Category Archives: Cooking At Home

Hawaii-Style Portuguese Bean Soup, My Way

I’m posting this recipe mostly for myself. I don’t make this Soup very often and can never remember how I did it! 

 

But now that I can find Linguica here In The Middle Of The Desert, I’ll be making this much more often … we really like this Soup.

Hawaii-Style Portuguese Bean Soup, My Way

6 servings

8oz. Portuguese Sausage, diced (I can find Silva Brand; use approx. 1 1/3 Sausage)
Approx. 1 C. cooked Ham Hock Meat
1 qt. Ham Stock + 2 C. Water (use the diced Tomato can)
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 C. Onion, diced
1 1/2 C. Carrots, 1/2″ diced
1 1/2 C. Celery, 1/2″ diced
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1 15 oz. can diced Tomatoes
1 large Russet Potato, 1/2″ diced
1 15 oz. can Kidney Beans, liquid drained, but not rinsed (I used the Light Red Kidney Beans)
2 C. Cabbage, 1″ chopped – optional (I used Napa Cabbage, `cuz that’s what I had, it takes less time to cook and I think it’s sweeter too)
S&P to taste
1 C. Cooked Elbow Macaroni, set aside

*Note: it’s best to boil the heck out of 2 Smoked Ham Hocks, as you would make any Stock. Reserve the meat separately from the liquid.  You should get 2 quarts of Stock and enough Meat for 2 batches of this recipe.

1) Lightly fry the Sausage in a large Dutch Oven, reserve the rendered oil
2) Add to the pot the Garlic, Onions, Carrots and Celery, the Tomato Paste last and sauté everything for just a few minutes
3) Add the Ham Hock meat, diced Tomato, Stock and Water, bring to a boil, reduce to heat and simmer for 30 minutes, covered
4) Add the Potato and cook for about 10 minutes, until almost done
5) Add the can of Beans and cook for another 10 minutes. You might have to add more water if too much has evaporated
6) If using Cabbage, add after the Beans have cooked for 5 minutes, continue simmering for the remainder of the 5 minutes for the Beans.
7) Adjust the consistency as desired with a Wondra Flour Slurry (we prefer a thicker Soup)

Soup will always taste better the next day.

To serve, re-heat the Soup and add the Elbow Macaroni, or just add as much as you like to your Bowl and pour over the hot Soup.
Like the good local gal that I am, I always serve my Portuguese Bean Soup with Diamond Bakery Soda Crackers that I bring back from Hawaii in my suitcase.

Cook For Your Family !!

Chicken Broccoli

I’m sure that you’ve all heard of and/or eaten Beef Broccoli, but what about using Chicken instead?
(I may have mentioned once or twice that DH and I “cluck”, since we eat so much Chicken )

Here was a game changer for me, as I am not the biggest fan of Broccoli. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat it, but it’s not my first choice for a veg. DH loves the stuff, so I’ve been looking for a way that it would be more palatable for me. Peel the stalk first!   Really! I was watching a video and the gal was peeling the Broccoli stalk and I thought, I gotta try this!

 

Chicken Broccoli

serves 2

1 B/S Chicken Thigh, diced
1/2 lb. fresh Broccoli
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 C. White Onion, diced
1 Tb. Peanut Oil (or whatever you have)
pinch of White Pepper

Easy Stir Fry Sauce

makes about a cup

1/4 C. Chicken Broth
1/2 Tb. Shaoxing Wine or Dry Sherry
1 Tb. Soy Sauce (and you know I only use Aloha Brand Shoyu!)
1 Tb. Oyster Sauce
1/2 Tb. Sesame Oil
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/8 tsp. White Pepper
1/2 Tb. Corn Starch

Add all of the sauce ingredients into a jar and shake well before each use. This sauce will keep in the `fridge for a week.

Wash and peel the Broccoli stalk, up to the crown.
Slice the stalk thinly; slice the florets into bite sized pieces.
Heat a large pan over medium-high add the Broccoli stalk “coins” along with about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam until very crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add in the florets and steam as well to your liking.  Once done, set aside on a plate.
Wipe out that pan and bring it back to heat with the Oil.
Stir fry the Chicken until just done; add in the Onion and Garlic and cook until soft.
Add back in the Broccoli and stir fry to re-heat.
At this point add as much Sauce as you like and bring to a simmer to thicken, stirring all the while.

Serve warm over steamed Rice or Noodles, or just by it’s self.

*Cook’s Note: Here’s another eye opener for me. By using Peanut Oil, White Pepper and Shaoxing Wine in my Chinese-Inspired dishes, I think, they taste more like they really should.

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

Cook for your Family!

Smothered Chicken, Round Two

I don’t know why, but I have been thinking about that Smothered Chicken dish that I made awhiles back …

SO!

Round two

I went back to re-read that post and took my own advice, I added some

well browned sliced Crimini Mushrooms,

YUM!

Now, DH and I aren’t always the biggest fans of Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breast, but that was awesome!  This recipe is a real keeper, for sure and that’s what I do from time to time when I’m stumped as to what to make for dinner… I refer to my previous blog posts, go to the Media Library and drool over some of my photos.

Cook for your family!

Instant Pot® Egg Bites, My Way

Okay, so this is IP cooking for only my 6th time, so
here we go.

 

I saw some Egg Bites for sale in our local market for a fairly good chunk of change,
and I thought, I could make these for far less money in my Instant Pot®.

Game on!

I did some research on the WWW on Egg Bites and did
my usual of a mish-mash from different recipes
to create my own version.
Mainly because, almost all of the recipes called for Cottage Cheese,
which I know darn well that DH WILL NOT EAT! Never tried that with him, nor will I ever 

Here’s what I did:

 

Clean 3 four ounce mason jars (well 2 + an 8 oz’er `cuz that’s all I had)
Butter the inside of each jar, well (ssshhh! don’t tell DH )

In a 2 C. measuring cup, whisk together:
2 large Eggs
1/4 C. Whole Milk
2 Tbsp. grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
S&P to taste

In the bottom of each jar, sprinkle about 1 tsp. Bacon Bits
(reads as to your taste)

(I cheated, photo courtesy of Walmart.com)

Pour in the Egg mixture to fill each jar about half way.
Cover with tin foil.
In your Instant Pot®, place the trivet along with 1 cup of water.

Carefully place the filled jars onto the trivet.
Close and seal your IP.
“Steam” on “Normal” for 8 minutes.
Do a Natural Release for 10 minutes.

Release the vent value and using a jar lifter (or a pot holder works too),
remove the jars to a cooling rack.

Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese between the 3 Egg Bite tops.

Run a butter knife around the edge of the Egg Bites, extricate to your plate…

… and devour while still warm.

Our opinions?
Both DH and I said the same thing, it’s okay, but we don’t see all the hop-la over these.  They’re basically omelets.
I think if I were hosting say a Sunday Brunch Buffet, I would serve these, but for just us two, meh, NO!

Now, to be fair, I will try this again using the Cottage Cheese, just not when I’m feeding DH 

So, how did I do on beating the price of the pre-made Egg Bites you may be saying?

Here’s how I figured it:

Eggs: $2.50/dz. = 20¢/Egg
Bacon Bits: ($1.33/30 Tbsp.) ÷ 3) ÷ 3 = 2¢
Cheese: (38¢/oz. X 2) ÷ 3 = 25¢
Milk: ($1.90/qt. ÷ 16) ÷ 3 = 4¢
Butter: (22¢/oz.) I used about 1 tsp. total = 11¢ ÷ 3 = 4¢

I come up with 55¢ per Egg Bite.

Now, granted, I’m not the best in math, but …

These prices are based solely on what I paid here in Arizona at my local markets. Of course your costs may vary, but still, it gives a pretty good picture…

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

Cook for your family!

The Best Shrimp Scampi I’ve Ever Made!

There seems to be a pattern going on here in My Kitchen In The Middle Of The Desert …

But truly, this is the best Shrimp Scampi I’ve ever made!
I’ve tried this dish a bunch of times, but never got it
quite right. Then I saw a magazine recipe (I forget which one)
that suggested making a Shrimp Stock with the shells

Let’s try this!

Auntie Doni’s Shrimp Scampi

1/2 lb. 16/20 Shrimp, shelled & cleaned
1 C. Water
S&P to taste
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp. White Wine
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

In a small pot, boil the Shrimp shells in that 1 cup Water, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half.
Strain and set aside the liquid.
Season the Shrimp with S&P.

In a medium sized pan, melt the Butter over medium-low heat; add the Oil, Garlic, Parsley and Zest, cook until the fragrant.
Add the Shrimp and continue to cook until the Shrimp are just pink, turning only once;
add the Wine to mix by swirling the pan and reduce for a coupla minutes.
Pour in that reserved Shrimp Stock, give it a good stir and simmer on low for 1-2 minutes.
Add the Lemon Juice and Red Pepper Flakes.
If the sauce is too thin for your liking, swirl in a teaspoon of cold Butter to thicken.

Serve in a warmed bowl, with an added flourish of fresh Parsley,
and devour!

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

Cook for your family!

Thanksgiving 2020 With Social Distancing

THIS, has been a very odd year that is going down in the books,

FOR SURE!

DH and I were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with a group of friends and friends-of-friends at one of our local country clubs, but with the World in the state that it is, we’re just going to stay at home.

So, really it won’t be much different than most other years, just that it’ll only be us two.

My Mother, who now lives in California, is basically in lock-down at her Senior Living Community. The admin gals there asked us not to come out to visit from Arizona, mostly because you just don’t know what kind of bugs you’d be bringing along for the ride.

In years past, I’ve made an entire Turkey, even if it was only for two, and then freeze the leftovers. Well, I went freezer diving out in the garage the other day, and came up with half of a Turkey breast …

I ditched that!

This year I’m going to make a Turkey Tenderloin, along with the usual side dishes.

What I look forward to the most is leftover Stuffing!

And of course …

PIE!

Apple Crostata for DH and Pumpkin for Moi 

Cook for your family and stay safe everyone!

Never Have I Ever Made ~ #1 … Dinner Rolls

For real!
I’ve never made, from scratch, Dinner Rolls. Yeah, I’ve baked all sorts of stuff, but not this. My mind was
BLOWN

I know I’ve told you all that I belong to this Food Forum that’s pretty cool, well, I saw this recipe, more like the photo grabbed me first, and MAN!
I simple had to try this myself.

 

S&P’s Cast Iron Skillet Rolls

makes 16 small or 8 large Rolls

1/4 C. Beer (any type will do, I drink Trader Joe’s Dark Beer, MMM)
5 tsp. Sugar
1 envelope Dry Active Yeast
1 C. warm Water
1 tsp. Salt
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
Oil, whatever you have, just to coat the mixing bowl
about 2 Tbsp. melted Butter, divided or to taste
approx. 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt, or to taste

In the bowl of a Stand Mixer, bloom the Yeast with the Sugar and warm Water. Add the Beer and Salt; start the mixer with the Dough Hook attached, on the lowest speed and slowly add the Flour, just enough to form a ball and come away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead the dough on setting #2 for 10 minutes.
Lift up the ball of dough and coat the bowl with Oil, replace the dough ball and turn over to coat that too. Cover the ball of dough directly with a piece of plastic wrap, this will ensure that a skin does not form. Place the bowl in a draft-free place to rise, until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 375°
Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into either 8 or 16 balls. Place them into a lightly greased 10 inch Cast Iron Skillet. Lightly brush the tops with melted butter and allow to rise again for 20 minutes.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove the pan, carefully, to a cooling rack and brush the tops of the Rolls with MORE melted Butter and sprinkle with Sea Salt.

We enjoyed our CI Skillet Rolls with a lovely Chef salad.

And the next morning, split and toasted for Breakfast.

Cook for your family !!

I’ve Joined The Instant Pot® Craze

Yup!
I finally dove in, I bought The Pioneer Woman Instant Pot LUX60 Breezy Blossoms 6-Quart 6-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer … whew! That was a mouthful.

Isn’t she pretty?

I researched the heck out of the pros and cons of owning and cooking with an Instant Pot®, but what sealed the deal for me was, Walmart had an incredible sale on this beauty! The regular price is $99USD, I got it for $49 !!!

NOW!
We’ll need to try this puppy out:

The fresh Corn on the cob season is just about done here in Arizona, let’s give this a whirl.
It was just okay.

Next try:

Hard Boiled Eggs, well, they’re really not boiled, rather Pressure Cooked.
Meh 
I still got that dreaded green/grey ring around the yolk, dang it!

Round Three:

BBQ Spareribs.
I understood from many, many folks that this will be a game changer. I’ll give it the speed and ease for tender Ribs.
I made my own Barbeque Sauce to paint on those bad boys while on a screamin’ hot grill, after Pressure Cooking for about 17 minutes.
LOVE LOVE LOVE that charred bit from the open flame.

What’s next?
I’m not sure yet, but I’ll surely tell you folks all about it

Cook For Your Family!

The Best Chicken Cutlets I’ve Ever Made!

No really! As we ate this dinner the other night, I just kept telling myself, I gotta write this one down, it’s so delicious.

I don’t fry very many dishes for DH and I, you know, trying to watch what we eat and all. But sometimes a girl needs something decadent, ya know.
This was it for me, at least it was the other night.

Auntie Doni’s Chicken Milanese

serves 2

2 boneless-skinless Chicken Breasts, 1/4 inch thick *
1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 Egg, beaten
2 C. Bread Crumbs (homemade is best, of course)
1/2 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
2-3 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil, 1/4 inch up the side of your Fry Pan.

In a small bowl, combine the Bread Crumbs, dried Herbs and Powders. **
Season the Chicken on both sides with the S&P.
Set up a ” breading station”, I use paper plates for the dry and a dinner plate for the wet, that makes clean up easy.
Very lightly coat each side of the breasts with Flour, then dip into the Egg and lastly into the Seasoned Bread Crumbs, pressing that into each side well.
Transfer to a rack in a rimmed baking pan; allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. This ensures that the Breading stays on the Meat while cooking.
Heat your Oil to about 340° (I like to use an Electric Skillet for this).

My new kitchen toy, I’ve never had an Electric Skillet

Shallow fry the Cutlets until golden brown; transfer to a clean rack in a rimmed baking sheet to drain.
Sprinkle to tops of each Cutlet with the Cheese and serve.

We like our Chicken Milanese served up with Cheese Tortellini and a Salad

* Chicken Breasts now-a-days are HUGE ! What I do is split them horizontally in two, place them between 2 sheets of Plastic wrap and pound them out to the desired thickness. In this case, I go for about 1/4 inch. Now you could buy Chicken Scaloppini, but compare the price and you’ll see why I do this step.

** Now, you just made your own Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs by utilizing leftover Bread that you ground to crumbs yourself and added the spice profile of your choosing. Or, you could simply buy the stuff in the Blue Can!

Cook for your family!

Spam® With Portuguese Sausage Seasoning Fried Rice

Yup, that’s what I said! Spam® with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning in our Fried Rice.

Back in 2015, Hormel introduced this variety of Spam® in Hawaii, at the annual Waikiki Spam Jam.

We were very fortunate to have been back home at that time, and I got to sample a few bites.

Sorry for the bad lighting, but that’s a Cupcake with Spam® in it!!!

The unfortunate thing was, Hawaii, at the time, was the only place you could find the stuff, and it was always sold out as soon as it hit the shelves. 

Fast forward to 2019 and there we were once again on Oahu. I brought back two cans of this treasure in my suitcase to My Kitchen In The Middle Of The Desert… I FINALLY broke out a can to make Fried Rice with 

Spam® with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning Fried Rice

1 can Spam® w/Portuguese Sausage Seasoning, diced
3-4 C. cooked Rice, leftover & dried out
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 C. Sweet White Onion, minced
1 C. fresh Carrot, diced & blanched
2 C. frozen Peas
3-4 stalks Green Onion, sliced & divided-tops & bottoms
4 Tbsp. Peanut Oil (or Vegetable Oil is fine too, just it taste better w/Peanut Oil)
2-4 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (preferably Aloha Shoyu, we like lower salt)
1-2 tsp. Sesame Oil
A pinch of White Pepper
1 tsp. Sesame Seeds

Heat a large, high sided pan (you really don’t have to have a Wok) over medium-high flame.
Add 1 tablespoon of Oil; pour in the beaten Eggs, creating a flat Omelet. Remove to a cutting board and dice, set aside and wipe out the pan with a Paper Towel.
Fry the Spam® (you don’t need any Oil here) until it’s well crisped, set aside on a plate.
Wipe out your pan with another Paper Towel.
Add the remaining Oil and swirl it around in the pan.
Sauté the Sweet Onion until just translucent and then add the whites of the Green Onion and continue to cook for just a few minutes.
Pour in the Rice and combine well in the Oil, to coat the Rice.
Stirring occasionally, allow the Rice to get a just a bit crispy, this will take a few minutes.
Now add back in the Spam® along with the chopped up Egg, Peas and Carrots (yes, I did make an exception this time, this can be optional ).
Pour over as much Soy Sauce as we feel you need, not too much though, and that pinch of White Pepper.
Mix everything up really good; once the Peas and Carrot are heated through, off heat, pour the Sesame Oil over everything and combine well… you’re done.
Serve by topping with the reserved Green Onion tops and a sprinkle of Sesame Seeds.

 

 

That my friends, is perfect!

YUM!!

Fried Rice is wonderful anytime, breakfast is probably our favorite though.

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

ENJOY!