Category Archives: Pescetarian Dishes

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!

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!

Anchovy Vinaigrette

Well, it’s Salad Season again and I love to make my own Dressings, which brought to mind this post from 2017 :

https://mykitcheninthemiddleofthedesert.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/a-different-twist-on-salad-dressing/

I didn’t tell you all about the Anchovy Oil that I save and use in the recipe above.

 

 

My Husband is crazy for these little Fishies, me, can’t stand them! I hunted high and low for Anchovies from Italy, and finally found them at Cost Plus World Market, love this store!

Once DH has finished a jar of these babies, I save the Oil for Vinaigrette.  But you can read more about that part in the thread above.

ENJOY!

Meyer Lemon Curd, YUM!

I’m going to post another throwback blog post.  The reason for this is I had made a batch of my Meyer Lemon Curd with the intent to use as a filling to either Lemon Bars or Pie, but things got away from me, so I stashed it in a gallon sized zip-top bag full in the freezer for later.

 

 

We’ve been invited to many Cocktail Parties in our Neighborhood since going into SIP Mode, sitting outdoors and maintaining our Social Distance, of course.

I was trying to dream up a Hostess Gift idea, and came up with this!

 

 

I just snipped a decent sized hole in the corner of the zip-bag and piped the Curd into a cleaned and sterilized half pint Mason Jar.  The frozen Curd was still quite malleable, but do be sure that you get as many of the air bubbles out with a plastic knife before sealing the jar.  The label I made myself on my laptop, printed that out, used some Craft Glue, Clear Wrap and some leftover ribbon that I have stashed away.  I added my Calling Card for our new Neighbor who invited a bunch of us over the other evening, and …

BAM!

Food As Gifts!

 

March 25, 2014

Years back, I use to watch Martha Stewart’s television programs and then, well you know, things happened.  One particular episode, I recall her making Lemon Curd and I thought that someday I’d try that.

My darling husband goes nuts for Lemon Meringue Pie and don’t ya know, that’s what’s in the middle of it (shhh, please don’t tell him that, he claims to HATE curd, “that sounds gross”).

I found some more Meyer Lemons of all places, at Walmart, so here goes.

Auntie’s Meyer Lemon Pie Filling

12 Egg Yolks (freeze the whites in two separate containers for later use, like frosting for a cake)

2 C granulated Sugar

6 Meyer Lemons, juiced (approx. 1 C of juice, no seeds please)

2 sticks of Butter, diced

Zest from the Meyer Lemons

This recipe makes approximately 2 pints.

In a metal or glass bowl (heat-proof), whisk the egg yolks and sugar.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Pour in the juice and stir continually with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.  Make sure not to allow the mixture to boil.  Add the butter and stir until melted and well incorporated.  Whisk in the reserved zest.

Carefully pour the curd into sterilized jars, best to use half pints or smaller mason jars, leaving ½ inch of head space.  With a damp paper towel, wipe the rim of the jars and seal with the lids and rings.

If you would like to ‘put up’ your bounty for later consumption, process them in boiling water for 20 minutes, allow to cool overnight and store for up to one year (if they last that long).

Should you not feel so inclined to ‘can’ your curd, simply cool and then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

I gotta tell ya, the smell in the house was heavenly.  I got 4 half pint jars and then half of a 5th jar that I stashed in the `fridge for toast the next morning.  Not shown here was a huge dollop of Meyer Lemon Curd in my yogurt the following morning.

 

** Edit-2/2017- I was reading about dairy based canning recently; It is now recommended that instead of using the Water Bath method, Pressure Canning or Freezing is the preferred technique. **

Basic Mini Cheese Balls And Beyond!

During this time of Social Distancing, my next door neighbor has been hosting BYOB Cocktail Hour Parties on her rather large front patio.  We’re all comfortable within our own six foot area and we arrange a table in the middle with shared snacks.  It works really well for us.

I’ve been trying to take over Finger Foods that would be appropriate, you know, everyone being able to maintain their personal space.  Here’s an idea:

Basic Mini Cheese Balls

8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temp
2 Tbsp. Butter, room temp
2 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice
dash Worcestershire Sauce
dash of Hot Sauce (I didn’t have any, so I used a pinch of Cayenne Pepper)
1/8 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Chuck it all into a mixer, Stand or Handheld, and blend until smooth

That’s the basic part, now comes the different flavors …

Divide the Cream Cheese mixture evenly between three bowls

Bacon & Ranch – stir in 2 oz. shredded Swiss Cheese and 1/3 Tbsp. dry Ranch Dressing Mix to the Cream Cheese mix; in a separate bowl, mix approx. 5 oz. finely crumbled Bacon (I bought pre-made Bacon Bites in the Salad Dressing Aisle) along with 1/3 Tbsp. dried Parsley, set aside

Garlic & Herb – stir in 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan Cheese to the Cream Cheese mix, 1 Garlic Clove finely minced, 3/4 tsp. dried Oregano, 1/3 tsp. dried Parsley, a good pinch each of dried Thyme, Dill Weed, Basil and fresh ground Black Pepper; in a separate bowl add about 1/3 C. dried Chopped Chives (fresh is fine too, whichever you have), set aside

Toasted Pecan & Dried Cranberry – stir in 2 oz. Sharp White Cheddar Cheese to the Cream Cheese mix; in a separate bowl mix 1/3 C. each finely Chopped Pecans & Dried Cranberries, set aside

NOW,
line a rimmed sheet pan with some foil; using a teaspoon disher aka cookie scoop; scoop out equal amounts of the Cream Cheese Mixture from each bowl in to their accompanying “dip”, coating each cheese ball well.

 

 

Shape/roll each in your hand to fairly uniform balls. Place them all on the sheet pan, and cover tightly with another sheet of foil. Stash in the `fridge for at least one hour, longer is best and serve with either a Pretzel Stick stuck in each Mini Cheese Ball or on a neutral flavored Cracker.  I went with the Pretzel Sticks for my final service presentation, it just makes it less stressful with a group of folks.  The plate with the Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers was for my taste-test, MMM YUM!  I’m going to make this again!

 

 

I just love this plate!  My Mother gave me a set of three of these for Christmas and I knew it would make a great Pupu Platter!

 

 

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.  Try different combinations, maybe some Dried Fruit or Seeds… My personal favorite is the BACON!!!!

 

 

 

Menus For The Quarantined Life ~ Part 10

Cool Day Nine

Yesterday, I made some Bran and Nut Muffins
with the knowledge that Mister Dear Friend was
coming over for coffee… Missus DF 86’d that one!

 

 

Breakfast

So, DH and I slept in and had a very nice leisurely Brunch

 

 

Lunch

… was the last of the Spam® Musubi 
I have no idea why I don’t make this more often

 

 

Dinner

I went Deep Freezer Diving and came up with a
Trader Joe’s Hatch Chile Mac `N Cheese
steamed some frozen Corn Off The Cob
and grilled two B/S Chicken Thighs
with Miners Mix Maynard’s Memphis BBQ Rub
MAN!!!

Dessert later will be Fiddle Faddle I’ve stock-piled from the Dollar Tree 

Oven Roasted Brocolli

Have you ever had a big stalk of Broccoli and thought to yourself, meh, not so much.  My husband really likes Broccoli, me, I could take it or leave it.  I was trying to think up another way to prepare this veggie so that I would enjoy them too.

Now, I oven roast Potatoes, so why not Broccoli too?  Let’s try this …

This may sound very elementary, but I’d never thought to do this before, really!

I lined a half sheet pan with Tin Foil, broke that huge bunch of Broccoli down into manageable pieces, tossed it all with good Olive Oil and Miners Mix Steak & Veggie Seasoning & Rub and a bit of Black Pepper.  I had already pre-heated the oven to 400°, so in it went for about 20 minutes, give or take … check for doneness by piercing the stalk with a sharp knife.

Can you see those nice bits of brown goodness, that equals flavor?!

YUM!

Embrace your vegetables, try cooking them in a different way, maybe, just maybe you’ll enjoy them more.

New And Improved Homemade Cheese Raviolis

Below is a copy of a previous post from my blog, well actually this is the third ‘recycle’ of this blog post.

What I wanted to add to this post is that I finally bought a set of Ravioli Cutters.  One is round and one is square, and they make hefty sized Ravs!

I’d never tried to make Ravioli using this technique before, and I found it much more satisfying then using the Ravioli Maker and Press.  I’m not really sure why, but it wasn’t as stressful.  No, I do know why … I didn’t have to worry about the dough sticking to the maker and falling apart!

I rolled out the Pasta Dough using my Kitchen Aid attachments, laid each sheet on the counter, used my teaspoon disher to load the filling, topped it with a second sheet of pasta and cut.

I also tried a different recipe for the filling with this first go-around of Large-Round cutter, Spinach and Cheese Ravs.  They were delicious!! I don’t remember the recipe I used but you can search the WWW for one that you’re family would like.

 

January 21, 2018

*Edit*

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.

WHAT!?

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

Dough:

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

1 1/2 tsp. Table Salt

4 large Eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Water

Filling:

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.

Repeat

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

ENJOY!