Category Archives: Cooking At Home

Meatless Quesadilla For Lunch

I was hunting around the kitchen for a different sort of dish for lunch for myself. I found about a half a cup of canned Black Beans that I had stashed in the deep freeze, along with some Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Corn, Hatch Green Chiles and some Flour Tortillas from my local Carniceria.

A Meatless Quesadilla!


I’m thinkin’ y’all don’t need a recipe per se for this dish, but for those of use who do …

Auntie Doni’s Meatless Quesadilla

2 large Flour Tortillas (our’s are about 9inches or so)
1/2 C. canned Black Beans, rinsed and drained well
1/2 C. frozen Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Corn, thawed & drained (or any one you have on hand)
1/4 C. Green Chiles, chopped and drained well
1/2 – 3/4 C. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (you choose what you like)

In a dry 10 inch skillet, heat over medium-high until it’s good and hot.
Place one of the Tortillas in the pan, cover with the rest of the ingredients, starting and ending with the Cheese.
Place the second Tortillas over it all, pressing it down gently with a spatula.
Once the Cheese starts to melt on the bottom, carefully flip and toast the other side.
Remove to a cutting board and slice into either 6 or 8 pieces.
Plate and serve with your choice of toppings, or not. I just used more Cheese, `cuz there’s never too much Cheese for me! I would have loved some sliced Avocado, Sour Cream and Salsa 

I think next time I make myself a Quesadilla, I’m going to use this:


along with some shredded Chicken 

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

… and if you could, hit that ‘like’ button, leave a comment below maybe just to say ALOHA; subscribe to my blog if you like what you’re reading and get an email when a new post has been uploaded.

MAHALO!

More Copycat Zippy’s Macaroni Salad

I’m just over the Moon!

Back in 2013 I posted the first of two installments of my Copycat Zippy’s Macaroni Salad.

https://mykitcheninthemiddleofthedes…acaroni-salad/

If you’re from Hawaii, or you’ve been there and eaten at Zippy’s Restaurant, then you know! That is some of the best Mac Salad you’ll ever have, IMHO anyways.

Having retired and moved away from Hawaii back in 2007  I was on a quest to recreate this dish, along with many others. It has taken me YEARS to get it, but I think it’s there.

So why am I excited you may ask … well, two folks who “follow” me have read my posts and made their own Copycat Zippy’s Macaroni Salad for themselves!!!! 

Back in 2017, Krystle from Pictures & Plane Tickets, one of my original blog followers and fellow blogger, sent me an email with the photo above.

Big Mahalo Krystle!

The second response that I’ve received to let me know that another follower from a different Social Media Group that I am a member of, also tried it!  She made this rendition of my recipe AND is even interested in making it again, with my added twist of the Tuna and chopped Black Olives 

I love to make maybe half of the Mac Salad this was for a quick lunch!

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

… and if you could, hit that ‘like’ button, leave a comment below maybe just to say ALOHA; subscribe to my blog if you like what you’re reading and get an email when a new post has been uploaded.

MAHALO!

Never Have I Ever Made ~ #3 … Chili Tater Tots

REALLY!

I’d seen this many times, not only on menus but also the homemade versions on Pinterest. I had found a single-serve packet of my Paniolo Chili  in the Deep Freeze and was thinking of this atop a Baked Potato, but I didn’t have one.

(No, we’re not going to use the masher today, this is a file photo of the Tots)

What I did have was some Trader Joe’s Potato Tots!

DING!

Twenty minutes later, give or take, with some add-ons like shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese and chopped Sweet White Onion (dang it, I forgot the Sour Cream! ) … we’ve got a hot lunch!!

I’m going to call this dish my Paniolo Chili Tots 

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.

Cook for your family!

oh, and spread some ALOHA today!

 

*** side note: I’m having fun with these ‘series’ blog posts, can ya tell?

 

Another Food As Gifts Idea

I had 4 Hoagie Rolls, that weren’t really that great,
and I forgot about them in the pantry … they went stale 

** note to self: don’t EVER buy rolls at Safeway again 

So I ground them up pretty fine in the Food Processor,
spread them out on sheet pans, toasted them in a low oven for about 5
minutes, PLAIN, no seasonings.  I do this with any leftover, stale white bread.  Do you know how much those blue cans of Dried Bread Crumbs cost?  Rather than throw out old bread, make bread crumbs and stash them in the freezer 💡

I let them cool and packaged them all pretty like
for my Neighborhood Gal Pals. They’re in zip-top
baggies in those embellished brown paper
lunch sacks, I gotta craft it up 

I went plain so that the recipient could flavor them
as they wish for the intended recipe.

Food as gifts, for free!
Share the Aloha

My Instant Pot® Go-Around #8

I got two Instant Pot® accessories that I’ve been wanting to try,
but haven’t had the time until now.

I also did a bunch of research on Cheesecakes in the Instant Pot®
World. I found this recipe, a bit involved, very OCD about it, but …
So I took a very deep breath and dove in.

I made the crust with the option of adding Flour, for a crisper/firmer crust.
Meh, I don’t think I’d do that again … too crumble-y for us.
I also didn’t care for the color of this cake. I’ve been using Bakers Extract for awhile now, ever since the price of Vanilla Extract went through the roof! I think that’s the issue there, so …
But the flavor is quite nice and it does make a smaller cake, especially for just us two (I’m not sharing btw).

In conclusion: I’m stickin’ with my girl Martha and using her recipe!

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

Cook for your family!

Hawaii-Style Chopped Steak

This post is another one of those, ‘I don’t want to forget this recipe’ entries.  It’s so ONO (delicious in Hawaiian).

I found this recipe when I was searching the WWW for something different to make for dinner.
I clipped it from the Honolulu Star Bulletin, circa 2008.
I did put my own twist on it, you’ll find those differences
posted below in red ink.
It’s a different way to serve Beef Steak, whether it’s Flank, Tri Tip,
Sirloin or Skirt.

 

Chopped Steak

“Favorite Island Cookery Book IV” Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin (1985)

1 pound tender beef, thinly sliced (I used 1/2lb. NY Strip, `cuz that what I had)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (Peanut Oil)
2 onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used about 1 C.)
+/- 1 C. Sweet Bell Pepper, sliced

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water
+/- 1/2 C. Chicken Broth

» Seasoning:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 to 3 teaspoons sugar (I used 3 tsp.)
1 teaspoon vinegar (I used a scant tsp. of Rice Vinegar)
1-inch piece ginger, grated (this sounds like alot, but it works)
1 clove garlic, grated or minced (I used approx 1 Tbsp. larger mince)

 

 

Combine seasoning ingredients. Add beef and marinate 20 minutes.

Heat oil in pan (Wok on med-high); add onions and peppers, cook until barely soft. Remove. (We like crisp-tender Veg)

Place beef in pan with seasoning. Stir-fry until cooked through (cooked to Mid-rare). Remove, leaving seasoning liquid in pan.

Combine cornstarch and water; stir until smooth. Add to seasoning liquid and simmer until thickened. If the Sauce is too thick for your liking, add in the Broth and stir again. I wanted some gravy for the Rice. Return beef, peppers and onions to pan. Serves 4. (2 hungry adults, it was half the meat called for).

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea,
take it and make it your own. 

Cook for your family !

Never Have I Ever Made ~ #2 … Spam® Katsu

I saw this idea on Pinterest and it really struck a cord for me. Being from Hawaii, we do love our Spam® and I thought that we’d try it a different way.

 

Auntie Doni’s Spam® Katsu

serves 3-4

1 can Spam®, cut into 6 slices
1 Egg, beaten well
1/2 C. Flour (I used Rice Flour, just `cuz)
1/2 – 1 C. Panko Crumbs
Approx. 2 C. Vegetable Oil

Set up a “breading station” as you would for any other recipe:
2 plates, one for the Flour and 1 for the Panko (I use paper plates here);
a shallow bowl for the beaten Egg.
Bread as usual, Flour-Egg-Crumbs, I like to really press the Panko into the Spam® for a super crunch. Set a-side on a rimmed baking sheet with a rack inserted into it to firm up the crust.
Heat a large Fry Pan over medium-high heat (about 350°) with the Oil in it.
Set a-side another rimmed baking sheet with a rack inserted to drain the cooked Spam® Katsu.
Shallow fry each Spam® cutlet until GBD (golden brown and delicious ); place the finished product on that clean rack.

I served our Spam® Katsu along side some Fried Saimin and  since I had that pan of hot Oil, some Chicken Katsu as well.

If you want to, a final flourish of chopped Green Onions makes for a pretty presentation.

Some folks like to put a Katsu Sauce over their cutlets, we like ours naked
But if you like, try this …

Easy Katsu Sauce

makes about 1/2 Cup

1/4 C. Ketchup
1/4 C. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Sugar

Combine well and refrigerate in a covered container, like a Mason Jar. There’s so many ways to make this Sauce, you choose.

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

Cook for your Family!

 

… and if you could, hit that like button, leave a comment below maybe just to say ALOHA; subscribe to my blog if you like what you’re reading and get an email when a new post has been uploaded.

MAHALO!

Stuffing Casserole Ala Grandma Eva

My Paternal-Grandmother wasn’t too much in to cooking, but man, she made a kick-butt Stuffing Casserole. She ordered her Turkey for the Holidays from a local restaurant, already roasted, so she would make her own Stuffing in a very large Casserole dish, that she baked-off in the oven.

It was unique in that she used Portuguese Sausage or Linguica in it. 
Gram never wrote that recipe down, because she just eyeballed it, so I had to figure this one out on my own.

Usually, I bring my stash of Portuguese Sausage back from Hawaii in my suitcase, but since we could not get there this year, I had to hustle.

I was poking around this past Summer in the supermarket and found this!! Can I tell you guys that I was doing a dance in the aisle … could this be like the ‘real’ stuff?   Let’s try it first.

YUP! That’ll work 

Auntie Doni’s Stuffing Casserole Ala Grandma Eva

serves 8

6 + Tbsp. Butter
1/2 C. Onions, chopped
1/2 C. Celery, chopped
2 pkgs. Garlic & Herb Croutons, crumbled to Pea-size
1 C. Dried Cranberries, chopped
2 Tbsp. Sage (fresh or freeze-dried is fine), minced
1 tsp. fresh Thyme, minced
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. freshly ground Black Pepper
1-2 C. Turkey Stock (I use Trader Joe’s-it’s seasonal, so stock up)
1 Portuguese Sausage (or Linguica), chopped, sautéed and drained well

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium sized pan, melt the Butter; sauté the Onions and Celery just until tender.
In a large bowl, combine everything but the Stock.
Slowly add in not quite a cup of the Stock, fold gently. At this point is that wet enough for you? If not keep adding more Stock to your liking (we don’t like it too mushy, so I might pour in about a cup).

Butter a 2 quart Casserole dish; add the Stuffing mixture and cover.
Bake for 15 minutes; uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

 

Fluff with a fork and serve.

Now, what to do with all of this leftover Stuffing?

Make Stuffin’ Muffin’s:
Spray a Muffin tin and pack in that leftover goodness. Stash the entire tin in the freezer until firm. Pop out each Muffin’ and place into a zip-top freezer bag. Mark the date and content and back into the deep freeze it goes for later…

This makes my favorite breakfast. Defrost a Muffin’, heat it up in the micro and top one with a fried Egg

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own.

Cook for your family!

Hawaii-Style Beef Stew, My Way

*** Before we get started, I just wanted to say TODAY
marks my blog’s 8th birthday 
I’m very excited as well that my blog also JUST
received it’s 100,000 hit!!! 

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Once again, I’m posting this recipe mostly for myself. I don’t make this dish very often and can never remember how I did it the last time that came out so dang ONO !! 
I refer back to my blog often for not only inspiration, but the “how to” sometimes.

 

Hawaii-Style Beef Stew, My Way

6-8 servings

2 lbs. boneless Chuck Roast or Stew Meat, 1-1 1/2″ diced & patted dry (I buy Chuck Blade when it goes on sale, butcher it and freeze it for later use )
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1/2 large Sweet Onion, 1/2″ dice, divided (I use Maui or Vidalia Onions)
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
3 Tbsp. Flour
1 Bay Leaf
2-3 Qts. Beef Broth
1 1/2 C. Carrots, 1/2 ” dice
1 1/2 C. Celery, 1/2″ dice
1 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes (I use Petite/No Salt Added)
1 large Russet Potato, 1/2 ” dice
S&P to taste
Approx. 2 Tbsp. Wondra Flour + Water for a thickening Slurry

In a large Dutch Oven over medium-high, heat the Oil and brown the Meat in batches. Set aside on a plate.
Add about 1/3 of your chopped Onions and sauté for about 2 minutes.
Add the Tomato Paste and stir for about 2 minutes.
Add the Flour and again, stir for about 2 minutes.
Add back in the Meat along with any accumulated juices and the Bay Leaf; about 2 quarts of broth, enough to just cover the Meat. Cover, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 2 hours or until the Meat is just tender.
Add the Potatoes, Carrots and Celery and simmer until the Potato is fork-tender. You might need to add more Beef Broth, so keep an eye on it. You want a good ratio of goodies to gravy !!!

Taste for seasoning.
Thicken the now GORGEOUS broth with your Slurry to your desired consistency.

Stews (as well as Soups) taste better the next day.

In Hawaii, we like our Stew And Rice, and say it as one word 

Who doesn’t adore Gravy and Rice?   I always make lots of Gravy!

But you serve your Hawaii-Style Beef Stew how your family enjoys.

Cook For Your Family !!

Mele Kalikimaka! Merry Christmas!

This year, we are not able to spend Christmas with my Mother in California and we all know why

But I can look back on the photos that we took of our time all together.

I don’t think I’ll make quite as many dishes this year to snack on, but I know that it’ll be delicious.

Enjoy Each Other’s Company!