Category Archives: Cooking At Home

Hamburger Curry Stew, Cheap And Friendly

Most of you know that I am from Hawaii and we MUST  be careful with our pennies, because EVERYTHING is so expensive over there.  Ground Beef is something that is readily available as well as an inexpensive protein.  You can even find this dish on menus in restaurants in Hawaii, that’s how much we like it!

I was challenged the other day by an “online pal” to come up with Budget-Friendly dishes that featured Hamburger, Root Vegetables, Beans, Potatoes, Lentils, Rice, canned Tomatoes and frozen Vegetables.  There are so many ways you could put that list of ingredients together and come up with a super supper!

But my mind kept creeping back to an old favorite from my childhood.  I didn’t really have a recipe per se, I usually cook by feel but wanted to put together a recipe for her that would make sense.  I did a search on the WWW and found a YouTube vid from CookingandCrafting; it hit a note for me and I took it from there (Mahalo Beth).

Auntie Doni’s Hamburger Curry Stew

(4-6 Servings)


1 lb. Ground Beef (or Turkey or Chicken)

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

½ -3/4 C. Sweet White Onion, diced

1 Celery Stalk, sliced

2-3 C. Beef Broth

2 C. Potatoes, diced (use whatever kinda of `spud you have)

1-2 Tbsp, Curry Powder (to taste)

S&P to taste (you GOTTA  taste as you go!)

1 ½ C. frozen Mixed Vegetables (or just Peas and Carrots too, any kind is good)

1 Tbsp Flour

In a good sized pan, heat the oil over medium-high; add the Onions and cook until just translucent.  Now toss in the ground Beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, brown well.  Drain off any excuse fat.  At this juncture add the Celery, Broth, Potatoes, Curry Powder and S&P to taste.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a good simmer and cook for about 15 minutes (maybe 20 if you cut the Potato kinda big-ish), or until the Potatoes are tender.  Add the frozen Veg, bring back to a boil and mix the Flour in a cup with some extra Broth; slowly add this to the pot to make some good kine GRAVY!!!

Simmer until thickened and the Veg is heated through but not soggy and falling apart.  Taste it again, howzit, good?  Adjust at this point, more Salt, no?  Pepper?  Curry?  How’z the gravy?  Maybe some more broth?  Me, I couldn’t stop TASTING!


Serve over steamed White Rice or as is, any which way, it’s ONO (that’s delicious in Hawaiian)!


And as always, remember a recipe is just someone else’s idea, take and make it your own.


Guacamole Made With A Kick And Something Different Too

Are you ready for the big game tomorrow?  The Puppy Bowl XIV that is on Animal Planet.  😀

Our Green Grocer had absolutely gorgeous RIPE  Avocados on sale this past week, so I thought that a nice bowl of Guac would be appropriate for our game day snacking.  I’m sure you have your own recipe all set to go, but let me throw my hat into the arena.  😉


Auntie Doni’s Guacamole

2 Avocados, mashed

¼ tsp. Sea Salt

3 tsp. fresh Lime Juice

2 Tbsp. Litehouse® Guacamole Herb & Spice Blend

1/8 tsp. (more or less) Miners Mix Pepperhead’s Hot-Banero Seasoning & Rub

In a medium sized bowl, mash the Avo’s to your liking, I like mine on the chunky side.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Taste for seasoning, does it need more Hot-Banero?  Go for it!

Take a piece of plastic wrap, cover so that the plastic is touching the Guacamole, so as not to brown.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow everything to marry their flavors.



Can you see all of those Peppers in there and Spices in there?

Use the dipping utensil of your choice and …


A Different Sort Of Smothered Chicken

One of the food forums that I belong to has a long standing thread where members share what they’re making for dinner.  One dish in particular sounded pretty yummy, well anything that has to do with bacon will always catch my eye.

My Friend’s Smothered Chicken

2 Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breasts

4 Bacon sliced, cooked

2 oz. Cheese, I used Sharp Provolone and Swiss

2-4 Tbsp. Olive Oil, divided

Spices of your choice

1 C. Sweet Bell Peppers, sliced

½ C. Sweet White Onion, sliced

Salt & Pepper to taste


*Cook’s note: Lately, the b/s Chicken Breasts that I find are HUGE!!!  So what I do is split them in half horizontally and give them a bit of a flattening with a rolling pin to even out their width.


In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the Peppers and Onions in about 1-2 tablespoons of Olive Oil until they are crisp-tender and slightly colored, season to taste with S&P; set aside.


You can use leftover Bacon or cook some up at this point; set aside.

Preheat the broiler with the rack set at the second potion.


On a foil lined baking sheet, pat the Chicken dry and brush with the remaining Olive Oil.  Season with your choice of Spices, I used Miners Mix Poultry Perfection Seasoning & Rub.

Broil the meat evenly on both sides until the internal temperature reaches 160⁰ (about 3-4 minutes per side).


Place the Bacon atop the Chicken Breasts, followed by the Pepper and Onion mixture.


Top that all off with the cheese of your choice and pop back under the broiler, just to melt the cheese.



**2nd Cook’s note: Try adding some fresh Mushrooms to the Pepper and Onion mixture as well, MMM!

If there’s any leftovers, they make a super sandwich too.  😉


Homemade Cheese Raviolis


Originally this post was published back a year ago.  I had been looking through my recipe binder to make a batch of ravs and decided just to pull this up instead.


I messed up on this recipe guys, big time!

Please note that the filling is missing EGGS!  I’ve rectified this and would like to re-post this with the correction added below.  This really is a wonderful dish that is time consuming, but well worth it, ask my husband 😀


One of my long time followers, Krystle, who also blogs at Pictures And Plane Tickets (please check out her blog) requested my recipe for Cheese Raviolis.

Ya know, I could have sworn that I’d posted this recipe previously, but I guess not, just mouth watering photographs of the end product… sorry, my bad.  So with no further ado, here we go.

Auntie’s Cheese Raviolis


3 1/2 – 4 C. All Purpose Flour (or Semolina)

1 1/2 tsp. Table Salt

4 large Eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil



1 lb. Ricotta Cheese (I get the Whole Milk, go for it I say 😉 )

1 C. Parmesan Cheese, grated (buy the best quality you can find)

3 large Eggs, beaten

1/4 C. Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

Now, let’s get to it.

For the dough:

In a food processor combine the dry ingredients; with the machine running add the Eggs and Oil. Pulse in enough Water for the dough to JUST come together, you don’t want it too wet or sticky but firm and smooth to the touch.  Turn the dough out to a large piece of plastic wrap, bringing all bits together into a ball; cover well and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours, it turns a funny looking grey, unappetizing color.

For the filling:

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Take a zip-top baggie, fill about half way (not too full as it makes it unyielding when it comes time to fill the raviolis).  Snip a smallish hole in one corner, this makes the filling process much easier; close up the bag and place in a small bowl to keep everything contained for now.

To assemble:

Divide the dough into about 12 pieces, being sure to keep the dough covered in the plastic so that it doesn’t dry out.  Dust your counter top with a small amount of flour, then with a rolling pin, flatten out 1 piece of dough into a rectangular shape, thin enough to go through a Pasta Sheet Roller on the first setting. Dust the dough lightly and run it through as many settings as you like, I go from #1 to #4 on my KitchenAid attachment.  Set aside and repeat a second sheet.  Using a Ravioli Mold makes life easy.  Place one sheet over the flour dusted mold, make the rounded indentations and fill by squeezing that baggie of goodness in to that spot, not too much though; very lightly moisten all edges of the form with your finger dipped in some water.  Place the second sheet over the top, starting from on end and gently pressing out any air.  With the rolling pin provided (or your own) seal and cut all edges well (you’ll see the metal edges come through), peel away the excess dough (save that under the plastic wrap) and turn the Raviolis out on to a floured sheet pan.


I get anywhere from 6 to 7 dozen Raviolis with this recipe.  Allow the Raviolis to rest for at least 3 hours on the kitchen counter, uncovered.

To Cook:

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add the appropriate amount of salt and stir.  Gently drop your desired amount of Raviolis into the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes or to your preferred doneness.

Now that’s just one technique of assembly Raviolis, you could go without the mold and simply roll out the sheet of pasta, squirt on some filling, fold over the dough and cut as desired.  I have a hard time with that, they wind up exploding in the boiling process, not good eats.

I like to make a large batch of Raviolis and once dried, I pop the entire sheet pan into the freezer overnight, dust off the flour and place in a zip-top bag for later consumption… I mean 84 Raviolis are ALOT!!! 

*Added bonus – if you like, this dough makes wonderful fresh Fettuccine or Spaghetti or really any shape you like.  I do this with the leftover scrapes of from the Raviolis.  I gather them all up into a ball, sheet it out and cut as desired.  I roll the sheets up into a “cigar shape” and use my parring knife, unfurl each strand into that sheet pan of flour, toss to coat in the flour and allow to dry a bit.  You can freeze the fresh pasta for next Sunday’s Supper.

homemade pasta



Impossible Taco Pie, My Way

I’m not sure where I found this recipe but it took me back in time.  Do you remember Impossible Pies from the 1970’s?  The recipes were first printed on the sides of boxes of Bisquick™ and then they were in the Sunday circulars and other monthly periodicals.  They sort of fell away, but seem to be making a come-back, I’m happy to say.

As I read this recipe from Betty Crocker, Impossibly Easy Taco Pie, I thought that there were a few things that I could do differently to make it my own.  DH is not a fan of this sort of dish, but I know that our next door neighbors, who by the way moved recently up the road a piece, would certainly appreciate a lunch of Taco Pie.


Impossible Taco Pie, My Way

1 lb. Ground Beef (but Turkey would work nicely too)

½ C. diced Onion

1 Tbsp. Auntie Doni’s Taco Seasoning Mix (1oz. pck of any commercial brand will do, minus the Flour )

½ Tbsp. Flour

2/3 C. Water

¼ C. chopped Hatch Green Chiles (or any brand you prefer)

½ C. Sliced Black Olives, drained

½ C. canned Black Beans, rinsed and drained

½ C. frozen Corn, defrosted and drained

2 stalks Green Onion, thinnly sliced

1 C. Milk

2 Eggs

½ C. Original Bisquick™ Mix

1 C. shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used the Mexican Blend), divided

To taste, Sour Cream, Salsa, Guacamole, shredded Lettuce-however you top your Taco


Preheat the oven to 400⁰

Grease a 10 inch pie plate.

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown and crumble the Ground Beef; just before the meat is done add the diced Onions, stirring often (we want just a bit of crunch left to the Onions).

Sprinkle the Taco Seasoning over the meat mixture and stir well.  Now goes in the Flour (if using), again stir that in well and let everything cook for about 1 minute.  Add the water and scrape up any nice brown bites on the bottom of the pan, combine well and simmer to thicken the sauce.  Stir in the Chiles, Olives, Black Beans, Corn and Green onion, off heat.   Turn the entire contents of the skillet into the Pie Plate.

In a bowl, mix together very well, the Eggs, Milk, Bisquick™ and ¼ cup of the shredded Cheese; pour over the meat mixture.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean.

Sprinkle the remaining Cheese over the top of the pie and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes to finish setting up the Pie.

How good does that look?!

Slice and serve warm or at room temperature, topped with your choice of goodies, like any other Taco.


And as always, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, take it make it your own, like adding Cilantro or diced Green Peppers or Tomatoes, how about a little Salsa to the batter mix?  Just make it yours.

*Cook’s Note: My Pie Plate is a standard 9 inches; I found a 10 inch aluminum Pie Pan at the Dollar Tree of all places!  This way I could share and the next door neighbors don’t need to worry about returning a plate 😉 Also, with all of those added goodies in the middle of the Pie, a 9 inch pan wouldn’t be large enough.


Trader Joe’s Smoked Rainbow Trout For Sunday Brunch

Since introducing my husband to Smoked Rainbow Trout awhile back, he’s hooked! (pardon the pun) 😀

So for this Sunday’s Brunch I made DH scrambled Eggs with Litehouse Salad Herb Blend, some diced Tomatoes from my patio pot garden, a toasted English Muffin and some of that Smoked Rainbow Trout.

For myself (for some reason, I’m allergic to Trout), I made as well a toasted English Muffin, topped with the same herb infused scrambled Eggs; then sprinkled on some shredded sharp White Cheddar Cheese and a final flourish of the herb blend, just because I like it.



Clam Sauce Made With Canned Clams, Yup!

I love Clam Sauce, but not when it’s served with the Clams still in the shells, that’s just way too much work at the table for me.  So I had this tin of chopped Clams in the pantry for awhile now, I thought I was buying canned Tuna, oops.  What to do, what to do?

Clam Sauce Made With Canned Clams

(Serves One Diner)

1 6.5 oz. can Chopped Clams, drained & reserve the juice (try to leave the grit behind)

1 small (approx. 1 -1 ½ Tbsp.) Shallot, finely minced

1 tsp. Garlic, finely minced

1 Tbsp. Butter

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp. Dry White Wine (something you enjoy drinking, NOT Cooking Wine though)

1 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, rough chopped

Heat a pan over medium with the Olive Oil; sauté the Shallots and Garlic for about 1 minute, not long, you don’t want the Garlic to brown too much.  Add the Wine to deglaze the pan; stir in the Clams, Butter and ½ of the reserved Clam juice to start.  Simmer for about a minute or two til it starts to thicken; then add in the remaining Clam juice to a desired consistency (I used all of the juice), as well as the Parsley, combine well.

Serve over Pasta, Rice, Polenta or solo with some nice Bread to sop up all that goodness.  Top with grated Cheese and more chopped Parsley.

** Cook’s note: If you’d like your dish saucier, just increase the Butter, Wine and use some bottled Clam Juice.  I was good with this dish, though more sauce would have been nice for extra bread dipping 😉

I made Thick Spaghetti for DH’s Steamed Mussels and Clams for moi, MMM!