Tag Archives: cooking

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

29 Oct

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

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

Saturday:) So What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

19 Oct

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 Puck

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The skies were clear and the temperatures perfect this morning. I took Bella for a walk around the pond, soaking up the crisp morning air, before running errands.

I went to the bank, cleaners, grocery store, then met Helene for lunch at Anamia’s Tex-Mex. We sat outside and enjoyed the afternoon. Helene spent her morning making potato salad for a couple of functions we were both invited to. I had to go home and start my macaroni marathon. (Not really macaroni. More like pasta salad.)

I figured if I was invited to two different pot luck gatherings, I’d make the same thing for both. I’m used to cooking mass quantities.

So, I started off with two pounds of mini pene pasta. While that was boiling, I cut up several pounds of broccoli, eight Roma tomatoes, and diced some red onion. (Onions are very sharp, so I always microwave or sauté a minute to ease up on the sharpness.)

When the pasta was drained, I added a pound bag of frozen peas. This also helps the pasta cool faster. Because I had so much and needed to stir, I used two big mamma Tupperware bowls. I added an entire bag of shredded Colby Jack cheese, an entire bottle of ranch dressing and Italian dressing, and about 1/2 cup of Mayonnaise. Then, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

I had to scooch (technical cooking term) half of the pasta mixture onto half the side of the broccoli tomato mixture, and reverse. This way I had room to toss and mix. When all was said and done, I was able to squeeze both mixtures into one big bowl, filled to the brim.

Now, to find room in the fridge. 🤦‍♀️ That is the biggest challenge. Wish me luck.

So, that’s what’s cookin’ here. I need to get out for an evening walk, and maybe catch the sunset.

Happy Saturday, my friends. 🙋

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

13 Jun

“Recipes? I don’t need no stinkin’ recipes.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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If you know me, you know I love to cook and bake. You may also know that I am incapable of cooking or baking for one, or two, or three. I cook massive quantiles and give most, if not all, away. I’ll just get a notion, and look in the over flowing Pantry or freezer for inspiration, then have at it.

A couple weeks ago it was pasta. Three pounds of pasta and eight containers later, I ended up giving it all away. I didn’t even save a meal of it for myself, mostly because I kept going out to lunch or dinner, and never ate at home.

This week it was egg salad. I wanted to make sandwiches for the pot luck for the senior center country dance, and some for the pot luck for McKinney Creative Community. Both were on Monday. So…eggs were on sale. When life gives you eggs on sale, you make egg salad, and lots of it.

So, it was Sunday night around 1 am, actually Monday morning, when I decided to boil the 20 eggs and start the adventure. I’m a night owl. After boiling a long time, I don’t time them, I just fool around on Facebook, check emails, and when it seems like they’ve been bubbling around a long time, I turn off the stove. By now, it was 1:30, so I drained, rinsed in cold water, then threw in a big pitcher full of ice cubes, so I could put them in the fridge and go to sleep. They cooled off fast, but a couple of the shells had started to crack. When I peeled those two, they peeled so easily, that I decided to peel all 20, then go to bed.

Monday morning, I got up around 8 am, I went to Zumba, then came home to make the egg salad before the dance.

I softened a package of cream cheese and added some Miracle Whip. The jar was almost empty, so I added some Mayo. I don’t measure. Added salt, pepper, and lots of garlic powder. I chopped about 1/4 onion. But, I don’t like raw onion, so I nuked it about 2 minutes and threw that in. I chopped up the 20 eggs and added that. It was kinda dry, so I added another scoop of mayo. Then, I made the sandwiches. Each loaf of bread made 12 sandwiches, which I quartered to look pretty and for easier eating. Also, we get up to 100 people at the dance. I made the second tray later when I got home from the dance. I just barely had time to make the sandwiches before running off to The Cove for Creative Community at 5:30.

I also baked a fruit upside down cake, but that’s another non-recipe and another story for another day. I’m making you hungry, aren’t I? Well, have a good one. 🙋

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

14 Feb

“Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation– experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way.”

~Paul Theroux

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Monday was a busy cookin’ day. Actually, there wasn’t much cookin’ involved. I had two different potlucks to attend. One was for the country dance at the senior center and the other for McKinney Creative Community. Both potlucks usually have an overload of cookies, cakes, snacks and chips, but not many regular foods. Last week, I took sandwiches, and they disappeared. So, this week I decided to double up, actually triple up.

I made 10 egg salad sandwiches, 10 tuna salad, and 10 peanut butter and jelly. I cut them and quartered them into triangles, so I ended up with 120 little sandwiches. I found that one loaf of bread has exactly 20 pieces of bread and two heal ends. So, three loaves made a lot.

The secret to my egg salad and tuna salad is I use 1/2 cream cheese and half mayo. Yum. Oh yah, I used 16 eggs and 4 cans of tuna. For the tuna, my tip is…. I buttered one side of the bread, put the tuna salad on, then added some lettuce so the bread wouldn’t get too soggy.

Now, for my PB&J secret… The peanut butter was kinda tearing the bread. It was soft, but the bread was softer. So, light bulb moment… why not mix the jelly into the peanut butter to make it softer. Voila! Worked…and tasted better and the jelly didn’t ooze out.

Left side not mixed-right side mixed. Yep! I’m going to mix my PB with my J from now on.

So, with all those sandwiches and two batches of brownies, I had enough left over to take to my senior artist friends at Towne Creek for an impromptu lunch of sandwiches, chips, brownies and ginger ale.

And a batch of brownies for my firemen friends at station 9. Can’t forget my firemen. There were a lot of trucks and cars outside when I drove past earlier in the day, so I took an extra large batch.

That was a busy couple of days of fixin’ food. Hey, I’m still not done. As soon as I post this, I have 14 dozen mini cupcakes that I baked earlier today that need frosting, and a couple of more batches of brownies to bake for tomorrow. Art Club tomorrow morning and Sherry, Lynne and I are hostesses. I’ll keep ya posted.

Off I go…wish me luck.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

31 Jan

” If you don’t like to follow recipes or directions in life, make up your own recipes and go your own direction.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Remember Saturday morning, when my CRHP sister ps and I made breakfast for 70 ladies? I wanted to share my non-recipe-recipe for Breakfast Biscuits.

I started out with 5 tubes of flaky biscuits, like the Pillsbury Grand, but they weren’t on sale, so I got the store brand for 1/2 the price. Then, I greased the muffin pans with butter, split each biscuit in 1/2 and smooshed each 1/2 into the pan. So, 8 biscuits will make 16 liners. I preheated the oven to 325 only, (dark pan) and then baked the pans for just a few minutes, like 5, because they rise up. I take them out and smoosh the now puffy biscuit with (I had to look around the house for the right too.) a glass bud vase to tamp down the biscuit so there is room to fill. Then, bake a few more minutes, maybe 5. They should still be 1/2 done because you’re going to bake with filling.

See, when you smoosh, they flatten out and make a better crust.

Next, I sautéed onion, red and green pepper and 2 tubes of Italian sausage. When browned, I added a 4 lb. bag of hash browns, cooked that some and cool, then beat up 10 eggs and mixed that in,

I put a heaping tablespoon or more of the mixture in each shell, sprinkled with cheese, refrigerated then baked them at 325 the next day at church. You could freeze them at this stage or bake them 90% and freeze. Your choice. They were yummy.

That’s my no-recipe-recipe. Any questions? Give me a holler.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni and What Day Is It?

13 Dec

“All cooking is a matter of time. In general, the more time the better.”

John Erskine

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While I’m visiting my sister, I decided to to some major cooking, and healthy cooking, for that matter.

I love to cook and she hates to cook, so right there, that’s a great combination. We went to the store and bought tons of fresh fruit and vegetables,

My first big project was some vegetable soup. What kind you ask? I call it, “Everything but the kitchen sink soup.” First, I gathered all her vegetables that were neglected in the fridge, then added the fresh ones from the store, Because the contents of the one large pot started to get too full, a second big pot was employed.

At the very end, I added some small thin egg noodles. My poor sister has been eating this for a few days and still had enough to freeze a few containers.

There’s a new project in the oven now, as we speak, but I’ll save that for another day. It’s still roasting. Yum! I can smell the wonderful aroma from the kitchen.

NOW! FOR WHAT DAY IT IS… 12-12 is the Feast of Our Lady Of Guadalupe. It’s a good day.

About Our Lady of Guadalupe Day

It is believed that a man named Juan Diego encountered the Virgin Mary twice in Mexico City, on December 9 and December 12 in 1531. According to legend, Mary told Juan to ask the bishop to build a church on Tepeyac Hill. However, the bishop needed proof of Juan’s encounter and asked for a miracle. Juan returned to the hill to see roses in a spot where there were previously cacti. When Juan Diego returned, he showed the roses to the archbishop and also revealed an image on his cloak of the Lady of Guadalupe. The bishop was convinced of the miracle and built a church in honor of the event.

Did You Know?

According to the story of the Lady of Guadalupe, Mary spoke in the Nahuatl language when she appeared to Diego. It is said that millions of indigenous people in Mexico were converted to Catholicism as a result of her appearance and miracle.