Tag Archives: cooking

What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

10 Jun

“Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven, and the fridge and the stove and the microwave. Let’s just say, I love to cook.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Well, she was at it again. Can you say portion control? No, me neither. As you may or may not recall, my freezer was acting up and leaking all over the kitchen floor a couple of weeks ago. I took everything out and took a hair dryer to the vents, did some dusting and cleaning and said two “Our Father’s” and two “Hail Marys,” (Its a Catholic thing🤦‍♀️) Guess what? It’s been 10 days, and so far no more leaking. 🤞 Fingers crossed.

While I was taking inventory of things, I defrosted a few frozen mystery items to finally use. One large container had some homemade pasta sauce. Enough for one casserole dish, but I can’t cook just one. What’s the fun in that. I added a can of this and a jar of that and a pinch of some other stuff. Then I boiled two bags of penne pasta. Voila! Four containers of awesome delicious pasta. One for me and three to give away. (I added a lot more cheese after the photo op)

I can make four meals in the same amount of time as one meal, so why not share!

My favorite addition is topping the pasta with shredded cheese, some Monterey Jalapeño Jack for a little zing and some mozzarella for the Italian flavor. Then, bake until the cheese gets bubbly.
I picked up a loaf of jalapeño cheddar focaccia bread, toasted it with some butter and garlic powder. You’re getting hungry now, aren’t you?

I still have enough for a few more meals for myself and was able to share with friends. Lucky me, lucky friends. Ciao!

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni? ~Cha-Cha~ Cha

3 Jun

“Compliments will get you everywhere, or at least something good to eat.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Last Saturday, I had lunch with my friend Karen at Panera. We had a lot of catching up to do, and our leisurely lunch turned out to be a four hour lunch. Even Giligan and the crew only had a three hour tour before being stranded on the island.

During the course of the conversation, talking about kids, grandkids, friends, crazy rainy weather and dumb ass stupid ex-husbands, (did I say that out loud? It was just me) and we started talking about cooking. I was telling her about some of the vegan meals I made when my son came to visit. Then, I told her about my bad ass brownies (trade mark protected-not really.) So, out of the blue, she asked me for my recipe for my black eyed pea/bean salsa dip that I make. Uh oh! 🤷🏻‍♀️

If you know me, I don’t follow recipes. I just throw in stuff I have handy and wing it. I told her the basic ingredients, and she looked like maybe she got the idea.

So today, I decided just to make a big batch of the stuff and then she wouldn’t have to use the trial and error system that I’m known for. She was so kind to invite a bunch of us to the Smiles Charity Concert on Sunday, so this would make a nice thank you. Better than a card. You can’t eat a card. Well, you can if you’re a goat. She’s not a goat, but she’s a great KID. Ha, ((Did I say that out loud?)

I started out by pan roasting 5 cans of corn in a little vegetable oil until it starts to brown and crackle a little, then add salt, pepper and a ton of garlic powder. Well, not a ton, but a whole lot. (Use you’re judgement)
Then, I added about 5 or 6 cans of black eyed peas, 3 or 4 cans of black beans, a few cans of diced tomatoes, one was Rotel. (Drained, of course- beans, not tomatoes) Not pictured- 2 big jars of salsa (not Bernard’s-I save that for special meals) Then, maybe a cup or 2 of apple cider vinegar (that’s the secret) and a little more oil, maybe 1/2 cup? And maybe more garlic powder. I love garlic.

Now, you mix that all together in the largest big ass bowl (did I say that out loud?🤦‍♀️) that you have. I counted. I used about 20 cans and 2 big jars of ingredients. I just used what I had in my pantry. Yes, I keep a lot of stuff in my pantry… just for such occasions.

It’s good to refrigerate at least a few hours before serving. But, a day or two is even better. Serve cold with some tortilla chips. My favorite are Great Value Salsa Verde Chips from Walmart, but I rarely can find them. I have friends scouting them out for me when they shop. I’m down to my last bag. Oh no!

Now, when you serve this black eyed pea/salsa dip, (I think they call it Texas Caviar), try and get the salsa verde chips and wash it down with a margarita.

Ta- da… you’re welcome…de nada… adios!

Saturday:) Some More Vegan Supper Ideas

23 May

“Sometimes it’s not about trying to eat healthy as much as it is trying to use up the leftovers in the fridge.🤦‍♀️”

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’ll make a big confession. (It’s a Catholic thing) I’ve been eating quite a few vegan meals lately. No, I haven’t gone all vegan or vegetarian on ya. But, when my California vegan son was visiting me during Mother’s Day, we bought a ton of vegan foods and healthy stuff. I still have a lot left.

Yesterday, I had some vegan chorizo and egg burritos, and today I made some vegan quesadillas. I love cheese, and this vegan cheese is pretty darn good.

I warmed up two corn tortillas with the cheese until toasty in a dry pan, no butter or oil.
I added lettuce/spinach, tomato, avocado with a dollop of Bernard’s Gourmet Foods Salsa. (Of course.)

This was my lovely late lunch on a dreary drizzly Saturday. I was going to go for an evening walk, but it’s raining out there…again! Not again!

So, here’s where the Catholic confession part comes in. 🤦‍♀️ After that awesome healthy vegan lunch, I had some caramel praline ice cream. (Bless me Father for I have sinned. 🙏)

Is there such a thing as semi- vegan?

Sharing Saturday:) So, What’s Cookin’ Today

31 Jan

“Birds gotta fly in the sky, fish gotta swim in the lake. Miss Toni’s gotta cook, and she’s also gotta bake.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Today was an enchanting enchilada kinda day. I found that I have some friends and neighbors that love to eat but they hate to cook. Well, it just so happens that I love to cook and bake. What a perfect combination.

Today, Miss Kathy across the street was the lucky recipient of my OCC…Obsessive Compulsive Cooking. Chicken Cheese Enchiladas, with a side of salad, chips and Bernard’s Salsa.

After taste testing a full plate for quality assurance, dropping off my Super Uper Eats delivery across the street, I went for a slow evening stroll. The sunset wasn’t colorful, but rather a windy misty hazy blur. Still beautiful.

My equine Neighbor friend was enjoying his dinner while I soaked up the sunset.

A very nice lazy Saturday.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

7 Jan

“Food always tastes better when prepared with love and friendship.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It was pretty much a dreary gloomy grey day, but that’s ok. I had nowhere I needed to go, and nothing I had to do. Needless to say, I stayed under the warm covers till nearly noon. (Don’t Judge me! Just be jealous.)

I’ve been looking forward to using some of the handcrafted Vegan cheese that my California boy sent me for Christmas. I was in shock when I saw that he spend $66 just for shipping for about one pound of cheese, four small containers. But, he was so enthralled with the talented gentleman vegan cheese maker he met at a shop in LA, that he wanted to share with his mom.

He looks like an interesting guy, doesn’t he?

I decided to combine my Culinary loves, Mexican food (food, as I call it), flour tortillas, Matt’s wonderful vegan cheese, and my friends’ awesome salsa. Bernard’s Gourmet Foods Salsa, a little of my blackeyed pea salsa, baby spinach and tomato.

I even used a dry nonstick pan to make the vegan quesadillas. If I would have used butter, that would have taken away the whole vegan thing. (Matt would be proud.)

I cooked on a very low simmer so the cheese would melt.
Then, top with a little tomato y red pepper Bernard’s Salsa. YUM!

So, that’s what’s Cookin’. I enjoyed every bite. Thanks Matt. Thanks David and Michele Bernard. Thanks Youssef.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

29 Oct

“When the weather gets cold, the Quarantined get cookin’.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It’s been such a busy week… NOT! It’s been cold and dreary and misty and did I say dreary already? When it gets chilly, I go into polar bear hibernating mode. But, that’s only after I bake and cook and simmer and mess up the entire kitchen.

My favorite cold weather recipe is “Everything But the Kitchen Sink Soup.” Actually, you know me, I don’t use no stinkin’ recipes. I just go into the freezer, taking my life into my own hands, searching for possible soup ingredients, while frozen tubes of foiled wrapped cookie dough and hash browns come flying out and fall on my bare feet. Ouch!

I found a bunch of cool ingredients. Frozen mixed vegetables, spinach, a left-over sour dough bread bowl from Panera, and a couple of packages of meatloaf. In the fridge, I found celery, 1/2 a red cabbage, and 3 onions. In the pantry, a couple of cans of tomatoes with roasted chilies, two big containers of broth, and a couple of cans of cream of mushroom soup. Hmm? Did I miss anything?

I boiled and simmered that big pot all day, and it made the greatest soup. I put that defrosted leftover bread bowl in the toaster oven and added the soup, topped it with some cheese… oh man… heaven in a bowl.

I’m making you hungry, aren’t I? Well, come on over. I have some left over soup.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

9 Sep

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors — it’s how you combine them that sets you apart. — Wolfgang


I never got around to eating dinner last night, so after waking up at 6 am, a trip to the airport, a few errands on the way hope, and a two mile walk, by the time afternoon rolled around, I was getting hungry. My two choices for cooking are always 1) Massive quantities of food, endless pots and pans, dozens of cans and jars, and endless chopping and dicing, making a mess and plenty to share with friends and neighbors. OR 2) Just grab something fast and easy and tasty that I can make in five minutes just for me. Today, I chose the latter.

Here’s a real quick and yummy no-recipe recipe. (I don’t follow directions well)

The main ingredient and source of inspiration is always in my fridge or pantry. A jar of BERNARD’S GOURMET FOODS SALSA.

I opened a can of black beans, drained, and added a few tablespoons of Tomato Y Red Pepper Salsa right into the can and stirred it up. (Lazy) I scooped a few tablespoons of the mixture onto two pre-made Calidad Tostada shells, sprinkled with pepper jack cheese, and popped it into the toaster oven until cheese all melty warm. I topped with chopped baby spinach, because I love spinach, and a dollop of guacamole that I had leftover from yesterday’s Taco Tuesday at Nom Nom, and another spoonful of salsa. Very vegetarian friendly and yummy.

This quick and easy no-recipe recipe can feed just one person, or a large tribe of hungry nomad lumberjacks on Spring Break. (Not sure where I came up with that?)

For more real recipes and cooking ideas, check out the Facebook page of my good friends David and Michele, at Bernard’s Gourmet Foods. THE BEST! Seriously, you should friend them. You’ll be glad you did. 🤗

Toni’s Taco Tuesday and Sequestered Cinco de Mayo~ Salud.

6 May

Cinco de Mayo is here! Let’s give ’em something to taco bout!

How much Mexican food do I plan to eat this Cinco de Mayo, you ask? That’s nacho business!

Cinco de Mayo is boring… said no Juan ever.


This is the first time in ages that I didn’t have friends over for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, or go out to lunch or dinner. It’s not fun celebrating all by yourself, but I managed.

I love to cook, but I haven’t been to the store in weeks. So, I took my life into my own hands by searching the overstuffed freezer for some possible ingredients for dinner. Only two things fell on my foot during my search. No injuries.

I found some frozen cooked chicken breasts, chopped green pepper, and some frozen avocado. Oh yes, the ever important container of Minutemade Limeade for margaritas. I already had plenty of tortillas in the fridge. Every good Mexican has plenty of tortillas at all times.

After my evening walk, I started preparing my shredded chicken tacos with black beans.

While the tacos were frying, I mushed the now defrosted avocado with some Bernard’s Salsa, poured out some tortilla chips, and blended the margaritas. I know…I know… that’s enough food for an army. I’ll be having taco Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday. As long as the margaritas hold out, I’m OK with that.

Salud Amigos. Feliz Cinco de Mayo.

Yes, I do have my very own super cool sombrero.

Tuesday:) Tough Times Call For Some Serious Cookin’

15 Apr

“When the going gets tough, the tough start cookin’ up a storm.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’ve been in a crazy cooped-up quarantined deep funk. The only thing that helps me cope with such a dilemma is cooking and baking. I haven’t had much of an appetite despite all the wonderful tempting posts of delicious dinners by friends on Facebook.

It finally occurred to me that the only reason I enjoyed food was when it was shared with friends and family. I miss my lunches with the girls, and the potlucks at the dance every Monday, and the feasts with my senior artist friends, and the dinners with the gang, and making brownies and cupcakes for my firemen. It’s the sharing.

So, today I decided to do some cooking. Maybe it would cheer me up. My neighbor Allison gave me some leftover ham on Sunday. I decided to make some “everything but the kitchen sink soup.”

I took out all the remaining vegetables I had in the fridge, a bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli from the deep recesses of the freezer, and then I sliced and diced, added a few cans of beans and broth. It simmered for hours and the house smells yummy.

Well, the soup needed something special to go along with it. I remembered my friend Lynne had a wonderful recipe for cornbread that used creamed corn, sour cream, butter, eggs, and green chiles. What’s not to Like? Perfect!

I sat in front of the TV, and enjoyed my quarantined culinary extravaganza.

Now, what to do with all the leftovers?

Friday:) Food Frenzy Makes Me Happy

21 Mar

“If you are a chef, no matter how good a chef you are, it’s not good cooking for yourself; the joy is in cooking for others – it’s the same with music.”

~ will.i.am


I can’t even remember how many days it’s been since the world has “Gone to hell in a hand-basket.” And, if you have a hand-basket, make sure you stay six feet away from everyone, wash your hands carefully, and sanitize your hand-basket. It seems like forever, but in reality it’s only been a few weeks for us here in the states. And, it looks like no foreseeable end in sight.

Today, I did my usual routine of staying in bed until the cows came home. No cows, so I got moving around noon. I worked on a couple of small projects. One was framing one of my paintings to add to my personal home art gallery. (Wait till you see it when I’m done. Amazing.)

For the last three days, I’ve eaten the same thing every day for dinner. That was my only meal. For some reason lazy days slip into night before I think about eating. Here’s what I made each day. One flour tortilla, warmed in a dry pan till crispy, add a three bean and corn salsa mixture. I topped it with cheese, lettuce and a few dollops of plain yogurt. Yum! I’m not a vegetarian, I just happen to like this.

So, today I needed to cook. Ah, pasta. Massive quantities of pasta. That makes me happy.

I sautéed some Italian sausage and made a huge pot of pasta sauce, and boiled up two pounds of mostaccioli. When I cook, I cook tons so I can share. While the pasta was cooking, I made my famous Snicker peanut butter no bake pie. A big pie and some little ones. I made enough to share with Mr. Mike and my neighbor Kathy, and still have plenty for me.

Boy! I sure did make a mess, but that’s ok. It was fun.

Now, here’s the funny part. I finally realized today was Friday and I put sausage in the pasta and it’s Lent. Oops! No meat on Friday. It looked pretty good. I’ll have to wait till tomorrow. So, I made a big salad for dinner.

Oh well! The joy was more in the cooking and sharing than the eating it myself.

Now…. FINALLY… Black Russian Friday, my friends. Cheers!