Archive for the ‘Recipes’ category


March 27, 2016

He is risen. He is risen indeed! Of course, that was the common phrase going around this morning at Ocean View. So here’s our tale of what we did for Easter. Easter for us is about family.

We usually go to the 10:30 AM church service at Ocean View. The 0900 service is just too early and I’ll certainly not have any of this “Sunrise Service” stuff. The choir is at the top of their form. Pastor Jacques even finished pretty much on time.

The kids are scrubbed clean and dressed up in their Sunday finest. Jonathan had on a white shirt and a tie. Miss Sarah had a pretty nice dress that was bought for her by Aunt Mary in Hingham. Of course, when I took the picture of Jonathan he had a muffin in his mouth.

Normally after church on Sunday’s we go out for brunch at one of several excellent diners in San Pedro. I know that one of the diners was closed today so that the wait-staff could attend church (Pacific Diner). It is my opinion, worker friendly businesses like this should be rewarded with our business.

Our friend Vicky (who works at Pacific diner) asked us what we will be doing for dinner on Tuesday. Our answer was the we need to get done with today before we think about Tuesday.

On Easter and Mother’s Day we have taken to doing brunch at home rather than go out to a fancy restaurant. Those Sundays are just too crowded for our taste. When we do it at home and the kids finish eating, they can be excused from the table and go play. Can’t do that at a restaurant.

So what to have for brunch? We usually do some form of brunch eggs and pancakes or waffles. The waffle part was easy. Get out the waffle iron and pancake mix. The only problem we have is keeping them hot while I cook the rest of them. Each waffle takes about 5 minutes. Fresh strawberries and real maple syrup, too. Believe it or not, but you can buy real maple syrup on the west coast.


The brunch eggs is a mashup of various recipes I have used in the past. This time we had a package of Pillsbury crescent rolls in the refrigerator, so we used those. Spread a single layer in the bottom of an 9×13″ baking dish. Sometimes we use Pillsbury refrigerator biscuits. Failing that, use Pepperidge Farm white bread toasted.

Then saute 1/2 an onion and 1/2 a green pepper in a frying pan. Add some meat. We had some diced ham on hand (8oz. package).  It got added to the frying pan.


In a small bowl, scramble 10 eggs with 3/4 c of milk. Add the egg mixture, to the frying pan. Then transfer the egg, pepper & onions to the 9×13 pan. Then sprinkle with a layer of shredded cheddar cheese. Cook in a 350F oven for about 1/2 an hour. Check with tooth pick in the center for doneness.

We also had plenty of candy. We had some peeps, jelly beans, chocolate bunnies.

Here’s a picture someone posted of the Boston Peeps. (Arthur Fiedler is probably rolling over in his grave.)


Joe’s Kick-Ass Sausage Lasagna

February 2, 2016

img_4131Today is Tuesday and that means family for dinner. I addition to the usual attendees, we will have our number 2 son Neil honoring us with his presence.

So we decided to have lasagna. The benefit of lasagna is that one can make it up ahead of time and then pop it into the oven 45 minutes before dinner.

So here’s what you need:

  • 2 24 oz. jars of spaghetti sauce. (I like some of the spicy variants but use what you like.)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 15oz. Container of Ricotta cheese (I usually get the low-fat version)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 lb of sausage meat
  • 8 oz lasagna noodles (1/2 a package)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the box. (Usually about 8 minutes).  Remove from heat and drain into a sieve. Allow to cool for a while.
  2. Chop the onion and garlic. Saute in large frying pan.
  3. When onions are translucent add the sausage meat. Stir and break up the clumps. Cook until the sausage is fully cooked.
  4. In a small mixing bowl add the egg and beat. Then add the ricotta. The egg helps make the ricotta easier to spread.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the sauce. Add about half the sauce to the sausage mixture.
  6. Now we put it all together. In a 9″x 13″ baking dish. Spray with non-stick spray. Put a layer of sauce (the sauce without the meat) on the bottom of the dish.
  7. Add your first layer of noodles. Then a layer of the 1/2 the meat sauce mixture.
  8. Add about half of the ricotta. Spread it around. Then add a little more sauce.
  9. Add second layer of noodles. Add the rest of the meat mixture. Add the rest of the ricotta. Cover with sauce.
  10. Third layer of noodles. Add half the remaining sauce (the meatless sauce). Cover with Mozarella.
  11. Fourth layer of noodles. Rest of sauce and rest of Mozarella.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap. Put in refrigerator. Pour yourself a glass of Chianti. You’re done until it’s time to put it in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake for about 45 minutes. Don’t forget to remove the plastic wrap. Serve with warm garlic bread and a nice Chianti.

Fish Cakes

January 11, 2016

Back in the day, when I was a child, the Roman Catholic church forbade members from eating meat on Friday’s. The idea was that we were supposed to atone for our sins by giving up something that we enjoyed. In our neck of the woods, I think that the idea backfired. A generation grew up really liking fish seeing that was the main alternative to roast beef or chicken.

So as a child we would eat fish cakes for Friday breakfast. I know what you’re thinking. That’s a bit weird. But for us it was our normal. Fish cakes for breakfast and frozen fish sticks for dinner. My parents might not have fish sticks for dinner, they probably had a lobster. Fish cakes lathered with ketchup was good eating. Today, I would probably add some hot sauce.

So on Thursday evening while the kids were working on their homework around the kitchen table, my mom and dad worked on prepping the fish cakes for the following morning. They would use salt cod mixed together with boiled potatoes. So the fish cakes would be put into the refrigerator ready to be fried on Friday morning.

Salt cod can be difficult to find in a supermarket. But it can be found. You need to ask the man in the meat/fish department. Sometimes they’ll have it, other times not. You could of course get a dumb look.

Believe it or not, you can buy salt cod on I haven’t tried it but I probably will one of these days. Salt cod needs to be soaked for 8-12 hours before you can use it in a recipe to remove the salt. So you can’t do this on the spur of the moment.

Also, there are tons or recipes available on the internet. Here’s one of the recipes that I have used and like. Click here.

Pot Roast & Cannolis

June 17, 2015

2015-06-16 19.23.38Today is our daughter in law Theresa’s birthday. We celebrated it last night when her family came for our usual Tuesday evening dinner. We had an excellent cannoli cake from Amalfitano’s Bakery in San Pedro. The cake was very tasty indeed. If you are ever in the Boston area, the place to go for cannolis is Mike’s Bakery in the North End. No visit to Boston should go without a trip to Mike’s. You haven’t lived until you have had a cannoli from Mike’s Bakery.

Now let me talk about the main course. I made a pot roast in our crock pot along with potatoes, onions and carrots. It was very popular with the family. There was not a scrap left. Well, truth be told, there was some gray left. But.leftover gravy is not much use without something to put it on. Plus, when you save leftover pot roast gravy you find out how much fat was in the gravy because the fat congeals in the refrigerator over night. I don’t want to know that.  I probably could have added an extra potato or carrot. Though the crock pot was pretty full. Here’s the pointer to the recipe.Pot roast is best when the meat falls apart when poked with a fork.

Even Jonathan liked it. Jonathan is 3 1/2 and has moved up to a booster seat to sit at the table. He usually likes to have his food on his Winny the Pooh plate. Jonathan is going through a ketchup phase. He likes ketchup with most everything.

Sometimes the ketchup phase lasts a life time. Our friend Shawn is 40 some years old and still puts ketchup on his eggs and other stuff. Sean’s significant other (Vickie) still tries to break him of the habit. So far that hasn’t worked. I always tell Vickie that there are far worse habits that a man can have. Ketchup on eggs is not one of them.

Steak and Asparagus Stir Fry

February 27, 2015

2015-02-26 19.07.45Last night, Paula and I were talking about what to do for dinner. We had some thin cut steaks in the refrigerator. They were a bit thin for cooking on the Foreman Grill and we don’t have a gas BBQ grill (forbidden by our condo rules). So I suggested doing a stir fry. In our house, he (or she) who proposes, disposes.

So here’s what I did. I cut the steaks into half inch strips and put them in a bowl. I added about 3Tbs of Worcestershire sauce, 3Tbs of Terriyaki sauce and 3 Tbs of Balsamic vinegar (to tenderize). I let the meat marinate in the bowl for about 45 minutes.

Then I sliced a medium onion and added it to the frying pan. Add 3 Tbs of Olive oil and the onions. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the meat mixture and cook for about 10 minutes. I then added a package of frozen asoaragus (just happened to have the frozen asparagus on hand). If we had fresh, I would have used it. Cook another 10 minutes,

Finally I added a Tbsp of flour to thicken the sauce in the frying pan.

2015-02-26 19.07.50Meanwhile, just before all this started I put on a box of Near East Rice Pilaf to cook which takes about 25 minutes. Serve the steak and asparagus over the rice.

General Tso’s Chicken

February 23, 2015

So, inquiring minds want to know. Who was General Tso and why did he have a chicken dish named after him? I was having a conversation with my daughter-in-law Theresa about Chinese food (of the American variety) in general and General Tso’s chicken in particular.

According to Wikipedia, General Tso probably refers to Tso Tsung-t’ang who was a Chinese statesman and military leader in the late Qing Dynasty. He was born in 1812 and died in 1885.

He served in China’s northwestern regions, quelling the Dungan revolt and various other disturbances. There doesn’t seem to be any particular connection to him. The roots of the dish seem to lie in the post-1949 exodus of Chinese chefs to America. So the answer is no, the General did not actually eat this excellent dish.

Here’s the full Wikipedia entry on General Tso’s Chicken.

Now for some of the recipes. There are tons of recipes to be found. Here are just a few. (Click on the hyperlink).




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Sausage Lasagna

February 17, 2015

2015-02-17 13.30.44Tuesday evening is we have Mike and his family over for dinner. That means that on Monday morning Paula and I are scratching our heads figuring out what to serve. Yesterday, we decided to do Lasagna. We hadn’t done that in a while. Sometimes we do a baked zitti sort of dish. Same ingredients except using zitti instead of lasagna noodles. Sometimes, I do the cooking, sometime Paula. Lasagna is my dish, so I do the cooking this time.

So without further ado, here is my recipe for baked lasagna.


2 jars of pasta sauce. We tend to like the various “Paul Newman” sauces. Today we used a jar of his “Sockaroonie” and jar of tomato basil. Choose what you like. I guess I’m too lazy to bother doing my own sauce from scratch. So sue me.

1 medium onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, diced

3 Tbsp Olive oil

1 12 oz package of ground sausage meat. There are usually several variations available at the market. One of these days I will try making with the hot spicy sausage variant.

1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese (we usually get the “light” variety made with skim milk)

1 egg

1 package of grated mozzarella cheese. I think it is the 2 c size. (ditto on the “Light” variety)

1 package of lasagna noodles. Here’s the thing that annoys me. The one pound package gives you more pasta than you can use to fill a 9″x13″ pan. 1/2 the package is not enough. So I count out about 15-16 pieces of lasagna pasta and save the rest for later.


  1. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Occasionally, I’ve seen suggestions on how to do no-boil lasagna. Don’t do it. It sucks. Boil the pasta. No shortcuts. Drain in a colander.
  2. Saute’ the onions and garlic in a large skillet. When the onions and garlic are translucent, add the sausage meat. Cook until the sausage is cooked through.
  3. Add one of the jars of sauce and stir.
  4. In a medium size bowl, mix the egg and the ricotta. The egg makes for a texture that is easier to spread onto the noodles.
  5. Now for the putting all together part. Spray a 9″x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  6. Put a layer of sauce (from the other jar that didn’t go into the meat). then add a layer of noodles.
  7. Add a layer of the meat sauce and then add a layer of about 1/2 the ricotta mixture.
  8. Put down the second layer of noodles and repeat with the second half of the meat sauce. Add the rest of the ricotta.
  9. Another layer of noodles. Now add a layer of the sauce without the meat. Add a layer of the mozzarella.
  10. Now put down the final layer of noodles. Add the rest of the sauce. Add the rest of the mozzarella.

One of the nice things about this dish is that one can do all of the prep work early and then just put in the oven when your guests are due to arrive. Indeed, tonight I won’t even be there since I will be at a Shrine club meeting. Lasagna tastes better as leftovers anyway. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Serves 6-8.


December 30, 2014

Cioppino is an Italian fish stew that an excellent choice for a cold winter’s day. (Even in LA). Temperature today in San Pedro is in low 50’s with light rain. Not exactly weather back in Mass, but chilly nevertheless. The attached recipe belonged to Paula’s father Harold. Harold died in 2009. Whenever we have it, we think of him. It was one of his favorite dishes.

There are tons of recipes for cioppino available online. Here is the pointer to the Wikipedia entry.

2014-12-30 19.25.49

Selection of fish depends on what’s available at fish monger. Quantity depends on how many people you are serving. Our choices also depend on the price of various fish components. One can end up spending a lot of money at the fish counter.

2014-12-30 19.36.31



1/4 c Olive Oil
1 Onion (large), chopped
1 Clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp Parsley, fresh, chopped
1/2 c Celery, chopped.
1/2 c Green Pepper, chopped
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
2/3 c red wine (Harold’s handwritten copy specifies 1 cup Stanley wine. Back in the day, Harold made his own wine.)
4 c water (optional: substitute 8 oz clam juice for one cup of water)
1/4 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Red Pepper
pinch of Rosemary (Harold’s copy suggested “or any other young lady”)
1/2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 lobster tails – Cut in 1″ pieces
1/2 lb Medium shrimp
6-12 Scallops
3 Crab legs – cut in half
6-12 Little shell clams
6-12 Mussels
1 lb white fish ( Swai, Cod or whatever’s available. One can find Cod on the west coast but usually it’s expensive.), cut in 1″ pieces


Heat oil in large kettle. Saute onion, garlic, parsley, celery and green pepper until golden.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, paprika and wine.

Simmer 15-20 minutes – Stir occasionally.

Add water and remaining seasonings. Cook slowly for 45-60 minutes.

15 minutes before serving. Add chunks of white fish.
10 minutes before serving. Add shell fish.
Cook over low heat until fish are done. The clams should open up when they are done.

Serve with garlic bread and a glass of red wine (in a glass, not the soup). I suggested Chianti, but I was outvoted by Paula. So we had a nice Cabernet Sauvignon). Thr version we made tonight didn’t have either the crab legs or lobster tails. Too expensive.

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Rosy Beef Stew

July 10, 2014

Here is the recipe for beef stew mentioned in my previous post. Note: click here to down load the document.

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Shepherd’s Pie

March 19, 2014

Last night was our weekly family dinner night. In honor of St Patrick we had Shepherd’s Pie, not corned beef. I despise corned beef. And seeing as it was my turn to cook, we decided to do Shepherd’s pie.
 So hear is my recipe. It’s mostly in my head. It is not one of those meals that I need to work from a written recipe. There are many variations of shepherd’s pie to be found on the internet. This is just my variation on the theme.

 1.5lb ground beef
 2 c Fresh mushrooms
 1 med onion, chopped
 1/2 of a 16oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots. Generic store brand is fine.
 2 bags instant mashed potatoes (I use the “just add water” variation for about 4-6 servings)
 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
 1 jar brown gravy (12 oz. Heinz or equivalent) Some recipes suggest using cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup. My preference is the gravy.
 1/2 tsp ground pepper
 1 tsp salt
 Sauté the onions and mushrooms in a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Then set aside. [Last night we skipped the onions because Theresa is sensitive to onions.]
 Brown the ground beef. After the ground beef is cooked, drain the fat. Add the mushrooms, onion, peas and carrots and the gravy. Add the salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. You might not need the whole jar of gravy. Judge for yourself how “soupy” you want it to be.
 Pour the ground beef mixture into 7×13 casserole dish.
 Prepare the mashed potatoes as directed on the package. Spread the mash potatoes on top of the ground beef.
 Sprinkle the cheddar on top.
 Bake in 350 oven for about 20 minutes (cheese should be melted and gravy bubbling on the edges.)
 Variations: Some folks use either green beans or corn. Not my preference though.
 Also, best served with Guinness beer and Irish Whiskey.

 Jonathan seemed to like the concoction. Though, I think he mostly liked the mashed potato part, less so for the hamburger.
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