Polly-O Wins For “Best Ricotta Cheese”





Polly-O Natural Cheese  Polly-O Ricotta Cheese – a subsidiary of Kraft Foods

Congratulations to the winner of our “Best Ricotta Cheese” category: Polly-O brand ricotta cheese.

You may think that anyone can whip up a delectable dish of lasagna simply by following the recipe on the back of a lasagna pasta box.  Wrong!

  Barilla Lasagne pasta

What those handy directions on the back of dry lasagna pasta don’t tell you is which brand of ricotta to use.  Common grocery store ricotta fail to deliver the supreme taste and texture of Polly-O.

Polly-O is creamy and delicious enough to eat right out of the container! Use it for stuffing dates (see recipe below) or filling pasta such as ravioli, and even as a topping for toasted bagels.  Create desserts using Polly-O that include cheesecake, cannoli’s (see recipe below), and Tiramasu.

Classic Cannolis recipe Photo courtesy Kraftrecipes.com

Classic Cannolis Recipe


  • 1 container  (32 oz.) POLLY-O Original Ricotta Cheese
  • 3/4 cup  powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp.  vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp.  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup  miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 cannolis shells


  • Mix ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until blended. Stir in chocolate chips; cover.Refrigerate 30 minutes. Fill shells with cheese mixture. Serve immediately – - or cover and refrigerate until ready to consume.

Tip: Fill cannolis shells by spooning ricotta mixture into pastry bag fitted with wide tip or scoop into a zipped plastic sandwich bag and cut an small opening in one bottom corner with scissors. Pipe into shells.


Medjool dates



  • 10 Medjool dates
  • 3 oz. Polly-O ricotta cheese blended with  3 oz. Gorgonzola cheese
  • 10 slices slightly cooked bacon (Jennie-O brand turkey bacon is a tasty alternative to regular bacon)


  • Split one side of Medjool date lengthwise and remove pit. Stuff with 1 tsp. Polly-O ricotta cheese and Gorgonzola blend.
  • Wrap bacon strip around date and secure with toothpick. Place under oven broiler. Turn once to ensure even cooking and drain well before serving warm.

Find other date recipes at http://www.southfloridagourmet.com/site/whats-cooking/on-food-a-wine/908-oh-how-i-love-my-dates-.html

   Stuffed Dates: Bacon meets dates

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Make a fruit tray or serve a fruit platter that looks good and tastes great



Did you volunteer to bring a fruit tray to a party? Don’t worry, we’ve got fabulous tips about how to create a fruit tray that looks great and tastes delicious

Scooped-out pineapple or cantaloupe halves look scrumptious when filled with a variety of fresh fruit. Slice off a small portion of the bottom of the pineapple or cantaloupe so that it sits level and place it on a decorative plate (which you can pick up for a dollar or two at most dollar outlets.) 

While making a fruit tray LOOK good is desirable, it is how the fruit TASTES that is most important.

  • GO SEASONAL when putting together a fruit tray – use only fruit that is ripe and ready to eat

   Lychee fruit

  • THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX and consider a TROPICAL FRUIT tray using Thai-inspired fruit such as lychees, star fruit, watermelon, dragon fruit and  mango [visit your local Asian market for great finds on unique fruit]
  • DON’T FORGET TO AIM FOR small, whole fruit whenever possible, including:
  1. Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
  2. Melons such as cantaloupe or honeydew – use a melon-baller to make fruit scoops that are fun to eat
  3. Grapes of all shades (seedless, of course) – Look for “champagne” grapes, which are tiny grapes that are as sweetly tasty as they are unique
  4. Forget about serving apple or pear slices — they will turn brown quickly
  5. Include dried fruit. Banana chips and dried apricots are ideal and will get gobbled up.
Other tips:
  • Provide toothpicks for spearing fruit
  • Include a small dipping bowl for guests to enjoy with their fruit, such as Truvia© brand crystals, which taste deliciously like sugar yet are made with stevia
  • Small fondue pots filled with melted chocolate are a good match for fresh fruit, as are chocolate fountains
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Attack of Chip Woman & Bag of Potato Chips


LET’S pretend that you are famished and have not eaten in 3 days.  You are sitting in an empty room at an equally empty table.  A man walks in and offers you a bag of cookies or a bag of potato chips with the caveat that you may choose only one bag.  Which would you select?  The bag of potato chips or the cookies? If you reply, “Neither, I would choose broccoli,” then a pox upon you.

SERIOUSLY, though, I wish illness upon no one.  In fact, I myself had quite a scare yesterday.  You see, yesterday I had an attack…a potato chip attack; and I am still reeling with remorse.  More on that in a minute.

MUCH like driving a car without GPS, * made a maneuvering error in the grocery store yesterday:  I went down the “chip aisle,” or as I like to call it, “Pandora’s Box.” And yes, I bought a bag of potato chips.  Salt & vinegar chips, if you must know.

WE ALL know that it is okay to indulge in potato chips every now and then, and everything in moderation, blah-blah-blah.  However, when it comes to a sinfully crunchy bag of chips, the word “moderation” holds little meaning for me.  Why snack on a single serving of 12 chips (120 calories) when you can snarf down half a bag of potato chips (calorie total unknown).

YOU probably think that I am remorseful and full of self-loathing because I ate SO MANY chips yesterday, don’t you?  Perhaps you believe that I am consumed with guilt for my gluttony.

IF SO, you are incorrect. The root of my regret lies in…French onion dip.  No potato chip feast is complete without French onion dip.  If you have never been blessed enough to enjoy this evil-good combination of foods, don’t start now or you could end up like me, greedily opening a bag of potato chips on the way home from the grocery store.  Darn, it’s hard to drive when you’re dipping a potato chip into dip.

BUT, I digress; my self-disgust lies with the fact that I bought “Fat Free” French onion dip.  Why in the heck did I destroy my date with snack royalty by purchasing fat free dip?  Perhaps I was subconsciously planning to eat the entire bag of potato chips and was looking for caloric redemption.

FAT free dip, for those who are not condiment-savvy, tastes like Elmer’s glue with seasoning; it’s not worth buying and certainly not worth wasting a chip-fest on.

SO, take it from me, my chip-eating brethren.  Enjoy your fried morsels of potato goodness with  full-on, sour-cream based French onion dip.  If a love like this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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Best Trail Mix is Ginger Zinger by Safeway Select


Safeway Select Trail Mix Virtually sodium free and packed with roasted nuts and dried fruits, the best trail mix is Ginger Zinger by Safeway Select (also sold at Tom Thumb grocery stores).

What makes Ginger Zinger the best trail mix?  A few things: Nuts are roasted and include the delightful hazelnut/filbert in addition to roasted almonds, walnuts, and dried blueberries, cranberries and cherries for sweetness.

The dried, sweetened ginger included in Ginger Zinger trail mix is scant and barely detectable but it flavors the entire concoction with a taste-bud pleasing experience that lifts this trail mix above others

Another reason why the best trail mix is Ginger Zinger by Safeway Select: no candy (such as M&M)’s, no sesame sticks, and virtually no salt

Nutritional Info. Per 1/4 c. serving: 150 calories, 10g fat (1g sat fat/0 g trans fat). Zero cholesterol, 1% DV sodium, 14g (5%) carbs, fiber 2g, protein 3g, vitamin E 15% DV.

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Pro Super Lube in Allen, Texas STINKS at 711 E. Main Street


Pro Super Lube, Allen, TX    Check out this review of terrible customer service by Chris, the manager at Pro Super Lube in Allen, Texas at 711 E. Main.

“I had a nightmare experience at Pro Super Lube at 711 E. Main in Allen, Texas June, 2014.  A mechanic at Pro Super Lube finished my oil change then slammed the hood shut. Oops, he forgot to remove the DRILL that he left under the hood to use for removing my air filter. ”

“The mechanic never said a word and we drove off. Way to own up to his negligence. Fortunately, my 12 year old son was standing outside during the oil change and saw the incident. Son told me about it as we drove away and I stopped the car in a parking lot and got out to take a look.  My hood was bent and the drill bent one of the large hinges that shuts the hood.”

“I immediately returned to Pro Super Lube on East Main in Allen and spoke with Chris, the manager.  He told me that he would take my hood off and try to “unbend” it. While that offer was certainly creative, I said, “No, thanks, I’ll just have my insurance take care of it,” to which Chris replied, “You can’t do that, when you signed your receipt, it states that all repair work must be done by one of our body shops and I will drive your car there to get the work done.”  What a lie.”

“The story gets worse. I told Chris no way was I going to let him “drive my car to one of their body shops”. I asked for the insurance information and name of the owner. Chris told me, “I can’t give you that information,” and he refused to provide me with any further information. I had to pay $250 deductible to get the hood and hinge repaired – it’s kind of dangerous to drive around with a hood that isn’t properly latched. ”

“My insurance company could not get anyone at Pro Super Lube to provide the name of their insurance company.  I am out $250 because of the negligence of a mechanic at Pro Super Lube — talk about an expensive oil change. If you visit Pro Super Lube, ask them about the story of the lady with the blue Honda Pilot and inquire about how they handled the situation.”



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Easy Lobster Bisque Recipe – SO Delicious!


Use this easy lobster bisque recipe and assemble ready-made ingredients for a homemade-tasting lobster bisque that is easy to make and SO delicious!

Homemade Tomato Bisque Soup- www.foodreviewsandrecipesforum.com

Easy Lobster Bisque  www.foodreviewsandrecipesforum.com

You will need:

  1. One cup prepared lobster, preferably from tail and claws, cut into 1-inch pieces
  2. 1 can Campbell’s tomato bisque soup plus 1/2 can water
  3. 1 /2 a box of Swanson’s reduced fat recipe cream starter (in the soup aisle)
  4. 1 c. vegetable broth
  5. Dash black pepper
  6. 1/4 c. white wine (Chablis or other mild wine)



  1. 1.  Blend all ingredients together (except for lobster and pepper) and bring to a low simmer for 20-minutes.  Add more broth as needed.
  2. 2.  Add lobster and simmer for 10-additional minutes.
  3. 3.  Pour into serving bowl and top with a dash of black pepper.
  4. 4.  Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top, if desired.

We used 1 small, prepared lobster on sale from our grocery store which yielded 1 c. lobster meat.


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Bagel of the Month Club – Review 2014



You have heard of fruit of the month clubs and coffee of the month clubs, but did you know about New York Bagel of the Month Club?

“It’s the water,” is what you hear many a New Yorker say when they are asked why New York bagels are so much tastier than bagels made elsewhere (most New Yorkers say the same thing about a slice of genuine New York pizza — and we wholeheartedly agree.)

We recently discovered Bagel of the Month Club online because our North Texas area is bereft of a truly good bagel — trust me.  In our case, it’s nice to be able to order something as a delicious breakfast item when having overnight guests (who love the special touch, by the way.)

   Bagel of the Month Club prices can be a bit steep for the casual consumer, but one of their delivery packages would be an ideal choice for New York companies wishing to woo business plus an exciting selection for folks outside the U.S. who are curious about genuine N.Y. bagels. 

Additionally, a soldier stationed away from home or American citizens staying abroad would similarly find a genuine New York bagel a slice of heaven.

Let’s face it – - when it comes to living outside of the Big Apple, a good bagel is hard to find.

How do you like your bagel? Toasted or not? Sliced or whole? Cream cheese or lox? Grab that tub of cream cheese and let’s get to schmearing. View offerings from BOMC at http://www.bagelofthemonthclub.com/new-york-bagels/

Love this concept, Bagel of the Month Club!

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Wolfgang Puck’s 560 – Review 2014


   Atop the iconic Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas, glowing with thousands of lights in the evening sky over the Dallas skyline, sits a restaurant named for the height of the tower that houses Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, Five Sixty.  Positioned within a large, orb-shaped edifice with a rotating room that provides diners with a 360 degree view of the Dallas skyline, Wolfgang Pucks’ Five Sixty restaurant looms romantically over the city as a destination for gourmets and food plebeians alike.

The Asian-inspired restaurant at 300 Reunion Blvd. opened to great local fanfare and has remained a consistent hot spot since inception.  The modern interior provides visual impact while the ambience is elegant and soothing.

While braised beef ribs and some chicken-centric items are on its menu, 560′s offerings are heavy on the seafood including sushi, sashimi, and for example, crispy Maine lobster & shrimp spring rolls with “honey ten-spice sauce”.  Other unique offerings with Wolfgang Puck-flair include pork-belly pot stickers with dried cherries, black vinegar, and chili oil in addition to the popular, “Salt and pepper calamari”.

Two bars within Wolfgang Puck’s 560 provide a more casual dining experience and diners can save a few dollars Mondays-Thursdays from 5-7 for happy hour prices on the Izakaya menu.

We like the Chef’s 7-Course Tasting ($135 per person/$200 with wine).  With prices like this, we reserve our visits for special occasions.  If you do go, dress up a little bit (men are required to wear collars) in order to meet the dress code.  Additionally, we suggest you leave small children at home to insure the pleasure of other guests as they pony up the big bucks to enjoy dining out in a beautiful setting with beautiful food.

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Wo Hop Chinese Restaurant Review – Chinatown Two Bridges NYC – 2014 Review

WO-HOP Chinese Restaurant – Chinatown Two Bridges, NYC, NY

Go downstairs at 17 Mott Street to experience good Chinese food served with a side of adventure.  Locals may be the savvy diners here as many order their food to-go because Wo-Hop is teeny-tiny in size (the bathrooms alone are a challenge to maneuver) but the food is large on flavor.

Giant egg rolls are a Wo Hop specialty, fabulously crisp outside and steaming with deliciousness inside.  Lo-mein noodles are a must-have as are the egg drop and sweet and sour soup.  If there is a line to enter Wo-Hop (and there likely will be), do what you can to wait for a table to experience true Chinatown fare and lightning-fast service.








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Grimaldi’s – Allen, Texas Review 2014



  We love pizza – whether it is a slice of genuine New York pie or from an ordinary pizza chain.  However, every now and then you have to enjoy pizza that reminds you how extraordinary pizza can be.  Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria serves up that pizza.  Our nearest location is located at 836 Market Street in Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.  Grimaldi’s dishes out exquisite pizzas with a thin and chewy crust that only a coal brick oven pizza can, well, deliver.

The quality of the ingredients are noticeably superior to those of most pizza-serving restaurants.  A personal size, 12” pizza or calzone is plenty for two if you also order one of their large, crisp salads (we like the Mediterranean salad).    An attractive, Italian-themed interior beckons with starched, white tablecloths.

Patio seating in the green space outside is worth considering to watch ducks float by in the creek of the outdoor shopping resort where Grimaldi’s is located.  Summer concerts on the green make for a leisurely place to eat and sip wine while the kids can play on the grassy area outside the patio.  Wine list is pleasing and the service top-notch.


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