The Making Of 200 Stuffed Mushrooms

Day 0 - Involvement
All I wanted to do is prove that men can cook too, so I volunteered to work on preparations for the party.

"What can I bring?" I asked. Sue looked at her list.

"How about stuffed mushrooms?".

Well, I've made stuffed mushrooms a few times, and never been too impressed. But they are easy enough to make - just snap the stems off, chop up the stems, add a few veggies and spices, stuff the mixture into the empty (stems removed) caps, and bake. An easy project.

"Sounds good to me. How many shall I bring? A couple dozen or so?".

"Well, we're planning on 50 people. Better make it a few more. Say 200."

Whoops.

Well, I'm not one to back down, so I thought why not? And the fun began.

Day 1 - Purchase and Preparation
So how do you get 200 mushrooms? That's a lot of mushrooms. Thanks to Lois, also in the party planning committee, I found my way to Lunardi's Grocery in Walnut Creek.

Inside I went, to the vegetable department, and found a grocery clerk. And 10 minutes later, I left the store with a 10 pound case of fresh mushrooms.

Did I say this already? That's a lot of mushrooms.

First, came the task of cleaning. Well, the largest container that I have, that was suited for this task, was a salad spinner. Which held a couple pounds at a time. And I quickly developed a routine, born of necessity.

  • Half fill the empty salad spinner with dirty (and boy were they) mushrooms.
  • Fill with water, agitate til water turns brown.
  • Drain mushrooms from salad spinner.
  • Replace slightly clean mushrooms in salad spinner, and repeat process.
  • As each quantity of mushrooms became so clean that the water drained off them was clear, agitate the drainer well to ensure that all of the water drained off them, then dump the clean mushrooms into a Tupperware container.
  • Repeat the above process, with another 2 pounds or so.

Once I had filled 3 large Tupperware containers with nice clean, dry mushrooms, I sealed the containers, put them in the refrigerator, and called it a day.


BEFORE



  • Empty mushroom caps.
  • Mushroom stems.
  • Bread crumbs.
  • Leftover mushrooms (my patience ran thin after 200).
  • Chopped veggies.


Day 2 - Cooking
The second day started with my realisation that my old recipe - One Dozen Easy Stuffed Mushrooms - was nowhere to be found. The reason why I started this blog, in the first place, was that I had grown tired of my recipe box - which was an index card holder stuffed full of documents that were not all on index cards. Looking it up on the web is so much easier, and more fun.

So back to the web I went, and, from a Gohoo of:

recipe stuffed mushrooms garlic onion cheese

I rounded up half a dozen or so interesting recipes. From the recipes, I observed:

  • Proper proportions.
  • Additional ingredients.
  • Cooking techniques.

The issue of cooking techniques, in particular, was quite enlightening. I learned to (DOHH) cook the spices / stems / veggies mixture BEFORE adding it to the bread / cheese, and stuffing the mushrooms. So that's why the ones I made always fell apart, and why the veggies were always so hard when the mushrooms were eaten.

The idea of letting the mushrooms cook until the pan was full of water was, likewise, a new idea to me. Previously, I had thought that shrunken, watery mushrooms meant that they had been cooked for too long, and at too high a heat. So my previous attempts would end up with semi-cooked, yet leathery, mushrooms.

The whole Internet experience was well worth the time. Obviously, you already know that, cause you're here. Unless you're here for the laughs, in which case welcome to Chuck's Kitchen. And, if you're ever in the Martinez area, and feel the need for spiritual refreshment, you could do a lot worse than dropping by Martinez UMC, which is where this story started.


AFTER



  • 3 pans of cooked and drained stuffed mushrooms (some taste testing was done, you will count MAYBE 150 I dunno).
  • Leftover caps.
  • Leftover stems.

I didn't buy enough bread, and ran out of crumbs, after stuffing 175 or so, so I had a few mushrooms left over. The leftovers were cooked the following week, when I wrote my second recipe using normal quantities.

Stuffed Mushrooms - Normal Recipe

This recipe uses much more maneagable portions of ingredients - and should be much easier to cook.

2 Lbs mushrooms, properly chosen and cleaned - 40 or 50
8 oz bread, crumbed
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1/2 C finely chopped celery
1/2 t green spices - marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C powdered cheese - Parmesan or Romano
1 T olive oil

Buy a 16 oz loaf of bread - I used sourdough (Northern Californian specialty) several days ahead of time, cut the loaf in half, and preserve one half for normal eating. Take the other half, cut or break into slices or chunks, and let it dry out, in an oven if necessary. Turn them into crumbs, in a food processor. Dry crumbs are best - they get moistened later.

Remove the stem from each mushroom. This is where large, slightly stale mushrooms are best. Set the caps and stems aside.

Peel and finely chop the garlic - in a food processor. Remove the garlic from the food processor, and set aside.

Chop the mushroom stems in the food processor, into crumbs, next.

Chop the bread into crumbs, as finely as possible, in the food processor, last. The hard bread crumbs help scrub the mushroom and garlic off the food processor container. Mix the cheese into the crumbs while processing. Combine the bread crumbs and cheese thoroughly, and set aside.

Heat up a Dutch Oven until water droplets sizzle when dropped in. Add Olive Oil. Add garlic, saute very briefly. Crumble the spices (crush them with your fingers) into the garlic, add onions and celery, mix well and saute until onions are transparent and slightly soft. Add chopped mushrooms, mix well and saute until they start to give off water. Turn off the heat, and let the veggies cool a bit.

Add the cooked veggies to the bread crumb and cheese, mix well. The bread / veggies will turn into a thick ghooey paste - which is good. You want a pasty mixture so it will stick inside the mushroom caps.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Start stuffing the mushroom caps. I found it works best to just scoop up a teaspoon or so of stuffing, turn the spoon over and gently pack the stuffing into the cap. Scrape the spoon in both directions for an attractive, mounded effect. Just pack the stuffing in slightly, and put on a baking sheet. Mushrooms are not like cookies - you do not have to leave expansion room - they will shrink as they cook.

Fill up one baking sheet, stick it in the (by now) heated oven. Let it cook 15 - 30 minutes, until the stuffing is brown on the top, the mushrooms are giving off water, and they have shrunk. Take the sheet out of the oven, and use a spoon to pick up and transfer the cooked mushrooms to another, dry sheet. Set the sheet aside to cool. Stick the next sheet into the oven, and repeat. Pack the mushrooms tightly on the cooking sheet.

Cover each sheet of cooked, repacked, and cooled mushrooms with aluminum foil, airtight, and refrigerate. Refrigerated, and slightly hardened, mushrooms travel better, and tightly packed mushrooms have less air surface, and will slide around less, so get less damage when traveling.

Just before serving, sprinkle the tops with just a bit of cheese, and broil for 5 - 10 minutes until the added cheese browns just slightly.

Stuffed Mushrooms - 200 Of Them

Yeah, this recipe is for 200 of them. Here is another recipe, for a slightly less ambitious amount. And here is an account of my attempt, which lead to this recipe.

10 POUNDS mushrooms, properly chosen and cleaned
2 POUNDS bread, crumbed
2 C finely chopped onion
2 C finely chopped celery
1/2 C green spices - marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme
1 HEAD garlic
1 C powdered cheese - Parmesan or Romano
1/4 CUP olive oil
Lots of time
Full size food processor
2 or 3 large mixing bowls
4 11 x 18 inch cookie baking sheets

This is not an afternoons project - plan on at least 2 days of intensive work.

Buy 2 16 oz loaves of bread - I used sourdough (Northern Californian specialty) several days ahead of time, and let them dry out. Cut or tear into chunks, dry in oven if necessary. Turn them into crumbs, in a food processor. Dry crumbs are best - they get moistened later.

Remove the stem from each mushroom. This is where large, slightly stale mushrooms are best. Set the caps and stems aside.

Peel and finely chop the garlic - in a food processor. Remove the garlic from the food processor, and set aside.

Chop the mushroom stems in the food processor, into crumbs, next.

Chop the bread into crumbs, as finely as possible, in the food processor, last. The hard bread crumbs help scrub the mushroom and garlic off the food processor container. Mix the cheese into the crumbs while processing. 32 ounces of bread will be several batches, unless you have a pretty large food processor (I didn't). Combine the bread crumbs and cheese thoroughly, and set aside.

Heat up a Dutch Oven until water droplets sizzle when dropped in. Add Olive Oil. Add garlic, saute briefly. Crumble the spices (crush them with your fingers) into the garlic, add onions and celery, mix well and saute until onions are transparent and slightly soft. Add chopped mushrooms, mix well and saute until they start to give off water - and stems from 10 pounds of mushrooms will be a lot of water. Turn off the heat, and let the veggies cool a bit.

Add the cooked veggies to the bread crumb and cheese, mix well. Now you'll need a pretty large mixing bowl. The bread / veggies will turn into a thick ghooey paste - which is good. You want a pasty mixture so it will stick inside the mushroom caps.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Start stuffing the mushroom caps. I found it works best to just scoop up a teaspoon or so of stuffing, turn the spoon over and gently pack the stuffing into the cap. Scrape the spoon in both directions for an attractive, mounded effect. Just pack the stuffing in slightly, and put on a baking sheet. Mushrooms are not like cookies - you do not have to leave expansion room - they will shrink as they cook.

Fill up one baking sheet, stick it in the (by now) heated oven. Let it cook 15 - 30 minutes, until the stuffing is brown on the top, the mushrooms are giving off water, and they have shrunk. Take the sheet out of the oven, and use a spoon to pick up and transfer the cooked mushrooms to another, dry sheet. Set the sheet aside to cool. Stick the next sheet into the oven, and repeat. Pack the mushrooms tightly on the cooking sheet.

Cover each sheet of cooked, repacked, and cooled mushrooms with aluminum foil, airtight, and refrigerate. Refrigerated, and slightly hardened, mushrooms travel better, and tightly packed mushrooms have less air surface, and will slide around less, so get less damage when traveling.

Just before serving, sprinkle the tops with just a bit of cheese, and broil for 5 - 10 minutes until the added cheese browns just slightly.

Choosing and Cleaning The Mushrooms

When you're normally buying mushrooms for simple cooking, you probably look for small (1" or less in diameter), very fresh ones, and with very short stems. Believe me, when you're stuffing mushrooms, these will NOT be your favourite ones.

For stuffing, you will want large (2" or so in diameter), slightly stale ones, with long stems (1/2" or so). See below to understand why.

Having chosen 10 pounds of mushrooms, prepare to spend some time cleaning them. Those 10 pounds will not be all vegetable - some will be dirt, and THAT won't taste too good. You'll want to make several passes - fill a large container with water, dunk and agitate mushrooms, and drain. And repeat, until the drained water is clean. If the largest container you have is not at least twice as large as the volume of mushrooms being cleaned, you'll have to do it in batches. Clean the mushrooms well.

Having cleaned the mushrooms, let them drain really well. Then cover, in airtight containers, and refrigerate them overnight for best results.

Properly chosen, and cleaned, mushrooms will be much easier to prepare.

  • To remove the stem, you need to grab and rock / twist it, so a longer stem gives you something to grab.
  • With the mushroom slightly stale (and the stem starting to separate from the cap), the stem will just pop out of the cap, leaving you a nice hole to fill with the stuffing.
  • If the stem doesn't pop off, you'll have to scoop it out with a spoon - and try scooping the stem out of a 1/2" mushroom, without breaking it.
  • With 150 - 200 mushrooms to remove stems from, using a spoon will not be a favourite activity.

Automate the cleaning and preparation, and you can be done in a couple hours. Don't automate, and you could take all day. It's your dime.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

1 large tomato, seeded, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
6 fresh mushroom, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 16 oz cans black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained
1 cup diced celery
1 4 oz jar diced pimento

  • Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
  • Toss w/18 oz bottle Italian dressing.
  • Sprinkle w/cooked, crumbled bacon (about 4 slices) and half cup sliced green onion.

Cucumber / Yoghurt Dressing / Dip


  • 1 1/2 t minced garlic
  • 3T olive oil
  • 2T vinegar
  • 2C yoghurt, plain fat-free
  • 1T dried mint
  • 1 cucumber, chopped


  1. Combine garlic, olive oil, vinegar in large bowl, mix well.
  2. Add yoghurt, mix well.
  3. Crumble and clean mint, add to yoghurt mixture, and mix.
  4. Add cucumber, mix again.
  5. Chill in refrigerator, for an hour or so (if you can wait)

Variations:
  • Slice the cucumber - serve as salad (this is the original Greek recipe).
  • Chop the cucumber coarsely, makes a good salad dressing.
  • Chop the cucumber finely, makes a good dip for pita bread, or taco chips.

California Tabouilli



  • 1 C Bulgar wheat / Couscous
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 1 bu green onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bu parsley
  • 2 - 3 tomatoes, nice and firm
  • Mint - carefully chosen
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/4 t salt

Hand chop all ingredients, the flavour and texture will make it worth the inconvenience.

  1. Pour Bulgar wheat / Couscous into air tight refrigerator container.
  2. Pour boiling water onto the wheat, swish around so all wheat gets nice and well mixed with water. Cover and let sit for 1/2 hour or so, until wheat is well cooked, and dry.
  3. Wash and thoroughly dry parsley, onions, tomatoes, mint.
  4. Separate parsley flowers from stalks, chop flowers well.
  5. Chop onions well.
  6. Chop tomatoes as small as you can get without being mushy.
  7. Chop mint (sorted, and cleaned) as small as you can get.
  8. Peel, then chop cucumber as small as you can get.
  9. Fluff cooked wheat up, scrape off bottom of dish, combine vegetables with wheat, mix well.
  10. Combine lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper in shaker, shake well, pour over salad mixture, mix well.
  11. Cover air tight, and refrigerate.
  12. Keep it cool, and eat it fast. Fortunately, eating it fast is not hard - or unhealthy.

Buying, Extracting, and Sorting Mint

Mint is the key ingredient in the tabouilli, so get the best possible.
Grade the mint in the store before buying:

  • A Grade: If you get to the herb counter and smell the mint before you see it, you have A Grade. Buy 1 bunch.
  • A- Grade: If the air smells of it as you pick it up, it's A-. Buy 2 bunches.
  • B Grade: If you pick it up, and your fingers stink from it, it's B. Buy 2 of the best bunches.
  • B- Grade: If you wave it around, and it smells sort of good, it's B-. Buy the 2 absolutely best bunches on the shelf. Then go to another store, and look for some better too. Buy at least 1 more bunch at another store.
  • C Grade: Anything less is C Grade. If this is the second (or third store) buy 2 or 3 bunches of C Grade, and prepare to sort leaves. If this is the first store, buy the 1 absolutely best bunch, then go elsewhere for another 2 bunches.
  • If you cannot get better than C grade, and it looks like you may have to buy 4 or 5 bunches and sort them, maybe it's not a good week for Tabouilli. Unless your audience is set on having Tabouilli, maybe you should consider another offering, like Cabbage / Mushroom / Shrimp / Tofu Salad. Don't serve substandard Tabouilli.

Bag the mint immediately, before putting it in the shopping cart. I carry a couple 1 gallon zip loc storage bags when I go shopping, and squeeze all the air out of the bag, before sealing it. Obviously you have to prepared to tell the cashier what it is. If there is a product tag on the mint, try to bag so the tag is visible without opening.

When you get home, separate and sort the leaves. Break the leaves off, cleanly, from the stalks. The best leaves are 2 - 3" long, and crisp. Not limp, not thick and heavy. Thin and crisp. You will want the best leaves, and you will want enough to fill a 2 quart mixing bowl to the top, without being packed down - just tossed in while sorting.

If you bought 3 or 4 bunches, sort into 2 bowls, put the not so good leaves into a second bowl. If you don't get enough top quality leaves to fill the first bowl, add not so good leaves, but try to fill 1 1/2 - 2 bowls, total, with those.

Wash the leaves, gently, in cold running water. Drain well, then spin dry in a salad spinner. Repeatedly spin, until no water comes out. The dryer the better.

Potato Salad



  • 7 - 8 medium potatoes
  • 3 eggs, hardboiled and chopped
  • 1 small onion / 1 bu green onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 T pickle relish or Olive water
  • 1 T garlic pickle water
  • 1 T mustard
  • 1/2 t mustard powder
  • 1/2 t cajun hot sauce
  • 1 t dill weed




  1. Chop potatoes - 1/4" cubes.
  2. Cook in microwave oven on high 3 minutes, stir well, repeatedly cook 3 minutes then stir, until potatoes start to crumble when being stirred. Then microwave one more 3 minute period. Should be really soft yet still have shape.
  3. Cool potatoes in refrigerator until potatoes are cool.
  4. Mix potatoes, eggs, onion, celery.
  5. Mix sauce, pour over potato mix, mix well.
  6. Refrigerate again - overnite (best flavour) if you can wait.

Kahlua Cake


Allow 2 days to make this, the results are worth it.
  • 1 Cake, German Chocolate or Dark Chocolate
  • 1 C Kahlua
  • 1 - 2 7 oz Cans whipped cream
  • 6 - 8 Heath bars

  1. Cook cake until dry (add 1/3 extra cooking time over instructions).
  2. Let cake cool overnite in pan. (That's one day).
  3. Poke holes in cake thoroughly, pour Kahlua over cake.
  4. Let Kahlua seep into cake well (Overnite is best - and that's the second day).
  5. Cool Heath bars overnite in refrigerator (they crumble better).
  6. Crumble / crush Heath bars into crumbs.
  7. Crumble cake with fingers (the fun part), and layer in glass bowl (3 - 4 layers), each layer in this order:
    • Cake.
    • Whipped cream.
    • Heath bar crumbs.
  8. Lick fingers when done (the best part).
  9. Serve quickly (as if you could wait).

California Hummous

Or is it hummus? homos? Who cares??!!




  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans
  • 2/3 C water
  • 1 fresh lime, well squeezed
  • 3 T Tahini
  • 1/4 t oregano
  • 1/4 t parsley flakes
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • Trace of olive oil
  • Pinch of parsley flakes, crushed



  1. Peel and dump garlic whole, into food processor.
  2. Process on high until garlic is well minced, and pieces stick all over inside of bowl. Scrape pieces off sides.
  3. Drain, then wash garbanzo beans, then drain again.
  4. Puree garbanzo beans and garlic, mixing water while pureeing.
  5. Add lime juice and tahini, blend again.
  6. Add oregano, parsley, pepper, cumin; blend thoroughly.
  7. Dump puree into large serving bowl.
  8. Drizzle olive oil over top, crush and sprinkle parsley flakes on top.
  9. Serve with chips or pita bread, or as sauce over baked potatoes.

Mango Salad





  1. See Slicing a Mango, to learn how to prepare your mangoes.
  2. Squeeze 1/4 lime over mango, mix well as chopping mango.
  3. Squeeze 1/4 lime over mango and jalapeno, mix extremely well.
  4. Squeeze 1/4 lime over mango, jalapeno, and cilantro, mix well.
  5. Squeeze 1/4 lime over mango, jalapeno, cilantro, onion, and pepper, mix well.
  6. Pour mix into serving bowl, put inside refrigerator container.
  7. Refrigerate a few hours.
  8. Sample once - let it chill. You can eat the skin, and suck the seeds while you clean up the remainder.
  9. Enjoy over cuban style black beans, and sesame mint rice.

Peanut Butter Stew

Peanut Butter Stew is a great way to use up leftover vegetables. It's good either hot (over rice, as a soup) or cold (as a salad).




  • 5 Medium / 3 Large onions, diced (1/4" chunks) (when chopped, almost 2 Quarts)
  • 2 T oil
  • 28 oz tomatoes, canned (5 large), chopped, drained
  • 3 C water
  • 1 - 1 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 - 1 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1 t paprika
  • 8 - 16 oz crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/4 C leek leaf, diced (opt)
  • 4 - 8 oz bean sprouts, chopped into 1/2" pieces (opt)




  1. Mix spices well in cup.
  2. Add oil to well heated deep pot.
  3. Fry onions on high until soft, stirring constantly.
  4. Add tomatoes, fry 2 minutes.
  5. Add water and drained tomato juice, bring to boil, add spices and mix well.
  6. Add peanut butter with a fork, mix well.
  7. Sir constantly, bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, cook 3 minutes.
  9. Uncover.
  10. Add bean sprouts (opt).
  11. Stir, cook until oil appears on top.
  12. Stir again, garnish with whatever is on hand:

  13. Serve over cooked potatoes or rice, and whatever cooked or raw veggies come to mind. Or as a dip for taco chips. Or as a sauce for meat.

Tuna Couscous



  • 1 C Water
  • 1 C Quick couscous
  • 1 t olive oil
  • (dash of salt)
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 T dried mint leaves, crumbled and cleaned very carefully
  • 1 can tomato, chopped
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1/4 C onion, minced
  • 1/4 C celery, minced
  • 1/4 C cucumber, minced

Heat water in microwave 2 - 3 minutes or until boiling (or hot). Stir in salt, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, couscous; stir continuously (2 - 3 min) until water absorbed and couscous solidifies.
Stir in other ingredients.
Chill in refrigerator.

Chuck's Kick In The Seat of Your Pants Chili **

Kick In The Seat of Your Pants Chili is great during cold weather - to warm you up, and during warm weather - to cool you down. It's real tasty with San Francisco style sourdough bread.


(**) Follow Safety Precautions when you cook this, please.

  • 1 T olive oil (Optional - see meat cooking variances)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t ground brown pepper (aka cumin)
  • 1/2 t ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 fresh Habenero pepper, WELL minced (** Follow safety precautions)
  • 1 Can (6 oz) chopped Jalapeno peppers, drained
  • 6 fresh Serrano peppers, minced (** Follow safety precautions)
  • 3 T chili powder
  • pinch oregano flakes
  • 2 - 3 T black caraway seeds
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet pepper (green or red), chopped
  • 1 Can black beans
  • 1 Can brown (pinto) beans
  • 2 Cans red (kidney) beans
  • 1 Can white (garbanzo) beans
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds meat or meat substitute - chopped stew beef, ground beef, ground turkey, or tofu - see meat notes)
  • 28 oz Can chopped tomatoes


  1. Cook the meat.
    • Cook in a microwave safe bowl or dutch oven. See Meat Cooking Variances.
    • If using ground beef, cook meat, drain well, and set meat aside (per note below), leaving 1/8 C grease in bottom of bowl.
    • If using stew beef or ground turkey, pour olive oil into bottom of bowl.

  2. Chop, mince, and / or drain peppers and garlic.
  3. Add garlic and 6 quantity of hot pepper, chili powder, oregano, black caraway to bowl.
  4. Microwave spice mixture 3 - 5 minutes, covered, on 10.
  5. Wash hands VERY carefully (** 5 minutes of scrubbing with a brush for safety).
  6. Remove bowl from microwave, uncover (** point bowl away from face - fumes are intense).
  7. Add chopped onion, sweet pepper on top of spices, cover, microwave 5 minutes on 10.
  8. Remove bowl from microwave, uncover (** again, point bowl away from face).
  9. Thoroughly mix onion, sweet pepper, and spices.
  10. Place meat on top, cook if stew beef or turkey (per note below).
  11. Add tomatoes, mix well, cover, microwave 5 minutes on 10, then 15 minutes on 3.
  12. Remove bowl from microwave, uncover, stir mixture thoroughly.
  13. Drain and rinse beans thoroughly, draining in colander, until water drains clean from colander.
  14. Add beans to bowl, mix thoroughly, microwave 5 minutes on 10, 30 minutes on 3.
  15. Remove bowl from microwave, uncover, stir, let cool until comfortable in mouth (** chemical burns from hot peppers is enough).
  16. Serve with sourdough bread, sour cream, and cold beverages (** creamy or thick like Sobe Liz Blizz, Thai Tea, tomato juice, or unfiltered apple juice), or beer, and lots of that.

Meat Cooking Variances:

  • Stew Beef (preferred) - cook after cooking spices and vegetables:
    Chop meat into 1/4 or so inch cubes, drain blood / juice off
    Place meat on top of cooked onion / pepper as above, microwave 3 - 6 minutes til brown with slight pink showing.
  • Chopped beef (lean or normal) - cook before anything else:
    Place beef into plastic colander, place colander in clean glass bowl, cover and microwave for 4 - 8 minutes on 10, until brown and still soft, with grease draining into glass bowl.
    Remove bowl from microwave, uncover, chop cooked beef using wooden spatula or spoon into 1/4 inch chunks, let finish draining into bowl.
    Remove colander from bowl, finish draining colander on newspaper.
    Pour off and discard all but 1/8 Cup or so of grease from bowl.
    Substitute bowl with 1/8 C of grease, for bowl with olive oil (above), and cook hot peppers / spices in this.
  • Chopped turkey (prefer normal - lean is too dry) - cook after cooking spices and vegetables:
    Place turkey on top of cooked onion / pepper as above, cover, cook until brown and dry (5 minutes or so).
    Remove bowl, uncover, chop turkey with wooden spatula / spoon into 1/4 inch chunks.
  • Tofu - Wash and rinse tofu, drain, and chop into 1/4" cubes. Saute with 1T oil, 1 t oregano or marjoram, 1 t chili powder, and / or 1 T beef bouillion, until chunks are brown, dry, and leathery. Add with tomatoes.

Cabbage / Shrimp Salad



  • 1/4 C sesame seeds
  • 1 C almonds, sliced or slivered
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 packages Ramen noodles, shrimp flavour
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 C vegetable oil
  • 3/8 C vinegar
  • 1 lb salad shrimp
  • 1 lb tofu, clopped into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced




  1. Spread sesame seeds and almonds on baking sheet, toast in oven at 350 for 5 minutes or so, until golden brown. Let cool.
  2. Mix cabbage, onions, almond / sesame seeds.
  3. Mix sugar, oil, vinegar, flavour packets from Ramen noodles. Pour over cabbage etc. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Thaw and drain shrimp. Mix shrimp, tofu, and / or mushrooms into cabbage etc.
  5. Crumble Ramen noodles. Mix noodles into salad, just before serving. Mix well.

Bean Salad

  • 2 Can black beans
  • 2 Can garbanzo beans
  • 1 Can green beans
  • 2 Can pinto beans
  • 2 Can red beans
  • 1 Can wax beans
  • 1 onion (red is best), or 1 bunch green onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 sweet pepper (green or red), or 1 each, diced
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 1/2 C vinegar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • dash pepper
  • dash salt
  • dash paprika or tumeric

  1. Drain and rinse beans thoroughly.
  2. Mix beans, onion, peppers.
  3. Put mixture in marinating container.
  4. Mix dressing mixture thoroughly.
  5. Pour dressing mixture into marinating container(s).
  6. Marinate 12 - 48 hours (longer is better). Mix or turn over the container, regularly. 1/2 of the vegetables should be draining, as the other 1/2 is soaking, constantly.

Cheese Grits

3/8 C Instant Grits
1 1/2 C water
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/8 t garlic powder
1/4 C chopped chives or green onion, chopped finely
1/4 inch pat of butter
1/4 C hard cheese (cheddar), minced
1/4 C grated cheese (mozzarela / parmesan)

Combine grits, water, salt, pepper, garlic in pan.
Microwave on High 4 - 5 minutes, stirring each minute.
Stir in onion / chives, butter and cheeses, mix til cheese melted.
Serve immediately.