Category Archives: Cooking At Home

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!

Auntie Doni’s Cold Somen Salad

*** Here’s another re-post of a recipe that I recently re-visited and realized that it needed to be updated.  So anything that you see in red, is the addition.

The original date that this came out was June 21, 2019 ***

 

In Hawaii, there are many cultures that have influenced the cuisine there.  Japanese-style dishes are just one of them that I really enjoy. Since it’s already starting to heat up here in My Kitchen In The Middle Of The Desert, this recipe came to mind recently and I thought I’d share this lovely cold salad to add to your Summer menu.

 

Auntie Doni’s Cold Somen Salad

Serves 3 

Salad Ingredients:

½ of a package of Somen Noodles

1 C. Lettuce, shredded

½ C. each, Carrots, Char Siu or Chinese BBQ Pork, Kamaboko or Steamed Fish Cake, julienne

1 C. Hot House Cucumbers, julienne

1 Egg

1 pinch each, Dashi Powder and granulated Sugar

2 stalks of Green Onion, sliced finely

1 tsp. Sesame Seeds

 

Prepare the Noodles, following the directions on the package; rinse under cold running water, drain well and set aside in the `fridge.

Beat the Egg along with the Dashi Powder and Sugar.  Cook up as a flat omelet, cool and julienne finely; set aside in the refrigerator.

[I always use Aloha Brand Shoyu in all of my recipes]

Dressing Ingredients:

⅓ C. Chicken Broth

1 Tbsp. each, Rice Vinegar, Soy Sauce, granulated Sugar, Sesame Oil

Heat the Broth in the microwave for 30 seconds or less, just enough to dissolve the sugar.

Combine as of the Dressing ingredients in a tightly sealing jar; set aside, you got it, in the cold box.

Now that you have everything together, or what’s called your Mise en Place, it’s time to assemble our salads.  Be sure that all of the ingredients are well chilled.

I like to make individual salads, but you can combine all of the above as one big Family-style salad and let everyone serve themselves.  Dress your salads just before serving though.

Now this is just how I do it, you put yours together how you feel is best.  I like to start with the shredded Lettuce in a bowl, with the Noodles next; then artfully arrange all of the “goodies”.  

You could stop at this point, cover, stash them in the `fridge and serve later.  This is a great make-ahead dish for dinner or even a potluck.

This our most recent bowl of Cold Somen Salad

When your ready to eat this gorgeous looking creation, spoon the Dressing over the top and combine everything well.  I find that using my hands works best, but it’s up to you.

This is quite a refreshing salad and it’s also surprisingly filling.

The toppings of the salad can be whatever your family craves.  What about Shrimp or Crab; some folks use cooked Spam®, Deli Ham, Cilantro, Mung Bean Sprouts, or even go Vegetarian and use Tofu — you decide.

Our family likes loads of goodies, no matter the kind.

ENJOY!

Hamburger Curry Stew, Cheap And Friendly

***

I’m re-blogging this post from February 6, 2018.  Why you ask?  Well, I’ve been re-reading my Blog and thinking about how much of my “Cheap And Friendly Family Meal” recipes actual cost.

So what I’m doing here is adding the cost of each ingredient in Red and then a total as well.

Now keep in mind that prices in your area may be different from what I calculated, but still, this is an inexpensive meal, period!

And ya know, during this whole SIP Mode that we’ve been in, it’s getting harder and harder to come with something out of the box to put on your table, I know I’ve been stump many a night.  I sure hope this will help you.

***

 

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)  $5.00

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil  $0.03

½ -3/4 C. Sweet White Onion, diced  $0.15

1 Celery Stalk, sliced  $0.10

2-3 C. Beef Broth  $2.00

2 C. Potatoes, diced (use whatever kinda of `spud you have)  $0.88

1-2 Tbsp. Curry Powder (to taste)  $0.25 – including the S&P and Flour

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)  $2.00

1 Tbsp. Flour

______________________________________________________________________________

Total: $8.41

4 servings = $2.10/serving

6 servings = $1.41/serving 

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!

MMM!

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

Enjoy!

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

Salad In A Mason Jar

One of my Neighborhood Gal Pals gifted us a jar of her prize winning Relish.  No, really!  She said that her Relish won a prize in her hometown back in Maine!

Now you folks all know me by now, I don’t return a pan/dish/can or jar empty.

My Grandma would make us stuff and tell us, “You no gimme back my can/pan/whatever, I no give you no moa!”  😀

So I did one of those WWW searches and came up with this idea

My version of a Cobb Salad in a Mason Jar!  How neat-o looking is that?  We eat with our eyes first and this one ticks that box.

I had all of the ingredients on hand, so it was just a matter of sterilizing Carolyn’s jar and filling it.

 

Cobb Salad In A Mason Jar

1 pint-sized Mason Jar

1/2 C. Cucumber, diced

1  Hard Boiled Egg, sliced

1 oz. Deli Ham, rolled & sliced into spirals (reads as 1 thick slice of any Ham you’d use for a sandwich)

1 oz. cooked Bacon, crumbled

1 C. Salad Mix (any sort, I had a head of Romaine that I chopped up)

1 oz. Shredded Cheese (I used Sharp Cheddar, you choose)

1-2 oz. Ranch Salad Dressing

 

Start with the 1st ingredient and continue layering as you fill the jar.  Pack the Lettuce Mix of your choice into the jar firmly.  Place a good amount of Ranch Dressing (or any other Dressing that you prefer) into a separate small container.  You can pour your Dressing into the jar first if you’re going to be eating your Salad within a day, otherwise, you could find the Cucumbers soggy.

I found these at Dollar Tree, perfect!

My Pal sent me a text the next day that she was really surprised how much Salad she poured out of that jar! ⭐

Any Salad Combo would work here and the amounts of each ingredient are approximate, give or take here or there, what you like.  Use any kind of Cheese that you have on hand, ohh, Blue Cheese Crumbles! 💡  Or what about using diced Turkey Breast rather than the Ham spirals?  The sky’s your limit.  The whole premise behind Salad In A Jar is to start with the “wettest” ingredients at the bottom of the jar in order to retain crispness and keep layering to the top of the jar.

Photo courtesy of Walmart.com

*Cook’s Note: I used packaged Bacon bits, which I keep on hand at all times.  It serves a great service!  My other tip is to use small tongs to add in the Egg and Ham Spirals, arranging nicely against the wall of the jar.

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

Homemade Everything Bread

On my adventure to the soon to closed Cost Plus World Market in our area, I found this

Hmmm, “& More” eh?  Let’s try it on homemade Bread.

I started out by making King Arthur Flour’s recipe for No Knead Bread.

I think that I’ve made this recipe a coupla times now, it’s easy and delicious.  I like to park the dough in the `fridge for 4-5 days to develop flavor.

 

I wanted to share a loaf with each of my Neighborhood Gal Pal’s to see what they thought of this version.

I have a Bakers Stone that lives permanently in my oven for Pizza, so why not Bread too?  Best to bake the Bread in twos.

Oh so pretty! But what about the taste?

Meh, neither DH nor I were fans.  The Gal Pals and their hubbies all liked it!

Assorted Deviled Eggs

I was invited over to Mrs. Two-Doors-Over Gal Pal to come play cards. You know me, I always take along a snack to share with the entire class.

I had just finished making some Hard Boiled Eggs, so I morphed them into a large plate of Deviled Eggs.


I wasn’t really sure how many gals were coming, but I figured 16 halves would fill that platter nicely. But just one flavor isn’t my style, I made four.


You already know how to make Deviled Eggs, pop the cooked yolks outta the halved Eggs, mash the yolks with a fork and add what you like. I divided the contents of the bowl into four and went from there.

Plain/Mayo Only in the middle …

… and from the bottom, Dill Pickle Relish

… moving clock-wise, Wasabi

and who can resist
BACON!!

Those were the first to go, naturally. One of my Gal Pal’s said that she had tried making Bacon Deviled Eggs before, but it didn’t come out as good as mine did… “What’s your secret?” she asked.

(photo courtesy of Walmart.com)

I always have Bacon Bites in my pantry! I chopped them up pretty fine, stirred in a tablespoon or so and them reserved some for a topper.

Maybe next time I will do all one flavor!

*Cooks Note: I found it much easier to fill the Egg White Halves if I take a small Zip Bag, fill it with the Yolk mixture and snip a corner to “pipe” with.  You could get fancy and use an Open Star tip, like the one you use to make a Cake look pretty.

Kitchen Fail ~ Part 5

And Speaking Of Sloppy Joes …

I can’t recall where I say this idea, I think it was on Pinterest … Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.

These were THE  worst Sloppy Joes I’ve ever had, REALLY! Do not make these,
ever

I’m not going to bother giving you the recipe, if you must make this you can do one of those WWW searches.

I mean the idea sounds great, but the flavor was way off base.
Maybe if I started out with Chef John’s Recipe and then simply added the Provolone cheese to melt over the top?

Hmmm, I might try that at some point, I dunno, but DH really did not like this one.
.

The BEST Sloppy Joe I’ve Ever Had, REALLY!!

I’m not sure if I made mention that I subscribe to YouTube; I even have my own channel. Anywhos, I follow Chef John on the Food Wishes channel, he’s great! I was watching this one episode awhiles back on making Sloppy Joe’s, sounds kinda mundane, but trust me when I tell you watch this video and print out this recipe and make it,
today!

Here’s what I gathered together for my rendition.

I made slight changes to accommodate my 1 pound of ground Beef that I always have stocked in my deep freeze. As you can see on the Allrecipe website, you can adjust the number of servings to best make those changes.

OH BABY BABY!
Them’s some good eats! Note to self: let’s make this again real soon!!!

I added some Hot Cherry Peppers on DH’s Sloppy Joe and none for me, thanks, I’m a light weight when it comes to heat.

As Chef John says, “… ENJOY!”

My Copycat Zippy’s Macaroni Salad

Originally, I posted this back on January 15, 2013 … WOW! More than seven years ago. “My Quest For Zippy’s Macaroni Salad”.
I’m changing the title to better describe what I’ve been trying to do, replicate a beloved dish from Hawaii.
Anyways, since then, I have fiddled with this recipe for my version of Zippy’s Restaurant Macaroni Salad. I’ve even gotten DH to finally try my Mac Salad and like it, just so long as I don’t add the second round of Mayo to his portion.

Here’s what I’ve discovered:
1) When using Barilla Brand of Elbow Macaroni, boil for at least 11 minutes.
2) Use only 1 1/2 tsp. of Mustard, much better actually.
3) Once everything has been mixed together and sat in the `fridge for at least an hour, go back and take a look at it. Is it a little dry looking? Has the Macaroni absorbed most of the Mayonnaise?
Stir in a tablespoon at a time to bring it back to where it should be, I added close to a 1/4 cup more Best Foods Mayo; then cover and refrigerate for another hour so that everything has mingled nicely. 

Something alot of local folks from Hawaii don’t share too often on the WWW, is that we like to add in stuff to our Mac Salad.

Try some canned Tuna and chopped Black Olives, OH MY! 

I’ll also add in more shredded Carrots and Celery for crunch extra crunch. This version is very tasty served on a bed of chopped greens of your choice. I usually have Romaine Lettuce in my crisper, this makes a lovely lunch.

So as I said, this is the re-boot of the original post from 2013 …

My Quest For Zippy’s Macaroni Salad

I have been trying to get the correct proportions of a recipe from a restaurant in Hawaii. Zippy’s is an institution on Oahu to be specific; they have many menu items at their fast food take-out locations as well as casual diners. One side dish that has been long coveted is their Macaroni Salad. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, yeah, so what?

Why don’t you try a Google search of Zippy’s Mac Salad and see how many hits you’ll get from us forlorn Islanders who have moved away to the Mainland.

I have been searching the internet for years trying to unearth the recipe, only to find others doing the same. At one spot, I found a letter that was sent to the Zippy’s Customer Service Manager, and the response was just a list of the ingredients, along with an invitation to the recipient to “experiment with it”.

Well, guess what I did, and I got it!

I meshed together different recipes, suggestions and some back and forth with other folks from Hawaii. The frugal homesick island gal that I am, I didn’t want to waste anything. So I made my first batch with a quarter of what I felt would make a full recipe. Seeing as my husband despises mayonnaise, I didn’t want to be eating Macaroni Salad for the next 5 days; though I do love my Mac Salad, not that much. You can try this smaller version or increase the quantities appropriately to your crowd.

Copycat Zippy’s Macaroni Salad

1/4 lb. Elbow Macaroni, cooked past al dente, so that they are fat and soft

1/2 C. Best Foods Mayonnaise (or Hellmann’s if you’re in the East, no substitution)

1 1/2 tsp. prepared Mustard (I used Dijon ’cause that’s what I had in the ‘fridge)

1 Tbsp. White Onion, finely grated, juice and pulp (I used a microplane)

2 Tbsp. Carrot, finely grated

2 Tbsp. Celery, finely diced

Salt and Pepper to taste (I used about 1/8 tsp of each)

Combine all ingredients but the Macaroni in a large mixing bowl.

Prepare the pasta as directed on the package. Test the pasta to make sure that it is past al dente, nice and soft but not falling apart. Drain well. While still warm, toss gently with the dressing and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. At this point, check to see if the Macaroni has absorbed too much of the Mayo, you may need to add more, possibly up to 1/4 cup. Combine well, cover and refrigerate for another hour before serving.

Enjoy this with your favorite Hawaiian-Style BBQ, steamed white rice or a tossed green salad and you’re now a local my friend! We call that a plate lunch in Hawaii. Gotta have my two scoops rice, mac salad and some kind of meat. It could be Beef, Pork, Chicken, Fish or for the vegetarians, Grilled Tofu.

 

My copycat Zippy’s Plate Lunch

ALOHA

Meyer Lemon Sherbert

A coupla years ago, my Mom gave me a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker for my Birthday.

I’ve only used it a handful of times since, but then I thought about making Sherbert. I do prefer Sherbert to Ice Cream really.

The other day I found fresh Meyer Lemons and bought a pound just because.

Let’s make some Sherbert!

Small Batch Meyer Lemon Sherbert

Serves 4

1/2 C. (approx. 3-4 Lemons) Meyer Lemon Juice & Zest from the Lemons
3/4 C. granulated Sugar
*2 C. Whole Milk

Prep your Ice Cream Maker to the manufacturers instructions.
Zest your Lemons, set aside; juice and strain for any pips.
In a microwave safe container, heat the juice just til it’s warm, about 10-20 seconds.
Add in the Sugar and Zest, then stir to dissolve.
Cover and chill in the `fridge overnight.

When you’re ready to churn, whisk together the Meyer Lemon simple syrup with the Milk in a pitcher or quart-sized measuring cup (it makes it easier to pour with a spout).

Start the Ice Cream Maker and slowly pour the Sherbert base into to the machine.
Follow your Ice Cream Maker’s instructions for making Sherbert or Sorbet, it should take 15-20 minutes to achieve a smooth and creamy soft serve consistency.
Enjoy now or transfer to an air-tight container and freeze 3 hours for a firm Sherbert … I like it either way.

*Cook’s note: You certainly could use any sort of Milk that your family likes, 2%, Non-Fat, Lactose-Free, Soy, or Nut Milks even.

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

ENJOY!