Tag Archives: Lunch

Sometimes You Just Want Breakfast

That’s right. I love breakfast foods, anytime, any meal, my husband, not so much. He feels that one must eat breakfast before 10 o’clock in the morning. BUT, if you sell him on having Italian for dinner, he’s in, all in.

I was watching one of my recorded food programs on the DVR the other night and Lidia Bastianich made frittata three different ways. The smart gal that I am, I figure DH would eat that for dinner, right? This dish can take on any twist or turn that you can think of, or leftovers you might have in your ‘fridge. I had some leftover chicken Italian sausage, roasted sweet red peppers, mushrooms with garlic and one stray green onion. (SSSHHHH, don’t tell my husband, but I also had some ricotta cheese left over and threw that in too).

Once again, this one is not really a recipe, but I would say more of technique.

Depending upon the size of your pan and the number of folks you want to feed is how many eggs you want to use. For the two of use, I use 6-8 eggs, whisked together with some S&P in a large bowl and a 10 inch non-stick-oven-proof skillet with some olive oil heated on the bottom over medium heat. Pour in the eggs and put in whatever ‘goodies’  you like. I just plopped the cheese in a teaspoonful at a time randomly in the eggs mixture. Let this all cook, undisturbed until the eggs are about halfway set, but keep an eagle eye on the bottom so as not to scorch. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese (SSSHHHH) over the top and pop the pan into a preheated oven at 350⁰ and bake `til just set and the top browns, about 5 minutes, maybe, it depends on how thick your mixture is. Don’t overcook it though, give it a jiggle to see, because you don’t want a rubbery, nasty hunk of yuk. Carefully slide the beauty onto a plate and slice.

No, we didn't eat this all in one sitting!

No, we didn’t eat this all in one sitting!

Isn’t that a looker?  Serve warm or at room temperature. This makes a very nice breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner selection. Pair with what you like, a green salad, toast, fruit, the sky’s the limit, and you might have leftovers again, or not…

 

I’m Not Going To Try It, You Try It

When I went to the green grocer the other day to replenish our fruit and vegetable supplies, I spied some Rapini or Broccoli Rabe. Normally, I go right past it because it’s so terribly expensive, even by mainland standards. Back home in Hawaii, fresh fruits and veg that came from the continental United States are shipped in. They’re tasteless and I think way over priced. But these bundles looked like they had just been laid out, still warm from the sun, there wasn’t even any pricing on them yet. I made an inquiry as to the cost, not bad at $3.99 per pound. I figured we’d give it a whirl. I had seen an extremely simple dish on some TV program, it couldn’t be that difficult.

Whole Wheat Penne pasta with Chicken Italian sausage and Broccoli Rabe

This was as easy as pie (which I wish I could eat, but alas, not yet). I did a search on the WWW and found that this can be a bitter vegetable and that a quick boil would fix that. So that’s what I did. I washed and drained the entire bunch. I thought that if it was too much for the two of us, I could just save the leftover cooked veg for lunch. I cut the stalks into large pieces, maybe three to four inches long; boiled them in salted water for about 3 minutes, drained and set it to the side.

I took that same Dutch oven and browned and crumbled 2 chicken Italian sausages from Sprouts (love that place); added 3 cloves of minced garlic along with a small pinch of red pepper flakes and set that all aside.

In the meantime, I had another pot of whole wheat penne pasta boiling to just shy of done; reserved a coffee mug of the water before draining that off.

I tossed the cooked broccoli rabe and the pasta in with the sausage, added some the pasta water to deglazed those nice brown bits in the bottom of the pot, gave it all a good mix up and served with a drizzle of EVOO and a flourish of grated cheese (shhhh, don’t tell anyone, it was just a little).

My American-Italian husband has always felt that greens are not to be served with a pasta meal. Well, a pasta meal to him is ONLY rigatoni and red sauce, a meatball or two, some hot sausage and if you want to give him Chicken Parm and/or Braciole he wouldn’t turn it down. He loved the dish, I WAS SHOCKED!!  As well as full and satisfied.  That was very, very delicious.

DH: Why haven’t we had this before?

Me: Well…

DH: We should have this again, it’s really good!

Me: Sigh…

ALOHA!

I Think We Can Eat This

Yeah, um, I was looking through all of my recipes the other day, trying to figure out something ‘new’ that I can add to our diet, I mean new way of looking at food. I have this three-ring binder in my kitchen cabinet where I collect/adapt dishes from people that I’ve met or websites, or TV programs, what have you.

I shared with you my SIL’s recipe for potatoes, well this one is from that same trip back East at Thanksgiving a few years back. It was a really awful day and she put on this yummy smelling pot of bubbling goodness that was done in no time flat. I was thinking that maybe we could eat this without the sausage and rice. HMMM, wait a minute. I’m pretty sure that I saw turkey kielbasa in the market. Maybe we can have this after all.

Quick Gumbo

Quick Gumbo

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

2 large Celery stalks, diced

½ C. White Onion, diced

2 Carrots, diced

2 Garlic cloves, minced

2-15oz. can diced Tomatoes

2-4 C. Chicken broth (I use 2, depends on how soupy you like it)

8 oz. frozen Cut Okra

½ tsp. dried Thyme

2 Bay leaves

¼ tsp. Cayenne

6 Green onions, chopped

2 lbs. boneless-skinless Chicken, cut into large bite sized pieces

1 lb. Kielbasa, sliced

Sauté until crisp-tender the peppers, celery, carrots, onions and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, until the chicken is done.

Serve with steamed rice (that is of course if you’re eating rice).

**you can add 1lb. of cleaned shrimp at the last 5 minutes or so, be careful not overcook them.

*** we like our soups a bit on the thicker side, so I tightened the broth up at the end with a slurry of about 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of corn starch and some cold water; stir it into the pot as it’s still boiling, let cook for a few minutes.

I also added a last minute sprinkle of chopped green onions tops for brighten up the flavor.

This recipe will serve 4-6 people hungry people, it’s a full pot, that’s for sure.

Last Day!

Yesterday was the last day that DH and I could eat whatever we wanted, well, within reason of course.

We started out our day with BACON and eggs with a slice of Italian bread as toast and a small bowl of strawberries. I only had 4 slices of BACON  left in the `fridge, so I figured that it wasn’t worth heating up the oven just for that measly amount, so I put them on some paper towels and into the micro for a few minutes, perfect! After a quick wash up, off we went to run errands. We had to wait for a bit for some paint that we needed to be mixed, so what does my smart and handsome husband see but Luke’s Italian Beef a few doors down.

We had eaten here once before, when we first moved to the mainland from Hawaii. We ordered an Italian Beef and an Italian Sub. This shop serves up Chicago-style Italian Beef, different from what I’ve had in Pennsylvania, where DH is from. Even the hot peppers are different, VERY HOT, so I asked for them on the side. The sub was on a nice roll, not the Amoroso rolls from Phillie, but good.

For dinner, we just had a mixed plate of all of the leftovers from the past few days. I figure, we might as well finish this stuff off, we want having anything white again for a while.

LUNCH!

It may not be hot wherever you are, but for us here in the desert southwest, Summer is upon us in full force. It’s HOT!  So what do we do? Well, there’s no beach to run to, so the next best thing is the pool, YEAH BABY! DH and I spend probably about 2-3 hours at our community’s pool and fitness center after breakfast most days. We try to get back home about lunch time and have something on the light side.

LUNCH!

One of our favorite warm weather mid-day meal is Tyson Crispy Chicken strips and an array of chopped raw veggies. When our nephews (Heh Jake and Jack) were visiting with us last month, we bought the jumbo sized bag of Tyson Chicken Nuggets, which we still had left in the freezer, so I figured, same thing right?

Love that Hidden Valley Ranch

Now, I’m a dripper, I like to dunk my vegetables in some sort of creamy dressing, which drives my husband up a tree, it’s the smell that gets to him.

Noh Brand Hawaiian BBQ Sauce

Something else I like for dipping is Noh brand Hawaiian Barbeque Sauce, (yup, it’s from Hawaii) IT’S ONO~LICIOUS (really tasty)! It has this nice smoky, tangy, sweet, savory, plain `ole rock your mouth flavor. It’s great on the nuggets.

Sweet Chili Sauce

If you can find Sweet chili sauce in your area, try it, and not just as a dipping sauce. It makes a wonderful glaze on roast chicken!

Okay, so that’s three different dips that I put into small ramekins on my plate; for DH, NONE! That’s right, he likes his naked, no sauce, no condiments other than loads of freshly cracked black pepper, so that’s his plate you see above.

ALOHA!

 

Escaping The Heat

Living in the middle of the desert, you try to find ways to truly escape the heat when the mercury starts to rise beyond your comfort level. My husband and I are very fortunate to have good friends that we have known forever that live up North from us, in the high, cool desert of Prescott Arizona, the states territorial capitol. Sitting at some points over 5000 feet above sea level, with oodles of beautiful pines, it’s so much cooler than my hot kitchen, plus I don’t have to cook when we go here!

The food scene in Prescott has grown with the number of tourist it sees. There are so many different, unique and familiar types of cuisines available. On this trip we went to our two favorite places, Prescott Station on Gurley street in the heart of Prescott and Bonn-Fire, over in Chino Valley only a five minute drive away.

We started our trek North early, so I knew that we’d have breakfast on the road. AHA!

Spam Musubi

I had Spam Musubi in the deep freeze outside. A few days before we left, I put the little bundles of my joy  in the `fridge to defrost slowly. Then just as we were about to go out the door, I nuked `em to just barely warm and tossed them into a paper sack for the journey.

We met Mister DF at Prescott Station for lunch. Love this place! The menu hits all of the right notes. Whatever you think you might like to eat, they make it, or they’ll try their darndest to make you happy. We like to sit in the bar area, mainly so that the guys can watch the sports and news while they chat, and yes, men chit-chat just as much as women do, don’t let them fool ya’.

Prescott Station White Sangria

We had a different person serving us at the bar this time, Dave we found out is the local bee-keeper and only works at the restaurant seasonally. Shadow afforded us libations and suggests white sangria, WHAT? I’ll try that. They make theirs with their own recipe of Chardonnay, Muscat, pear brandy, triple sec, apple, peach and pear nectars, YUM-O-LICIOUS! It was so refreshing, and had to grab a hold of myself and not chug it down.

Prescott Station Ahi Salad

DH had the Ahi Salad Oriental with wasabi soy vinaigrette, the large size please.

Prescott Station Shrimo Taco Plate

Both Mister DF and I had the single shrimp taco plate, served with our choice of refried black beans and Mexican rice (which I actually ate, it was very good). The shrimp taco is grilled with Sonoran spices, topped with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and papaya-mango aioli, that I requested they swap out for the smoked jalapeño aioli, very good!

After lunch, we went to check into our hotel, but our room wasn’t ready yet, so we cruised on over to the Court House were they had a bunch of vendors selling all kinds of goodies. As the heat of the day increased, we found ourselves at Frozen Frannie’s.  We had been there not so long ago with our nephews and really enjoyed it. Love this kind of frozen yogurt shop, serve yourselves, get it weighed and pay by the ounce, perfect on a hot day.

Once we got all settled in to the hotel, we moseyed on over to our friend’s home for a cocktail and then headed out for dinner.

Bonn-Fire in Chico Valley Arizona

Bonn-Fire in Chino Valley is wonderful. And HEH! Guy Fieri, we all sent the Triple D emails saying how you should check out this joint, DON’T!   We don’t want the world coming in, we had a heck of a time this past weekend getting a table! It was just as delicious as ever. We topped off our meals by sharing a piece of Carrot Cake, Oh My GAWD GOOD! As Missus DF said, it has visible vegetables in it; it can’t be bad, right?

Okay! Sunday Brunch, my favorite, especially back at Prescott Station.

As DH and I drove South, back towards the middle of the desert, we both commented on how odd we thought it was that we live in the “Big City” and yet inky-dinky Prescott was it ALL over us for places to eat.

Oven Roasted Pork Packages

A few days ago we talked about Kalua-style oven roasted pork. I made up 7 pounds of pork butt or shoulder; the house smelled just glorious! I figure, ya’ know, if you’re going to heat up that hot box in the Summer ya’ might as well make it worth the effort.

The brand of prepared Kalua Pig that I WAS  buying (our Asian Market USE TO  bring it in from Hawaii) is sold in a 12 ounce plastic tub, about the same as a quart sized deli-container. Seeing as I am frugal shall we say, I have a large selection of variously sized disposable bowls. I weighed out each portion to the 12 ounces that we are accustom to and froze the bundles of goodness overnight in the deep freeze that’s out in the garage. In the morning, I pulled down my vacuum-sealer and went to work.

Kalua Pig Packages

I wound up getting 6 equal portions for later consumption, minus of course the mandatory tasting of the finished product by the grand poobah (aka DH) and well to be truthful, I had a few bits too. The cook needs to make sure that the food that comes out of their kitchen is edible, right? Or as my mother use to say, “I want to make sure I’m going to poison anyone”.

ALOHA!

 

Oops, My Bad

DF Joey pointed out to me that I neglected to post the recipe for our roasted chicken dinner the other night (we’re having the leftovers for lunch today, BTW).

New McCormick Spice packet

Friend, what I did was to kinda-sorta follow the instructions on the McCormick spice packet. The difference was that since I had a whole, beautiful and delicious chicken-licken, I broke it down, removed the bone from the breast section and saved the wings and backbone. I placed those extra bits on the half sheet pan along with 3 yukon gold potatoes and the chicken parts that had been rolled around in the loveliness of the herbes de provence, ¼ cup of dry white wine (never that nasty cooking wine) and two tablespoons of EVOO.

The packet calls for cooking it all together for 45 minutes, but I just knew that we’d wind up with dust if I left the white meat in that long. So I took out the 4 breast pieces at the 30 minute mark; transferred them to a warm plate and covered them in tin foil while everything else finished cooking.

I’d never tried this herb mixture before, but we both enjoyed it so much, I’m going to seek it out and shell out the dough for it.

Oh and those extra bits went into the stock pot this morning, YUM!

 

Another Check Off The Bucket List

 

MAN, let me tell you! That was the best way to kick off Summer! My wonderful husband got us tickets WAY back in December of last year through American Express pre-sales for, wait for it, Fleetwood Mac, Live, in Concert at the US Airways Center in Phoenix last night!

I was SO excited! We made a mini-vaca out of it and spent the night, you know, we did it up right.

We left early-ish and stopped at Babbo Italian Eatery (sorry no pics, I was just plain too excited) and had a scrumptious late lunch of Spaghetti and Meatballs for DH and Chicken limone for me. We shared appetizer of Mushrooms and Asparagus with loads of garlic and shaved parm, delizioso.

We proceeded to the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Phoenix to relax for a bit. Then we went out for a pre-concert drink at the Network Bar & Grill within the hotel and up the block to the venue.

The group was stylishly late (about 20 minutes), but I’m sure that was because Stevie had to make certain she looked stunning and she did! Do you know old she is? She just celebrated her 65th birthday a few days ago, beautiful! Us old, I mean mature gals ROCK IT BABY!

Fleetwood Mac Live in Concert at the US Airways Center

DH got us fabulous seats, the only problem as that there was a group of younger folk (maybe in their 40’s) who decided to stand and dance along to each song; I’m just to dang too old to do that anymore. Most people around us felt the same way and remained seated. I was surprised that as we walked out after the almost THREE HOUR LONG SHOW with NO intermission, we could still hear. Lindsey was on FIRE!! What a concert, DH said that he felt that was better than any other show he’d seen, and we’ve seen a lot, so coming from him that is high praise indeed.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig. We had a bountiful buffet breakfast at the Terrace Café in the hotel and made our way home.

Thank you again my dearest husband!

 

Sometimes You Just Have To Give In

Yup, that’s how it is sometimes. You just have to give in and not try to fight it. For years, I refused  to use any jarred or canned marinara or spaghetti sauce to serve my American-Italian husband. When we were first married, the little island gal that I am, didn’t know one sauce from another. The first “Italian” meal I ever served him didn’t go so well, so ever since then I have strived to ensure that my Italian food was as close as possible to what DH would have eaten at his Mother’s table.

Over the years though, we have become more and more busy. You know when folks tell you that they’re busier now as a retiree than they ever were when they were working? IT’S TRUE!

So a few years back, our DF’s who live in Northern Arizona, suggested a jarred sauce that was very good. The last time that we went to visit with them, Missus DF and I went food shopping at the Trader Joe’s that had just opened not long before in their town, and we found this

Trader Joe's Sauce

ZOWIE!

I now keep a jar or two of this in my pantry at all times. It has saved my bacon on more than one occasion when I didn’t have enough time to plan out dinner. Boil up some pasta, heat the sauce and serve. Throw in any leftover bits you may have in the ‘fridge and its supper time.

 

*note: I do not work for, nor do I have any affiliation with Trader Joe’s in any way, I just LOVE  them!