Tag Archives: quotes

School Lunch throw-back

16 Sep

“Woke up in the morning
Put on my new plastic glove
Served some reheated salisbury steak
With a little slice of love…”
Adam Sandler’s Lunch Lady Land

One of my favorite lunches when I was I was in grade school was baked potato bar. The concept was simple. You got a baked potato, and had the option of topping it with any number of things. Depending on my mood, I would go with chili and cheese, or broccoli, cheese, and bacon. Tonight I choose to recreate the the latter.

IMG_0805First, start with the broccoli. As mentioned in a previous blog entry, start with fresh broccoli. Blanch and shock the broccoli as needed. Set aside and start with the cheese sauce. Here’s the recipe:

Cheese Sauce:

1/2 cup of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the cheese with the cornstarch. Then bring milk to a simmer and stir in the cheese. Bring to boil and continue to stir. Keep warm until you’re ready to use.

Make the potato however you’re most comfortable. I did mine in the microwave simply because it cooks faster and I was hungry. But you could certainly bake them in the oven with a little olive oil and salt.

If you want to go completely old school, (pun intended) top with Bacos. Those are the little “bacon” bits that you can find in the aisle with the salad dressings. For me though, nothing beats the real deal. I used bacon that I cooked earlier in the week. I also garnished with torn parsley.

You’re never too old to enjoy something from your childhoodIMG_0804

Always thinking of the next meal


Congratulations… you failed!

24 Aug

Ok, I just want to preface this blog entry by saying I love soy milk. That’s why it’s in my refrigerator. Let me also share with you one of my favorite quotes which will give you a head start on the tone and hilarity of the following post:

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

– Walt Disney

So tonight’s dinner was a glorious failure. I attempted to make one of Ryan’s favorites, Bleu Cheese Mac and Cheese. Sounds good right? Well it usually is. I great rich indulgent dinner. Since we hadn’t rewarded ourselves from yesterday, I figured it would be a great meal to toast our success. The key words here are “usually” and “figured.”

Here’s the normal recipe:

1/3 box of pasta. I like cavatalli, but shells, penne, or any hollow pasta will work
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 – 3 cups milk, (please use cow’s milk)
1  cup shredded cheese (Italian blend)
6 oz crumbled bleu cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta and set aside to drain. Melt butter in a separate pan. When the butter stops foaming add the flour and wisk until fully incorporated. Slowly add the milk in 1/2 cup portions wisking quickly to avoid lumps. Once all the milk has been added bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Wisk in the cheeses and stir until they are completely melted. Add pasta back into the pot and stir to combine. Serve hot. Feeds 2-3 people.

So why did it turn out so poorly? Please refer to my earlier statement. I didn’t have any regular milk and since my soy milk was “unflavored” I thought it would be OK. Let me be the first to tell you “unflavored” soy milk still tastes like soy. Yes soy marketing team, soy milk does taste good, but it’s not milk. It will never be milk and to all you foodies reading this, it can not always be used as a substitute for milk.

I followed this recipe as I wrote it, but subbed the soy milk in for the regular milk. I knew it was a mistake right away. The roux which usually smells nutty and buttery was quickly masked by the first addition of the soy milk. As I continued to add the usual mild smell of butter and warming milk, smelled more like roasting soy beans. I thought that it might be OK if I added the cheese. You know bleu cheese is a pretty potent cheese so my logic seemed to make sense. WRONG! I tried to salvage it, boy did I try. I seasoned and seasoned. I added more cheese, but the soy flavor was just too overwhelming.

I did serve it… Oh I did. But I couldn’t even eat it. Ryan was very gracious. He took a few bites, but I know the truth. It was just bad. It’s not all a sad story. I did learn something. I learned that sometimes if you don’t have the right ingredients substitutions can lead to a new revolutionary dish, and other times it can lead you to take out.

Always thinking of the next meal (in this case dreaming of the next meal)


Stressed spelled backwards is Desserts!

3 Aug

Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie.  ~Jim Davis

So on the topic of getting your dailies… Yesterday I made a Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake. It was made with all those things, blueberries (fruit), sour cream (dairy), sugar (uh…that’s good right?).

It’s IMG_0715amazing to me the effect that a dessert can make. I know that my mother-in-law loves blueberry cake. And since I was heading up there today I thought I’d make one. She makes a great version, but I didn’t have any fresh or frozen blueberries. What I did have was some homemade blueberry preserves. I decided to follow a Barefoot Contessa recipe for a starter. Instead of the streusel center and topping, I layered the blueberry preserves in the middle.

The other change was the pan. The recipe calls for using a tube pan. That’s the pan that is typically used for making Angel Food Cake. I, surprisingly, do not own a tube pan. So, I opted for the next best thing, a bundt. If you decide to make this recipe, keep in mind that a tube pan typically hold more by volume. I had a memory malfunction and forgot this before baking. Thankfully I remembered before the cake had erupted all over the oven. If you are concerned like I was, just put a cookie sheet under the bundt pan before baking. So enough suspense, here’s the recipe:

Sour Cream Coffee Cake – Ina Garten


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

Always thinking of the next meal,