Aglio Olio with Mushrooms

A long time ago I had a friend that loved to cook Italian foods.  Spaghetti Aglio Olio, a.k.a garlic pasta,  and a red meatless “gravy” were the only two thing I ever cooked with that friend.

If you have read any of my other posts, you know that I can never leave well enough alone in a recipe and have taken liberties over the years to adjust this recipe to my own preferences.  I think this is the way most folks cook Aglio Olio, as no two recipes ever seem the same.

The way I learned to cook Aglio Olio was to start with olive oil, garlic, and anchovies.  I know that the anchovies are supposed to melt into the sauce and provide a rich flavor.  I find it leaves too fishy of a taste for me and have chosen to not use them.  If you like that flavor, all you have to do is add 4 to 6 anchovy filets to the cold skillet with the garlic and oil when you first start the dish.

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Asian Inspired Noodles

Asian inspired noodles are simply my take on Pancit and Japchae. Yes, I know they are from different countries. Yes I know this recipe is nowhere near authentic. Yes I know they are separate dishes, but I can hardly tell the difference. Since I cannot determine which one this is more like, I just call them Asian Inspired Noodles. Makes my life easier, and everyone knows I am all about simple.

Like my other Asian inspired dishes, this is another way I like to get extra veggies into our diets.  I know, salads are good for that, but if you know me, you already know salad generally miss my plate somehow.

I also have a non-authentic recipe for Lo Mein that I will feature at a later date. When you see that one, you will think it is just combination of chow mein and Asian noodles.

I prefer this recipe with cellophane noodles or glass noodles. But my store doesn’t always have them available. There are several Asian markets in my area, but they are clean across town and I do not want to fight the traffic between here and there only to learn they are like all the other stores in town – out of stock or don’t carry them.

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Witch’s Stew

Witch’s Stew is just a Halloween party variation of Frog Eye Soup.

Frog Eye Soup is just a variation of chicken and pasta that had been started as a soup recipe and turned into more of a pasta dish.  But the name has stuck in our family for about 20 years.

Frog Eye Soup got its name from the pasta shape that I had on hand for a Frog Eye Salad.  For those of you who have never heard of Frog Eye Salad, it is kind of a sweet dish in which ambrosia and pasta salad got mixed up in the same bowl.  It was very popular in the 60’s and 70’s.

I’ll try to make some in time for the spring holidays.  Right now, my house is in full fall and winter holiday prep.  For the blog anyway, you won’t find any carved pumpkins, graveyard scenes, or Christmas trees in the house just yet.  But give it another month and you might.

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Frog Eye Soup

Frog eye soup was invented in my kitchen because of an ingredient shortage.  We had plenty of groceries in the house.  I am certain I was cooking for some holiday meal in the coming days.

My brother was making an unexpected visit that evening and I offered to make some homemade chicken noodle soup and sandwiches for dinner.  I usually have chicken noodle soup ingredients on hand and I knew this would not require another trip to the store, because everyone knows I love chicken soup!!

I happily went about my business in the kitchen and started simmering some chicken breasts in chicken broth.   I don’t always make a super-rich broth, especially when I am short on time.

I tossed in some onions, celery, and carrots.  About 20 minutes before my brother was schedule to arrive I discovered I had no soup noodles!! What? At my house?

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Chicken and Dumplings

My grandmother was famous for her chicken and dumplings, at least I always believed she was. Then I grew up and realized that everyone’s grandma, mom, aunt, sister, and/or cousin had one.

Unfortunately, there was no recipe for these. My grandmother would just toss things into a bowl and whip them up. These are not the soft fluffy biscuit type dumplings. I have heard them called chicken and sliders and also chicken and noodles when made by others.

Pre-internet days before I knew “everyone” had a version and I could simply search for a recipe, I spent years trying to make them like my grandma. My mom’s best friend’s mother  spent an afternoon with me once and showed me how she made hers. They were just like my grandma’s! You would think I would have written down quantities, but nope. I was certain I could manage. The first time I made them her way, they were moon rocks. They were a little flavorless too and the broth base needed help.

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Favorite Pasta Sauce

Spring officially started at my house a month or so ago.  It had nothing to do with the date, the slew of singing birds in the area, the baby bunnies the dog loves to chase, or the budding trees.  Spring at my house gets started with the first potted fresh herbs sitting on the patio table.

Unfortunately, they had to spend their first night in their new home hiding under the patio table since we had tornadoes in the area.  Tornadoes are more of a spectator sport in Oklahoma, but tender young plants don’t do so well in gusty winds, heavy rain, and hail.

It has been a chillier than normal spring and none of the herbs have done so well this spring.   Fresh basil and parsley are key ingredients for my lasagna and spaghetti sauce. At this point, it will be weeks (maybe months) before I can harvest enough of both for a huge pot of sauce.  I like to keep a healthy supply of sauce (and other things) in the freezer for quick meals on busy nights.  It helps break up the monotony of sandwiches.  Continue reading “Favorite Pasta Sauce”

Beef and Noodles

Beef and Noodles fit the bill perfectly for those days when all I want to do is eat carbs.  Simple comforting carbs.  Even when I have overcooked, undercooked, or even flat out screwed up this recipe, I eat it for dinner and then microwave leftovers until I have run out of noodles.  Corn, tomatoes, and some buttered white bread is all I need to make this meal complete.

I tend to make this with homemade noodles, but frozen noodles, and even dry noodles when I can find a decent dried kluski noodle somewhere will do.

As the food industry shifts its focus to please more and more “foodies”, basic, easy to make foods that even picky kids will eat, are getting hard to find and edged out of the market.  Like kluski noodles.  Which, by the way, were the only way I used to make beef and noodles until they became scarce.

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Chili-Mac

Chili Mac has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  Growing up, Wally’s Drive-In was the best place in the world for a hamburger, onion rings, or a chili-mac. I suppose they had other things on the menu, but I wouldn’t know. I never wanted or ordered anything besides those 3 items.

Wally’s had been a staple in my hometown and it was a sad day when the last carhop delivery was made and the doors were locked permanently.

It would be a long time before a genuine chili-mac made an appearance in my life. Oh, I’d seen chili-macs on menus and saw recipes for chili-mac, but let’s face it, those were never anything more than chili, with or without beans, glopped on top of spaghetti noodles. Continue reading “Chili-Mac”

“Too Cheesy” Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t love a big helping of homemade macaroni and cheese? My spouse, that’s who. He likes the stuff from the box; powdered cheese, foil packet of cheese, any kind of cheese besides good old fashioned American cheese slices. Now don’t misunderstand, there is something to be said about the convenience of those blue boxes and I have cooked my share of them. I have also served up the frozen and refrigerated prepackaged varieties. I feel no shame.

But I prefer my macaroni and cheese the way my mom used to make it when she was in the cooking spirit. It is swimming in cheese, enough cheese that it gets called “too cheesy” in this house and rarely gets made anymore. I was excited to write this post because it gave me the excuse to make it for photos.

(Side note: while writing the recipe, I realize that the DH might actually be right, this might be too cheesy……. But please do not tell him he was right, I will never hear the end of it.)

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