Category Archives: Cheat Meals

 It Seems To Be A Trader Joe’s Kinda Day

Mom & I went over to our local Trader Joe’s yesterday and picked up a few things.

Let’s start with Breakfast this morning.

Popped these puppies into the Toaster for a few minutes, top them with softened Butter and Maple Syrup; added a few Pork Link Sausages on the side and …

Next up, Lunch.

I heated these cuties up in the Air Fryer:
Preheat at 390° for 5 minutes (that’s as hot as mine goes)
A very light spritz of Olive Oil over the Rolls
Into the hot AF basket in a single layer (the five Rolls just fit)
Cook for 6 minutes
Cook for another 6 minutes
Slice on the diagonal, serve with some Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
and you’ve got a very nice light lunch for 3 (DH had 1 1/2 Rolls along with a bowl of Edamame in the shell)

Mom said these Rolls tasted just like the ones she had in Thailand 

*Cook’s Note: I think that the next time that we three have these, and we will, I would go 14 minutes in total. A tiny bit mushy in the middle but tasty all the same.

Cook for your family!

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Menus For The Quarantined Life ~ Part 7

Smile Day Six!


We’ve had Wintery-Mix since very early this morning,
it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s dreary




DH slept in and wasn’t in the mood for any sort
of Breakfast, again, so I finished off the last
of the Local-Style Beef Stew ala Chef Keoni
from Foodland

ONO! (that’s delicious in Hawaiian)




By the time Noon rolled around,
DH was starving!
So I cooked some thick Spaghetti
and warmed up the last of that
Pork Ragu (I still have 4 servings in the deep freeze)
I made for Sunday Supper.
I asked DH, who’s wife makes them
Pasta for lunch?
“Tony Soprano, that’s who!”




I wasn’t in the mood to really cook anything,
so I simply warmed some leftover steamed White Rice
and a boil-in-bag of Zippy’s Chili from back home,
aka Honolulu. I brought back a bunch of the
stuff, frozen, in my suitcase
Add some chopped Sweet Onions and Diamond Bakery
Soda Crackers
, also from Hawaii via my suitcase…
THAT’S comfort for us!

I’m stuffed 

*Post script: DH keeps looking the in `fridge,
freaking out that we’re running out of food!

Moi: Have you looked in the BOTH of the freezers yet?
DH: No
(as I whip open in the indoor one)
Moi: LOOK! See all of these frozen vegetables …
(as I throw open the kitchen pantry door)
Moi: LOOK! Do you see all of this?
(As I grab him by the hand and gently, yet firmly, guide him to the garage)
Moi: LOOK! Do you see my inventory of what’s in the Deep Freeze?
(As I yank open my dry storage cabinets)
Moi: LOOK! Do you see all of this food?
DH: WOW!  I know I’ve teased you in the past that you have too much stuff, but this is a good thing. I see this now. Look at all of this Pasta and Rice and …
You can make up all sorts of dishes, can’t you, with all of this?
Moi: Yup 

Arizona To Florida Road Trip October 2019 ~ Part 10

Another day has dawned in Key West Florida and we’ve got places to go and people to see, but let’s have breakfast first.



On my excursions across the street from the hotel to Publix, I found Goldman’s Bagel Deli, oh_my_gawd!
I only wish that I had discovered this small little joint when we first got here!
I haven’t had that good of a bagel in a very, very long time.
We decided to share a Bagel Breakfast Sandwich and a full brekkie plate, MMM! We ate every scrape! 

But like I said, places to go!



Truman’s Little White House.
We found a metered stall were we thought would be pretty close, NOPE!
We must have walked something like 8 blocks in this sweltering heat and humidity.
Poor DH was soaked by the time we got there and wished he had brought an extra shirt to change into.
Anyways, the tour was all indoors and AIR CONDITIONED!!!
That was pretty nifty!



We found our car and headed out in search of lunch.
I had been wanting to go to Eaton Street Seafood Market for Stone Crab Claws… well, we were one day too early.
The nice gal behind the counter said that they’d be getting theirs that evening, if I wanted to come back.
Well, we’re here now, let’s have a Lobster Roll instead.
That was wonderful and the Plantain Chips were something that I had never had before.

It had been a long, hot day, let’s go back to the hotel, cool off and live to fight another day.

We decided to head out early the next day to beat the heat and were off for Hemingway’s Home Tour. I was excited!
I had heard so much about this place and really wanted to see it for myself.



What an interesting home with such history to it.
And the cats, oh, they’re everywhere, even on the roof!

We had skipped breakfast in leu of a huge highlight for both of us:
Duval Street and Margaritaville!



It was early and they had just opened when we got there.
When in Rome … I just had to have a Margarita, The Perfect Margarita!
We decided to share a Club House Sandwich and Fries, mostly because we were going back to get me some Stone Crabs for dinner in the hotel room!!!!



Before we headed back to the hotel, we made our stop into Eaton Street Seafood Market again.
YUM! I was in heaven, let me tell you friends and neighbors!



We got another ready-made meal in the refrigerator section at Publix for DH, and bought a slice of Key Lime Pie from Eaton Street, again different.

What a great end to another wonderful day in Key West Florida.
But alas, this is our last day.

Tomorrow we leave and head back to the mainland.


Arizona To Florida Road Trip October 2019 ~ Part 8

Next stop was a check mark off my bucket list … Key West Florida.
Even though I’m from a place with beautiful beaches and the Pacific Ocean surrounding the island, I’ve always wanted to come here.

Our drive South from Key Largo to Key West was spectacular! We had been told that the Seven Mile Bridge would be spooky, but we didn’t find that to be so. DH had driven down here with his buddy’s back when we were all young adults, but that was on the “old bridge” As we passed it along side the new one, I couldn’t imagine it being sturdy and yes probably scary back then.



What I did see as odd was something in the air, off in the distance… IT’S A BLIMP! DH thought that it was most likely a weather blimp, as we were close to an Air Station. So I looked that up and yup, he’s correct! That was kinda cool.



We got ourselves checked in to our hotel, and boy-howdy-dowdy let me tell you guys, THIS  is a real nice place!



This is out our back door!



Not a bad place at all!

I am SO glad that the hotel that we had booked to begin with had their pool closed and we decided to find a different hotel, FOR SURE!!!



We sat in the chaise lounge chairs after a dip in the pool, and watched the sunset, gorgeous.



And what did I spy across the street from the hotel but another Publix.
Dinner, done!






Arizona To Florida Road Trip October 2019 ~ Part 2

Florida Here We Come! …

We like to plot out our Road Trips long before we leave.
We map out the roads we’ll take, the hotels we’ll stay at and look for attractions as well as places to eat.

Well, there was a small hic-cup the night before we started to head East towards Florida.

I got an email from the hotel we’d booked in Key West Florida, right across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. It seems that they were closing their pool and were so sorry for any inconveniences this may cause.
I thought, oh well, that’s okay, there’s the beach, right?
My husband thought otherwise…

“Nope! You need a pool when you’re in Florida, it’s just too hot and humid. Call them up and cancel our reservation, we’ll look for something else.”
It’s a good thing this happened actually, because I found an even better place that was cheaper! A fairly new hotel/resort, so there you go. But we’ll talk about this more once we get there…

So off we go …

Our first overnight stop was in Ft. Stockton Texas.
I had thought ahead and made us one of our favorite meals prior to leaving that lovely apartment with a gas grill: Teriyaki Chicken, Steamed White Rice and my Quick Cucumber KimChee.


(file photo-I forgot to take a snapshot, I was too tired)


This made the long day of driving easier, let me tell you.
We’ve learned that it’s better to have a pre-made meal that can be microwaved once we set-up camp in our hotel for the night.
Sitting in a restaurant sometimes can be unpleasant at times like these.
It was a fast continental free breakfast the next morning and we were off to …

San Antonio Texas.

My husband booked us into a wonderful historic hotel just a coupla blocks from The RiverWalk and The Alamo.



I think this was one of the nicest places we’ve stayed yet! 



The included breakfast at our hotel was a full hot meal with the coolest Waffle Iron!
Can you see the selection of syrups? Man!
I didn’t take a picture, but I had THE BEST Grits that I smothered in Sausage gravy, scrambled eggs and sausage on the side.



After breakfast, we wandered down to The RiverWalk, and really just walked around, beautiful!

But man howdy dowdy let me tell you it was sooooo humid! 
I had some forethought though and brought along my paper folding fan that I had bought at Marukai back sometime ago… do you know how many folks remarked “smart gal!” YUP! I also stashed a washcloth from the hotel into my bag so that DH could mop his brow. 



It was so hot and humid that we were in search of any sort of air conditioning we could find!
Landry’s Seafood Restaurant on The RiverWalk had just opened, so we scooted on in. We were the first guests for the day and got a fabulous table, inside, overlooking the water.
As we looked over the menu both my husband and I agreed that when possible on this Road Trip, we would eat fresh seafood as much as we could; we were in the right place!



We also decided that we would each order a starter and than share an entrée, if we were still hungry there’s always dessert.
DH ordered a dozen Oysters; I had a Caesar Salad and we shared the Snapper, marvelous!

The following day, we walked over to The Alamo, WOW!



This was so worth the short walk in the humidity, but now we needed AC!!! 



Schilo’s, what a find!
This was not on my radar but so glad that we found it.
Homemade Root Beer, Soft Pretzels with yummy Hot Mustard and the biggest Chef Salad I’ve ever seen in my life, which we shared by the way.
Our waitress was so nice, she brought us an extra bowl and two different salad dressings.
Didn’t know that you get refills on the Root Beer, so dessert was out of the question. What a fantastic lunch! 



We waddled back to our hotel and decided that since this was our last night in San Antonio, we’d stay in. In the lobby were many different frozen meals and dessert items, 💡 DING!  Dinner’s covered.

Tomorrow we ride at dawn …





A Dinner Request

Sometimes, you just want something simple, tasty, and nostalgic for dinner.

DH had made what I thought at first was an odd request for supper, “Let’s have Mac and Cheese with Hot Dogs one night”.


I made a little more grown-up version of a School Lunch favorite with Trader Joe’s Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese, along with a lower sodium, tastier Hot Dog, cut up and pan-fried-crispy.  I thought that Peas & Carrots would really throw it all into the kiddo range, dont’cha think?


Snacks To Go

My husband and I went to Costco the other day, and this caught my eye.

I found these at Costco

I’m still trying to figure out why this bugs me.  There are three readymade snack-packs, the cost is about $6 USD, for that busy who-ever.  This must be targeted towards that person who just can’t find the time to go to the market, buy a couple of healthful snack items and put it all together for the next day or week even.  Isn’t that why you can now find snack sized zip top baggies, so that we can make up our own food-to-go?

But wait, there was more!

I found this at Costco as well

I must have seen 4 different types of premade stuff, all for what I thought anyways, was expensive.  I know that there is a market for this type of product, but I am having the hardest time wrapping my head around this.

This trend first started a while back for the kids, Lunchables®, and now I see that you can even get a snack subscription mailed to you.  You can get five snack bags for $19.95 USD … I’m in the wrong business!

Thank you for indulging me, I’ll get off my soap box now.

Four Chicken Thighs Three Ways

I am very frugal, well in some situations anyway.

My husband and I had spent Thanksgiving with Mr. & Mrs. DF’s in Northern Arizona and drove ‘back down the hill’ later on Black Friday.  What to make for dinner then?

Black Friday Dinner

I rummaged through the pantry and found Trader Joe’s Mini Ravioli (they’re dried, cheese filled pasta), okay.  I also spied Trader Joe’s Marinara, yup.  In the `fridge there was half of a jar of Trader Joe’s Basil Pesto.  Yeah, now you’re talkin’, I’m not a big fan of Red Sauce.  A Protein then, how about some poached boneless-skinless Chicken Thighs, cooled and then shredded.

You got yourself dinner in no time, but WAIT!

Homemade Chicken Broth

Don’t throw out that poaching liquor.  I always add aromatics to the pot, like the tail ends of onions, celery, carrots, parsley stems and such (I save all of those in a zip-top bag in the freezer).  Add a Bay Leaf or two, some smashed Garlic cloves and Black Pepper Corns; maybe even some dried Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (it’s that a song?).  Chicken Broth is used in so many different recipes.  Divide it up in, oh I don’t know, maybe cup size containers and freeze it for later use.

So, here’s the third way I STRETCHED those four Chicken Thighs, because we didn’t eat all of it.

Chicken Salad with leftover poached Chicken Thigh meat

Chicken Salad for lunch the next day!  Add some diced celery, onions, parsley, s&p, granulated garlic, a touch of cayenne pepper and then just a hint of mayonnaise.  Any combination of flavors that your household likes.  Serve it as a sandwich, on a Green Salad, or how about as a spread for Crackers?


Ft. Ruger Market, FISH!!

Here’s something that we don’t get In The Middle Of The Desert,

We went over to Fort Ruger Market, one of our old favorites for Poke.  MAN!  Can you see the prices?  But this stuff is so fresh, I mean, straight off the fishing boats this morning.  The Smoked Tako or Octopus was like eating Beef, really tasty.  The Ahi or Tuna Poke has super fresh, as in plucked from the Ocean this morning, as well as the Limu or Seaweed.  I asked for a dash of Shoyu on the Tako Onion and Ahi.  Before you freak out too much and say, ‘I can’t eat raw fish’, the Octopus is cooked.

We took our booty back to the apartment and had dinner el fresco on our lanai, overlooking Diamond Head.

Shoyu Chicken, assorted Poke, Cucumber Kim Chee and steamed Rice


I had some leftover Shoyu Chicken, Cucumber Kim Chee and some steamed Rice.  WOW!!

Menu Board at Ft. Ruger Market


I thought about getting us some Opihi, but, GEEZ!!  That’s okay, I’ll pass.  A quarter pound container would be $15.25 before tax (yes, Hawaii taxes EVERYTHING!).  That stuff is like gold.

Ft. Ruger Market


So if you every make it to Oahu, do rent a car, do try the different local foods, do go to Ft. Ruger Market and get some fish and maybe even a six-pack of beer to wash it all down.


I Cheat From Time To Time

… I admit it. I don’t make every single meal totally from scratch, and quite honestly, my husband does enjoy some of the convenience foods out there. In particular, Sloppy Joes and potato chips, one of his favorite comfort meals.

sloppy joes

We’ve tried all of the different brands out on the market, but I gotta say, we like Del Monte the best. What a simple-supper.

Brown some ground meat, be it beef, chicken or turkey (I never tried pork before), drain off any oil in the pan; add the sauce and heat through.

DH is a huge fan of the cheap, soft, white hamburger buns for this dish. A big handful of kettle chips an ice cold Root beer and I’ve got myself one satisfied customer.