are good. But together, they're a disaster. Even an adventurous eater -- one who doesn't flinch at the thought of eating blowfish or <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/resurrection-cheese_n_1375249.html" target="_hplink">resurrection cheese</a> -- might shudder at the mention of this combination. Ham, banana and hollandaise sauce all in one dish -- we hope to never see that on a restaurant menu. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://oldsweetsong.com/" target="_hplink">Old Sweet Song</a>.</em>

  • Raccoon Recipe

    We've heard of people eating raccoons, and we're sure it taste just like chicken. But we never, ever expected to see an actual recipe for this protein printed in a real cookbook. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.midcenturymenu.com/2011/09/the-yule-sandwich-loga-mid-century-recipe-test/" target="_hplink">Mid Century Menu</a>.</em>

  • Creamed Eggs In Corned Beef Crust

    At the very least, this recipe is creative. It definitely doesn't look appetizing though. This savory pie is made of a corned beef crust and then filled with cream of mushroom soup and hard-boiled eggs. Seconds anyone? <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.midcenturymenu.com/2011/09/the-yule-sandwich-loga-mid-century-recipe-test/" target="_hplink">Mid Century Menu</a>.</em>

  • Festive Chicken Salad Log

    Some food should be festive. Gingerbread cookies, Thanksgiving yams, even fruit cake. But not all foods should claim this title; and for some reason when they do, they're always multi-colored. The four flavors/colors include sesame seeds, black olives, green onions and pimiento. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://vintagerecipecards.com/page/3/" target="_hplink">Vintage Recipe Cards</a>.</em>

  • Frankfurter Spectacular

    No party would be complete without a center piece dish. And a pineapple wrapped in hot dogs is definitely eye catching. (Because a regular pineapple might not do the trick). Leave it to Weight Watchers to come up with such an interesting party dish. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://oldsweetsong.com/" target="_hplink">Old Sweet Song</a>.</em>

  • The Yule Sandwich Log

    The fact that this photo is in black and white saves it just a bit since you can't really tell what you're looking at. This is a quadruple decker sandwich -- four different fillings, topped with cranberry-cheese frosting. The recipe starts with a mixture of deviled ham, pickles, Miracle Whip and peanut butter. That's right, peanut butter. The other fillings include egg and bacon, avocado pineapple, and cheese and shrimp. All those flavors go into just one serving, so you get to enjoy it all in one bite. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.midcenturymenu.com/2011/09/the-yule-sandwich-loga-mid-century-recipe-test/" target="_hplink">Mid Century Menu</a>.</em>

  • Pork Cake

    This is a pork cake. And no, there aren't little chunks of ham or bacon in this dessert (yes, dessert). This cake has all the usual ingredients you'd find in a cake, like sugar and flour, but it's got no butter. Instead, it uses pork fat. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://www.midcenturymenu.com/2011/09/the-yule-sandwich-loga-mid-century-recipe-test/" target="_hplink">Mid Century Menu</a>.</em>

  • Cheese Chips

    Sounds like a solid recipe. A chip dip made of cheddar, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. But what we really love about it is that it's so convenient. Each chip is already prepared with a bit of dip. And we're also entranced by the Hellraiser-ish centerpiece. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://vintagerecipecards.com/page/3/" target="_hplink">Vintage Recipe Cards</a>.</em>

  • Crown Roast Of Spareribs

    Why don't we see this anymore? If there's anything that can make ribs just a little better, it's serving them around an ample amount of stuffing. If this were cornbread stuffing, the recipe would be even more impressive. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://vintagerecipecards.com/page/3/" target="_hplink">Vintage Recipe Cards</a>.</em>

  • Herb Baked Fish

    Food styling was a whole different world just a few decades ago. It's true that many people don't like the image of fish eyes, particulary if it's a fish that one's going to call dinner. But replacing that eye with a slide of pimento-stuffed green olive is a questionable artistic decision. <em>Image courtesy of <a href="http://vintagerecipecards.com/page/3/" target="_hplink">Vintage Recipe Cards</a>.</em>

  • WATCH: Shrimp Dip

    While this is one tasty dip, we must admit we did come across a lot of them in old cookbooks.