Using Up The Leftovers

Last night I needed to use up some leftover steak. That really never happens unless I’ve had company for dinner, in which case I always make way too much food because I live in terror of not having enough. It must be the Italian in me. We’re genetically programmed to try to feed everyone until they explode. I have no control over it.

This time I happened to have leftover prime rib steaks. Now, isn’t that just a shame? It was a little cool, thinking about raining, so I was thinking about a nice hot bowl of soup. Steak soup. Yum.

You can make this with whatever you have on hand. I’ve used leftover tri-tip or chuck roast. I’ve even been known to cook a tri-tip just to make a big batch of this soup.

steak soup

Free At Last!

I’ve been on call for jury duty this week. The horror!!! Yesterday I was in danger of getting stuck on a trial expected to last three months. It was a nail biter, but luckily the judge set me free.

By then, it was late afternoon, I didn’t want to cook (reoccuring theme), but really wanted some comfort food. After all, I’d just dodged a bullet. So I made some quick chili beans and cornbread.

chili bens and cornbread

Southerners, don’t bother telling me chili has no beans, and there’s no cheese in cornbread. Honey badger don’t care. I’m at that point in life I’ve dubbed the “decade of decay”, somewhat depressing but also freeing. I cook what I like and I pass it along. Sometimes it’s actual cooking, sometimes, like last night, it’s thrown together out of cans. I only have to impress my stomach, and it was happy last night!



Last night I made Shoyu Chicken, which is basically teriyaki chicken Hawaiian style. It’s a little unusual and totally delicious. It has a pretty strong, spicy flavor that goes well with plain old steamed rice, broccoli, & a side of pineapple because hey, it’s Hawaiian.

This does need to marinate all afternoon, but the boneless, skinless chicken thighs cook up quick on the grill. Also completely effortless if you can get someone to go out and grill them for you while you pretend to be busy getting the rest of the meal together. Yeah, “we” do a lot of grilling around here.

You really need to make this! I promise!!!

shoyu chicken

Time To Decorate The Trees!

It’s that time of year again. My husband’s aunt from Missouri thinks it’s strange that out here in California we don’t just decorate trees at Christmas, we decorate them in the Spring and Summer. It’s either that, or the birds reign down terror from above.

We’re surrounded by oranges, almonds, green tree fruit, and our little lone cherry tree is the only buffet in town. I might as well ring a dinner bell. I wouldn’t mind sharing if birds would politely select one cherry and eat it, but no. They’re like those rude people who take a bite out of every chocolate in the box looking for the one they like best.

Hence we decorate our trees with mylar strips that hopefully will take the place of us standing out there waving our arms and shouting “Shoo!”. Does it work? Well, better than nothing.

cherry tree

Interesting thing though, you’ll notice there’s a 4 X 4 post laying inside of the tree that has something that looks like a bucket on top. That’s the rather expensive weather station I bought Mr. Man so he would be a successful citrus grower. I’m guessing he mowed it down with his truck and trailer, but didn’t seem to feel the need to mention that to me. There should be some interesting dinner conversation at our house tonight!

Speaking of dinner, I am cooking something good tonight, since a condemned man deserves a good last meal and all. I’ll post that tomorrow.

Last night though, we just had quicky doctored up Chinese chicken salad with the help of Costco.

You know how it is when you’re strolling through Costco and somebody hands you a sample of something and you think, “Oh, that’s pretty good!”, and so you buy it, and you take it home, and then you find out one bite was good but a whole serving is just disgusting? Or maybe it’s just me.

But I give their Chinese chicken salad kit a pass, sort of. My worst complaint is seems like every party I go to they’re serving Costco Chinese chicken salad, because it’s not bad and it’s easy. But if everybody serves it, then it’s boring. So if I’m serving Chinese chicken salad I make my own. But that doesn’t mean I turn my nose up at Costco’s M(almost)RE. I use it as a starting place to whip up a sort of Chinese chicken chef’s salad when I need to fix something quick, or I really don’t feel like cooking, or it’s hot, or the sun is in my eyes.

Anyway, I buy the kit, which has two sets of fixin’s, then I divide them up into two zip lock bags and stick them in the freezer. The chicken and dressing thaw out fast in the microwave when you need them.

You have to buy lettuce anyway, so I pick up some cherry tomatoes and whatever else I want in my salad, or whatever I have on hand like hard boiled eggs, leftover roasted asparagus, beets, cucumbers, carrots, craisins, feta cheese, avocado……

By the time I’m done, the boring old chicken salad is transformed into a main dish even my husband will eat. Yes, he actually said, “Now why can’t you get a salad like this in a restaurant”. High praise indeed. It’s a lot of salad to plow through, but you can manage if you really apply yourself. Anyway, that’s what Mom “cooked” last night. No recipe required.

costco salad

We All Scream For Ice Cream

butter pecan ice cream

At least I do! I’m dead serious when I tell you my Dad ate two bowls of ice cream every single night of his life. Which is probably why ice cream is my favorite thing in the world. It’s not dessert for me, it’s a basic food group, like coffee & chocolate. And when you put them all together? Oh yeah, mocha almond fudge is my absolute favorite.

But it was my mother-in-law’s butter pecan ice cream I made this week, and that’s pretty awesome too. So I’ll post the recipe for that, as well as for some quick strawberry sorbet I often make. That’s for those of you who are lactose intolerant, don’t want to fuss with an ice cream freezer, or want a healthier alternative to heaven in a bowl.


Happy Birthday Jace!

Today’s our son Jace’s birthday. (Cue balloons and confetti!) He’s been working long hours lately, so I figure the best thing I can do for him today is set him up with a good meal and a little peace and quiet.

Speaking of peace and quiet, that reminds me of a favorite Jace story, since this is his day and all…

Few who know him today would guess that when he was a little boy, his mouth was in gear every second, of every day. If I had just a nickle for every time I heard, “Look Mom!”, I could have retired ten years ago. One day the endless verbal stream was getting to me, and it must of shown on my face because he asked me what was wrong. I told him, “I’d just like a little peace and quiet”. He went over to his craft table, snipped the corner off of a piece of colored paper, and presented it to me very solemnly saying, “Here Mommy. Here’s a little piece of quiet for you”. Everybody say awwwww…..

So Jace, here’s to you buddy. Hopefully we can give you some good food, tolerable company, and a little “piece of quiet” today.

We’ll start off with some deviled eggs and glazed chicken drummies, in case you’re feeling a mite peckish before we get dinner on the table. We’ll send Dad out to the grill to cook a some prime rib on the rotisserie. I’ll make some scalloped potatoes, roasted asparagus, heck, might as well have some green beans too. Then we’ll finish up with your favorite butter pecan ice cream, which I even made lactose free just for you:)

Might take a while to get any recipes posted. We have a party going on today! (But I did post a recipe for the Broccoli Beef In Oyster Sauce we had for dinner last night.

Broccoli beef in oyster sauce

Oh yeah, I made some Crack In A Bag too!)

crack in a bag

Roast Your Veggies!

Mr. Man is not a member of the “Clean Plate Club” when it comes to veggies, unless I roast them. Then its true love. The veggies, not me. Although I’m sure he has visions of me slowly roasting over an open fire from time to time.

Pretty much every veggie just seems to get better if you roast it to sweet carmelized goodness. Last night I made a Roasted Veggie Medley of what I had in the fridge: carrots, zucchini, onions & added some potatoes. There are no rules. You can leave out the potatoes, or use sweet potatoes, or add some bell pepper, or cauliflower, whatever floats your boat.

With some Baked Breaded Chicken, it was mighty tasty. Some prep time, but then nothing to do but wait while it cooks. Yummmmm.

baked chicken and veggies

Cast Iron Chef

Again, lots of work today, tired, and not really motivated to make a mess in the kitchen. So I drug out the cast iron skillet.

Throw it all in a skillet. Cook it up. Slap in on a plate. That’s how I roll sometimes. Who needs Hamburger Helper?

Did I mention, I love my cast iron skillet? It’s pretty non-stick, weighs a ton so you can get in a good upper body workout, and it doubles as a defensive weapon. Lodge makes a nice, pre-seasoned 10″ skillet with lid that of course you can get from Amazon. Everybody got one for Christmas last year. Did they appreciate it? Probably not. But nobody could say it didn’t fit!

So tonight it was good old Pork Chop Skillet Dinner. Tomorrow I might actually cook something.

pork chop skillet dinner


Cherry Berry Pie

I almost cooked dinner. Well, actually I made tacos and we were about five minutes from chowing down and some friends invited us out to dinner. Their treat. Well, that’s a no-brainer. So everything went in the fridge and tonight’s dinner is all ready to go. Even better.

But I was feeling a little guilty because tacos is what I fix when I don’t feel like cooking. So I made a consolation pie.

See, I figured I could earn some brownie points with Mr. Man; “She only made tacos for dinner, but she made a pie! What a good little wife”. OK, after 37 years of marriage that’s probably not really happening. But I live in hope that I’m appreciated, he lives in hope that I would actually do something nice for him, and in the end, isn’t hope what keeps us going?

So I threw together this Cherry Berry Pie, which is totally fake cooking, but I’m OK with that. It looks like a homemade pie. Tastes like a homemade pie. I invited our friends in for pie and ice cream after we got back from dinner. Score!

Honey/Soy Glazed Chicken

I have a lot of work this week and don’t have time to cook. All I care about is filling an empty place with something that will pretty much cook itself. I make the typical teriyaki chicken, marinated in sauce that takes a bunch of ingredients. But truthfully, it doesn’t taste much better than this quick, three ingredient glaze: equal parts soy sauce, honey, and barbeque sauce. That’s all there is to it. No fuss, no muss, no magic. Except what it tastes like when it’s finished.

I’m using boneless, skinless chicken thighs because that’s what I have on hand. I’ve used chicken pieces, just chicken legs, and it makes an awesome appetizer using chicken wings or just the drummies. The little drummies will keep warm for hours in a crock pot while your party rages on.

So tonight Mom’s cooking Honey/Soy Glazed Chicken. It’s sweet and pretty potent, so just some plain white rice & a side of broccoli goes well. No sweat for me and Mr. Man will be doing his happy dance.

honey soy glazed chicken