Tag Archives: cooking

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’, Miss Toni~ Cheesy Artichoke Dip Tacos

16 Feb

“If you can’t be creative in the kitchen, you might as well give up and go to McDonald’s.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I keep trying to use up stuff that I have in the freezer. It seems like every time I force myself to finish a carton of ice cream to make room, I just cook more. Then, I have to find room in the freezer for the left overs. Then, I have to buy more ice cream. 🤦‍♀️ My problem is I love to took almost as much as I love to eat.

So the other day, I took out a large mysterious ziplock bag of stuff that I thought was spinach artichoke dip. Yeah! It was. So I decided to make some tacos with the mixture. Sounds weird, but it was really yummy.

I just scooped some of the mixture inside some flour tortillas. Oh yes, the original mixture was just a can or artichokes chopped up, cream cheese, chopped up spinach, and pepper jack cheese.
I put them in a dry pan. They didn’t need oil because when the cheese melted, it sort of oozed out and helped in the frying process. I cooked it on a slow heat so the inside could cook and melt.
Now, here’s a couple of awesome tips. I added baby spinach, a tiny bit of ranch dressing or plain yogurt, crumple up some Salsa Verde tortilla chips for crunch, then… the grande finale…. a little Bernard’s famous Mango Pineapple y Habañero salsa.

Ok, it’s after 5:30 pm, and all I’ve had to eat all day is a banana. This post is making me hungry. 🤦‍♀️🌮 I think I’ll make a couple more of these. 🤗

Wednesday:)What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni? Tamale Casserole

18 Nov

“When you start off with the best ingredients, the rest of the recipe is just a magic concoction of goodness.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


My dear friend Miss Virginia was making homemade tamales and asked me if I wanted any. Duh! Is the Pope Catholic? I picked up a couple dozen, and of course, I had to taste test a couple the minute I got home.

Instead of just gobbling them all up plain, I decided that I would make a couple of tamale casseroles for Baking or sharing.

Just using stuff I had around the house, I peeled off the husks (hojas)
I lined the pans with canned diced tomatoes (chili ready), then layered the tamales on top.
A little bit more tomatoes, then a layer of black beans. I love black beans. I sprinkle on a lot of garlic powder. I love garlic, but tooooo lazy to chop and use fresh.
Then, sprinkle with pepper jack cheese and a little dollop of Bernard’s salsa for a zip. A little goes a long way… pretty spicy. Now: one to bake and one for the fridge or a friend. Yum!

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’, Miss Toni?

14 Oct

“Cooking and baking is just a chore for some, but for me, it’s an amazing and fun creative outlet.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I just love to cook and bake. You don’t hear that very often, but it’s true for me. The other day, I roasted a huge batch of veggies. I used it in soups, tacos, frittatas, and ate some just right out of the pan.Who doesn’t love veggies? (Cut and chop once, eat for days.)

That was a LOT of chopping.

Another favorite snack is my homemade “Texas Caviar” bean salsa. (Black eyed peas, roasted corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes.) The secret ingredient is a touch of Bernard’s Jalapeño Habañero Salsa. Just a touch because it’s REALLY caliente. Then, Salsa verde tortilla chips. Oh don’t forget some candy bars. This little snack went over to my friend Sherry’s house on Sunday.
Don’t forget my famous brownies. The mini marshmallows in the batter and chocolate chips on top make them awesome.

Right now, I’m having my left over veggies with cream of mushroom soup, topped with Pepper Jack cheese and crumbled salsa verde tortilla chips.

Time to eat. Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’, Miss Toni?

15 Sep

Cooking is like love: It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” — Harriet van Horne


And to add to the above quote, it should also be entered into without a recipe or timetable.

Those of you who know me well, know that I love to cook. Yes, I do so with complete abandon. Hmm… I’ve probably abandoned a few projects too.

As I’ve mentioned before, being Mexican-American, I like to make “food.” You may call it Mexican food. So yesterday, when my neighbor Kathy asked if I wanted to go to dinner for Taco Tuesday, I said, “Why don’t you just come here and I’ll make FOOD.”

I made chicken quesadillas with all the fixins’ and Kathy brought all the liquid refreshments for margaritas.
I wanted to share my no-recipe recipe for black eyed pea and bean salsa stuff, just in case you missed it a previous time. It goes well with anything or just as an appetizer with tortilla chips. It also made a visit to my friendly fire stations for 9/11 and several friends and neighbors.
4 or 5 cans of corn, drained, dry roasted in a big pan (casueala above) When corn starts to brown, add a swig of vegetable oil, add two big cans of diced tomatoes, 5 or 6 or 7 cans of black eyed peas (drained), 2 or 3 cans of black beans (drained) 1 jar of salsa, and a jar of sliced pickled jalapeños (mushed) I put as many cans of stuff as will fit in the big casuela. (Secret ingredient- about a cup of apple cider vinegar.) I simmer for a little while, then let cool.
I put the cooled mixture in jars for sharing. The stuff is always better the next day or two after it’s coagulated and fermented.

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.