Category Archives: Recipes

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!

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 !!

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!

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!

What’s For Dinner?

*** I’ve been thinking alot about what each dish I serve costs us per serving.  I’ve re-reading, again, alot of my older posts.  This particular one is from February 2, 2013 — WOW!  Over SEVEN years ago!  What I’ve done here, again, is to add the cost of items and then the total per serving in RED. ***

 

How often in your lifetime have you heard that question? DH has been watching very carefully what he’s been eating, I think I said that already, but it bears repeating. I not only plan and cook meals that are low in calories, but shop for them too. My method is to seek and conquer. I go to 4 different places to do my food shopping and it’s a blast! Since I’m retired, I have all the time in the world to just meander through and see what I see. It’s kind of like being on a scavenger hunt in a way. What to make, what to make?

Last week I was in Wal-Mart and normally I don’t buy produce there, I go to a green grocery down the road a piece more. This Wal-Mart Super Store is set up so that as you come in the half of the building with the food goods, you have to go past the fruits and vegetables. At the end of the aisle, for some odd reason, something caught my eye, Broccoli Slaw in a bag.

 

It’s just julienne broccoli stems, carrots and some cabbage. HHMMMM! That would make a great stir fry, DING DING DING, did you hear that? As I sat down to share this idea with the class and was perusing the Internet, I found several brands that put out this same thing, why have I never seen this before. Chicken, Pork, Beef, Shrimp, Tofu, leftover whatever anything will make for a scrumptious stir fry.  When I told my husband how many calories were on his plate, he didn’t believe me; I didn’t give him any noodles.  This was my plate.

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

Chicken-Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry

3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, sliced into thin strips   $2.99/lb — I used about 1/2 pound so $1.50

1 tsp. Cornstarch

1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (we’ve talk about this, look for Aloha Shoyu)

1 tsp Mirin

1/2 tsp. Sesame oil    Approx. 50¢ for the remaining ingredients above

Combine all of the above in a bowl and set aside for about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix:

1/2 C. Chicken broth    Approx. 38¢

2Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1tsp. Mirin

1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil

1/2 tsp Corn starch

Mince up 2 Garlic cloves and 1Tbsp. fresh Ginger    Approx. 50¢ for the remaining ingredients above

Set aside 1 bag of Broccoli Slaw    $1.99

____________________________________________________________________________________

Total $4.87 ÷ 2 servings (not including any starch) = $2.43/plate

 

Over medium-high, heat a non-stick skillet with a scant tablespoon of canola oil. Toss in the marinated chicken and spread it out in a single layer in the pan, now, DON’T TOUCH IT!   Once the edges of the chicken starts to turn white, give a good stir with a wooden spoon (you don’t want to scratch that non-stick pan, do you?). When the chicken is almost done (and nicely caramelized), clear a small spot in the pan and add a little oil to heat and add the garlic and ginger; once you can smell it, stir everything up again. Dump in the entire bag of slaw, toss that around, just for a minute. Add the broth mixture, it’ll bubble and thicken up; stir everything together and serve. In our house we have this with either steamed white rice or Asian noodles.

Add or delete what you and your family like. Try some more veg in there like onions or peppers, mushrooms; make that protein stretch farther.  I was going for an easy dinner and really, all I did was cut up the chicken, garlic and ginger.  How much easier could a fresh, home cooked meal be?

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

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.

Freshly Baked, Homemade Apple Pie From Frozen

Yup, that’s what we’re talkin’ about today.  Homemade, from scratch, fresh Apple Pie and then we’re going to freeze them, unbaked!  for later.

I’ve showed you my version of Apple Pie before, super easy to do, and WAY better than using that ready-made canned stuff.  ^^’

Well, for some reason, we have not been able to finish a whole Pie before it goes South.

I put my brain to the task of figuring this conundrum out

💡

I bought these mini Pie Tins awhiles back.  Why can’t I make up four Mini Apple Pies and freeze them individually, unbaked ?  I did a few internet searches and this is what I devised.

One recipe of my Apple Crostata aka Apple Pie, will make 4 of these Mini Pies.

If you put the Mini Pies, unbaked, into the deep freeze on a sheet pan, you’re virtually doing an IQF.  ⭐

Once they’re frozen solid, usually over night will do it, simply wrap each Pie, still in their Pie Tins, in some heavy-duty foil, then into a gallon sized freezer zip-top bag that you of course have marked with the date and content.

Now, whenever you want a freshly baked Mini Apple Pie, here’s what you do:

Preheat the oven to 450°

Place any number of your still frozen solid Mini Apple Pies in their tins on a lined sheet pan

Bake for 20 minutes

Reduce the heat to 375° and bake another 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

And Bob’s your uncle!

I didn’t even have to put any foil around the edge of the crust, it’s gorgeous and mighty tasty, even if I do say so myself.  😎

 

 

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.