MJ Monday-Meals: Leftover Salt Potatoes for Breakfast

I learned this trick when I was in high school, when I would spend weeks at a friend’s camp in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

The first ingredient is leftover salt potatoes. Salt potatoes are a Central New York favorite. No summer event is complete without them.

I am not a fan of eggs. When I was younger, I would eat them scrambled only if they were well done. That holds true with this recipe.

Chop the leftover potatoes and add them to a frying pan with melted butter. Add chopped onion and heat through. Then add eggs. Scramble the eggs around the potatoes and onions. You end up with a delicious savory not-an-omelet breakfast dish that also doesn’t require turning on the oven.

Simply thinking about this breakfast brings back wonderful memories of cooking on the wood stove at camp, of cool mornings with mist clinging to the surface of the lake, of freshly picked wild blueberries (where I first learned to like them) polka-dotting the muffins and pancakes we made.

MJ Monday-Meals: Cilantro Lime Quinoa

I had some leftover ingredients hanging out in my fridge and decided to combine them to see what I could come up with as a side dish for quesadilla night.

That’s about a cup of cooked quinoa, half a jalapeno, a lime and what I could salvage from a bunch of decaying cilantro.

First, I diced the jalapeno into tiny pieces.

Then I squeezed the room-temperature lime into the bowl. (I use a small tea strainer to keep out the pulp and seeds.)

After I’d wrung all the juice I could from the lime, I grated a little zest into the bowl.

And chopped the cilantro.

Voila! A simple side dish using ingredients about to rot in the refrigerator.

We ate it the next night with chicken quesadillas and it was surprisingly good.

Thursday Thought-Things I Don’t Get: Food Art

Social Media brings some interesting things into our lives. Take food as art for example.

I’ve seen stunning creations. Like a peacock wedding cake. Or this face. Or this cake. Or this truly awesome Halloween concoction?

I understand that presentation is important. But when presentation becomes the thing instead of flavor, I’m gone. Who wants to destroy something that must have taken hours to create? I respect the artistry. But food is made to eat.

MJ Monday-Meals: Potato Pie with Hamburg Gravy

Every year, my mom makes a birthday dinner for each one of us. This year, I requested something different. Something from my childhood. Comfort food. Except my mom couldn’t remember how to make it, even though it was a regular meal at our house while I was growing up: Potato Pie with Hamburg Gravy.

Please note: this is NOT Shepherd’s Pie. Whenever we tried to Google or Pinterest a recipe, we always came up with Shepherd’s Pie. NO. The dish is similar but not the same thing.

My sister had modified the recipe for her family, although she hadn’t made it in years, so Mom further modified her version for my birthday dinner.

There are three key components:

  • baking powder biscuits
  • mashed potatoes
  • gravy with onion and ground beef.

The way I remember the dish is with the biscuit crust, filled with mashed potatoes, then baked. When the pie was done, one ladled the gravy over it.

We ended up breaking open a biscuit on our plate, topping it with mashed potatoes, then with the gravy. It was so good. My daughter asked for the recipe a few weeks ago.

If anyone knows or remembers how to make the pie–is it only a bottom crust or both? How long do you bake it? –please reach out to me. This is an entree that shouldn’t get lost.

MJ’s Monday-Meals: Mexican Lasagna & Mexican Slaw

This meal started with this recipe for Mexican Slaw. A friend had made it on retreat and I loved it. I had made it for something–I can’t remember what now, but there were leftovers, so I decided to invent something to go with it.

Over the years, I have read and tried many recipes for “Mexican Lasagna.” I’ve even liked some. But on this night, I had to work with what I had on hand.

  • Chicken  (a pound or so)
  • 1 14-15 oz can corn, drained
  • 1 14-15 oz can diced tomatoes with chili seasoning
  • 1  14-15 oz can seasoned chili beans, drained BUT NOT RINSED
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 2 8″tortillas
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican Cheese blend

The first thing I did was preheat my oven to 350F.

Then I sprinkled the chicken with about a tablespoon and a half of the taco seasoning and cooked it in a frying pan.

While the chicken cooked, I drained the can of corn. I mixed the corn with the can of chili-seasoned diced tomatoes (something my supermarket sells). Then I drained the can chili-seasoned beans–I think they’re pinto beans with chili seasoning. The key here is to drain BUT DO NOT RINSE. I almost always rinse canned beans, but not in this case. I added the beans to the corn and tomatoes, then added the rest of the taco seasoning packet.

Once the chicken was done, I shredded it with two forks and added it to the vegetable mixture.

I sprayed a square glass baking dish with cooking spray, then laid in an 8″ toritilla.

I topped the tortilla with half the veggie-chicken mixture, then covered with half of the shredded cheese, then repeated the process.

Bake in the 350F oven for thirty minutes or until heated through and the cheese has melted. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then cut into 9 squares (I have a large pizza cutter I use for this).

Serve with the slaw.