Thursday, November 20, 2014

Butternut and Vegetable Stoup

It really is so random how I tend to subconsciously make steak dishes multiple days in a row, then Hawaiian influenced and now vegetarian dishes.  After seeing this recipe on last week’s show, I thought it might be another fun way to use butternut squash so I picked it up along with the spaghetti squash at the Farmer’s Market and at just 50 cents a lb, it offset my overpaying for my spaghetti squash.  I had celery leftover from the pesto minestrone I made over the weekend so all I needed was to pick up a couple of apples at 99 cents a lb and I was ready to continue my taste of fall.    


  1. I served it over white rice instead of basmati and it was just as good
  2. I did not have curry powder so I just made my own curry blend with equal parts (2 tsp each) of coriander, cumin, and turmeric. 
  3. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to stock up on spices that you need or are running low on as they are generally on sale.  I picked up 3 yesterday to restock on those I was running low or getting way too old so with a Buy 2 Get 1 free and $2 off coupon for up to 2 spices, I got all 3 for $8.80 vs. $18.80. 
  4. Left out mango chutney, scallions, and parsley since I did not have any on hand and chili since I don’t like spice. 
Price:  $3 for 6 servings = 50 cents per serving (assuming you already accumulated spices over time)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Romesco Sauce

Spaghetti squash this year seems to be the new kale as everyone seems to be finding creative ways to cook with it.  I tried it once years ago topped with marinara sauce as one of the ideas presented at the Farmer’s Market.  As you can guess, I was very underwhelmed with the final product and never bought nor made it again.  Fast forward 5 years later and I ran across a Rachael Ray recipe that I printed for the romesco sauce she made to top her spaghetti squash from earlier this year.  When she featured spaghetti squash over a few shows recently, I am reminded of one of my own beliefs of trying something 2-3 times before completely writing it off.  I hate being a hypocrite so I had better practice what I preach and give the spaghetti squash another shot since it is in season and if anyone can make spaghetti squash tasty, it would be Rach as she is the reason why I even enjoy cooking at all.  I am happy to report that it turned out quite good so looks like spaghetti squash will now be added to my autumnal rotation from now on. 

Spaghetti Squash with Romesco Sauce - Rachael Ray Recipe

Roasted Red Pepper Recipe


  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees
  2. Place raw red peppers whole on a foil lined baking sheet
  3. Roast for 20 minutes, turn halfway and roast another 20 minutes
  4. Remove from oven after fully roasted
  5. Place roasted red peppers onto cutting board and place a glass Pyrex bowl over it and let it steam for 15 minutes
  6. Remove bowl, cut peppers in half and remove seeds, stem, and skin from peppers

  1. Warning that it takes about an hour to prepare your own roasted red peppers
  2. I did not have sherry vinegar so I substituted with red wine vinegar for the acidity
  3. I did not have almonds so just double the amount of hazelnuts
  4. I paid $5 for a 3 1/3 lb spaghetti squash from the Farmer’s Market but Trader Joe’s had them for less than $3 each for just a slightly smaller size
  5. I had bought red peppers for 50 cents a piece so I roasted my own
Price:  $7.50 for 3 servings = $2.50 per serving

Monday, November 17, 2014

Baked Potato Mushroom Melt a la Spud Brothers

Steak and potatoes seem synonymous with each other and almost as American as Apple Pie.  So leave it to me to have done steak one night and then potato the next instead of putting them together.  The 10 lb bag of potatoes for two people really is like the bottomless pit as I am still trying to find ways to use them up.  Since I did not have anything defrosted, I made baked potatoes for dinner. 
While I was studying at Cal, they use to have a food cart at the edge of campus called Spud Brothers where they serve up baked potatoes topped with almost anything you can imagine with my favorite being the mushroom melt.  Granted I did not have my hands on potatoes that size, I made myself the miniature version using up the rest of my sautéed crimini mushrooms from steak night. 

Baked Potato Recipe


  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees
  2. Scrub the potatoes clean with a brush
  3. Pierce holes with a fork 4-5 times on top of the potato to let the steam escape
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes depending on potato size
  5. Potato is done when it is tender enough to pierce a toothpick through the entire potato
  6. Top with mushrooms and shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or combo of both)
Note:  I also added for pork on top for some protein
Price:  $3 for 4 servings – 75 cents a serving – even less for me since I just used leftover sautéed criminis


Friday, November 14, 2014

Steakhouse Rib Eye with Sauteed Mushrooms and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

During our recent Costco run we found steaks for $7.99/lb which is the lowest we had seen for choice meat in years so my parents and I picked up 2 packs a piece and I could not resist cooking two of the steaks the next day.  After pan searing the one side of the steaks and transferring from the pan into baking sheet, I sautéed a pack of crimini mushrooms in the pan to pick up the flavors of the drippings.  Brussel Sprouts are abundant and in season with Trader Joe’s having a full stalk for just $2.99 so was a great accompaniment to the meal.

Steakhouse Rib Eye – Rachael Ray Recipe


  1. This recipe is great for both Rib Eye and New York Steaks
  2. Try to pick a stalk where Brussel Sprouts are relatively uniform in size for more even roasting
  3. Photo is less than a full serving of beef.  Estimate serving size was about 6-8 oz of beef. 
Price:  $20 for 4 servings = $5 per serving

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Take Your Pick Eggs Benedict – Kalua Pork, Roasted Salmon, or Lobster

I had 4 leftover English Muffins and automatically thought of Eggs Benedict.  Since I had just recently learned how to poach eggs, I may be going a little poach crazy but it saves me $15-$20 for the same dish out.  Since I have leftover kalua pork from yesterday’s potato cake, I redid the Kalua Pork Benedict from my first poach attempt back in July -

In addition, since I did not have smoked salmon on hand for the more traditional benedict, I roasted salmon - for my salmon benedicts since this is for dinner.

Finally, I just steamed my remaining frozen lobster tail the way I did for my less than successful soup - and had lobster benedicts. 

Instead of the traditional hollandaise sauce since the multiple eggs were going to be rich enough, I did a healthier twist and mashed avocados to place on top instead. 

Ingredients for poached eggs
1 tsp-tbsp Vinegar depending on how big of a pot you are using

Preparation for poached eggs

  1. Bring a saucepan or skillet with at least 3 inch of water to a boil
  2. After water has boiled, lower it to a simmer and add a splash of vinegar to water
  3. Crack an egg in a separate bowl
  4. Swirl the boiling water with a spoon
  5. Gently slip the egg from the bowl into the swirling water
  6. The vinegar and the swirling water will help keep the egg whites closer to the yolk
  7. Cook to your desired consistency in the simmering water after it has floated
  8. If you want your eggs hard poached, remove from heat and place a cover over it for about 6 minutes.

  1. Instead of topping the eggs with the avocados which tends to slide off the slippery egg, you can put the mashed avocados right on top of the English Muffin or in the case of the lobster, you can even mix it right into the lobster meat.
  2. Since the kalua pork was leftover from the previous day and already in yesterday’s total, it is not calculated into the price below – only salmon, lobster tail, eggs, and avocado is.  If you buy a small tub of kalua pork, it would probably be about $10.
  3. No additional pic of the kalua pork one since I previously posted it already.  But pics below are 1 serving size
Price:  $14 for 4 servings = $3.50 per serving

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mashed Potato and Kale Cakes

Apparently 10 lbs of potatoes can last forever as this time I mashed them with leftover kale from my pappardelle with autumn pesto dinner when I got my cousin to finally eat kale.  I told her afterwards that it was a kale pesto which she admitted that she thought was just basil.  So now I can add it along to the list of foods that people hated but I got to eat...salad, cake, beets, bovine byproducts (fancy name for beef broth), and now kale.  So a lesson to you all that unless you are allergic, it is good to try things a few times in different forms before deciding to never eat it again. 

Mashed Potato and Kale Cakes – Martha Stewart Recipe -

1.  This recipe calls for bacon but I did not have any so I pulled my small tub of kalua pork from the freezer and steamed it as a smoky substitute
2.  I put kalua pork in the potato cake but you can also eat it on the side with a small scoop of rice as well. 

Okay, seeing a Hawaiian theme starting to form this week. 

Price:  $10 for 4 servings = $2.50 per serving

Monday, November 10, 2014

Spam Musubi

I was going through my pantry yesterday getting together some cans and pasta for the annual holiday food drive.  I have been pretty good at practicing FIFO but I did find 1 can of expired corn and a just about to expire can of Spam buried in the back.  How long ago did I buy this can to be this close to the expiration date?  So Spam ended up on the menu tonight and with Hawai`i always on my mind, I made Spam Musubis washed down with a Hawaiian Sun Mango Orange drink and followed by a Hawaiian papaya...ono!!


4 cups uncooked Japanese rice

4 cups water

5 sheets sushi nori seaweed

1 can Spam


¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup mirin


  1. Cook rice in rice cooker
  2. Stir soy sauce, sugar and rice wine over heat until sugar is melted thoroughly
  3. Once brought to a boil, remove soy sauce mixture from heat
  4. Cut spam into ¼ in wide slices
  5. Fry in pan
  6. Soak fried spam in soy sauce mixture
  7. Cut sheet of seaweed in ½
  8. Place musubi maker over the middle of the half sheet nori
  9. Spread about ¼ in cooked rice across bottom of maker on top of nori
  10. Sprinkle furukaki on top of rice
  11. Place pre-soaked Spam slice on top of furukaki
  12. Spread another ¼ in cooked rice on top of Spam
  13. Using musubi maker insert to press down on the top layer of rice
  14. Remove musubi maker, fold and wrap to cover entire log
  15. Cut each log into 3-4 pieces and serve warm or hot

  1. I did not have Japanese rice so I just used Jasmine which is a little looser so make sure it is packed in
  2. I already have mirin from my miso butterfish recipe

Price:  $4 for 4 servings = $1 per serving