Saturday, April 27, 2019

Mary's Quesadillas! (Also Known as Mary's Leftovers)

Mary's Quesadillas!

Honestly, this is a "left-over" dish. I do this a lot! Whatever protein is left from the night before becomes the protein in the quesadilla. As a really good California girl there are things I always have in my fridge and pantry. (I was going to say larder, but I'm not really sure what a larder is! Uh.. Someplace where one keeps lard?)

Okay!
Ingredients:

1. Protein. Left-over ground beef. Left-over shredded chicken. Left-over steak. Left-over ground turkey or maybe just a goopy mushroom mixture!

 (Picture of my Quesadilla Prep...)

2. Shredded cheese. At least 8 ounces. Yes.. I know.. You can shred your own cheese! I would rather use pre-shredded. I have wine to drink.  (I almost ALWAYS have shredded cheddar or Mexican shredded cheese in my fridge.) 




3. Cilantro. Cilantro is not only a staple in my house.. I also keep dried cilantro. (I like it in salads.) Dork. I know. (If you HATE cilantro.. worry not.. Just don't use it!.)


4. Red onions. I like red onions. Guess you could use yellow or white onions.. Red is pretty though. Amount? Not a clue.. I use about 1/2 a good sized red onion for all the things in this dish. So.. Buy one onion.

5. Canned Ortega Whole Green Chilis. Get the larger size. Gives you more with which to play.



6.. Really really good tortillas. I buy them special from a little shop in the valley. The cost is about $1.35 for 10. Wow! They freeze really well. 


7. Pitted medium black olives. Acts as garnish and adds a bit of salt!

8. Cherry Tomatoes. More garnish.. pretty.

9. Random Lettuce. It is all about the garnish. 


10. Sour Cream. 

11. One ripe Avocado. (Yes! Again with the Avocado!)


12. Salsa, red and green (recipe later...)

SIDE DISH
1. Pinquito Beans - recipe later. (ha ha.)


OKAY, MARE.. HOW DO I MAKE THIS FASCINATING DISH?

Here we go...
1. Cut up your protein..  Use smaller pieces.. You will have a lot going into this quesadilla and left-overs from two people should make 3 quesadillas.. K.. This isn't rocket science. It will make how ever many you make depending on how hungry your family was last night.. La La.
Put the protein aside. (Since I used steak the other night, let's just call it steak.) 

2. Use a really good cookie pan or cover your crummy one with Reynold's Non-Stick Foil. Works great.!

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. Spread out the tortillas on the baking sheet as shown below.


5. Start Building!! Cheese first. Cover 1/2 of the tortillas with shredded cheese.


6. Add Steak.. (or whatever!)

7. Slice the green chilis into long pieces and add them to the steak and cheese. Reserve a few for later.


8. Add chopped red onion.


9. Continue building, adding the cilantro. Cilantro makes me happy.



10. Now it is time to add the final layer of cheese. Hooray! (So pretty!!)



11.  Fold the tortillas over your magnificent creation and arrange on the cooking sheet.


12. Time to make them beautiful!! Did I tell you to reserve some ingredients from the building? Oh.. Uh.. Look over at the sink. What is left on the cutting board or in the colander? Use that.



(12.5.. I bought a Serrano pepper for this dish the other night. Just wanted to add a bit of different flavor.. I sliced some and added it to the build. Your choice.. but be careful.. These lovely peppers can add A LOT of heat.)

13. Let's make these treats look appetizing...

Cut some of the cherry tomatoes in half and arrange on top of the quesadillas.
Add some of the left-over green chilis.
Toss some of the red onion over the top.
Easy Peasy.


14. Add some cilantro and whatever left-over cheese you have.. 


15.  Put the dish in the oven.. (pre-heated to 350.)


16. Okie Dokie.. It will cook for about 10-12 minutes... (I use a pizza cutter to slice it all up.)



17. Meanwhile.. On Alderaan...

THE BEANS!!!
a. Open a can of:
 

b.  Oh. yeah.. That other stuff you were supposed to put aside.. Add it to the beans now.. 


c. Cut some more of the cherry tomatoes in 1/2.. Maybe 6?
Add to the beans. Heat! It will look like this and is so good!
Serve with the Quesadillas!



18.
ONE MORE THING! 
BUY SOME RED SALSA.. (I will give you a recipe another time, but a lot of the store bought salsa is really good.)

19. This is the recipe for my green salsa: 
 ha ha ha...

20.. PRESENTATION!!
(Remember the random lettuce, the sour cream, the olives, the rest of the tomatoes and the ever present avocado? Check it out.)

 

Ta Da!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Mary's Shepherd's Pie

MARY'S SHEPHERD PIE


Above is the final presentation for my Shepherd's Pie. I like adding a bit of fruit, and avocado is just something we do here in California. 

Yes.. In my retirement I seem to have become a cook, sharing a recipe blog. LOL. I think this is so funny, so enjoy this with me!

MARY'S SHEPHERD'S PIE

1. 1 pound of ground turkey.. Again.. I prefer Jennie-O turkey... Low fat.

2. 1 red onion, chopped. (I like to also add pearl onions.. but it may be too too oniony for y'all.)

3. Maybe 2 cups of chopped celery.. maybe more.. I like celery.. Make sure you chop the leaves. They    add a lot of flavor

4. About a LB of chopped carrots. They add sweetness so don't scrimp on the carrots. I like to peel and cut my own. I think they taste better, but feel free to use the pre-cut, pre-peeled carrots. 

5. Let's call it 6 healthy cloves of garlic. Peel them and chop them.

6. One cup of cherry tomatoes cut in 1/2.

7. If you like the earthy flavor of mushrooms, cut 6 large sized button mushrooms into slices.. If you hate them.. skip this!

8. 3/4 cup of frozen peas.

9. Tons o' sage. I use fresh Sage. And Rosemary and Thyme!. The sage adds the most flavorful flavor. If you only have sage that is okay too. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH ROSEMARY AND THYME. They are strong flavors. Be gentle.

 
(FRESH HERBS... Most grocery stores sell them like this.)

10. Cooking Spray

11. Butter or not.

12. Milk or milk substitute.. 

Steps:
1. Brown the ground turkey and drain. (Less fat is best!!) (You can also use hamburger, lamb, pork, or.. I guess.. tofu, though I've never tried tofu.)

2. Add chopped red onion, celery, carrots, garlic, mushrooms..

It will look like this.. (okay.. I added some pearl onions, but I am mad for onions... Your choice.)

3. Cook for about 10 minutes on simmer.

4. Add tomatoes and frozen peas.

It will look like this:


5. Cook on low for a bit.. in the meantime....

6. Boil about 2 pounds of red potatoes.. Clearly.. you may use whatever potatoes you prefer.. Phil likes red! I don't peel them.. I clean them and wash them. Again.. Your choice!


7. Cook until almost soft. Turn off the burner. Let potatoes sit for a bit until you can pick up the pot. Drain and cool.

8. Mash potatoes with a potato masher.
9. Add AT LEAST 1 cup of milk (can be coconut milk or unflavored almond milk) and 3/4 stick of butter. 

10. Use mixer and mix until smooth. I like the potatoes airy so I will tend to add more milk a bit at a time at this point. It will look like this: 

 
K.. this kinda looks gross.. The pic didn't come out well.  The red is a spatula. Just smooth it all out.. 

11. Spray cooking spray into an 9X11 glass roasting pan.. pyrex.  Mine is old.. Maybe it is 10X12 .. I have no idea.  But.. whatever you use, spray it with some cooking spray. Trader Joe's has an excellent spray.

12. Put the meat and vegetable mixture in the pyrex glass pan. It will look like this:

13.. Pre heat the oven to  350 degrees. 

14. Put the mashed potatoes on top of the meat/veg mixture: 

15. Loosely cover it with foil and put it on the top shelf of the oven.


(Don't get confused.. PUT FOIL ON THE PIE BEFORE COOKING!)

16. After about 45 min. at 365 degrees, remove the foil. Cook for about 15 more minutes to brown. If you are like me and cooking with electricity, put the broiler on for the last 2 min. to brown the top.. If not.. skip this.

17. BE VERY CAREFUL. The entire thing is extremely hot!!

18. Put two trivets on your table and transfer the entire thing to the table with your "big" spoon. AGAIN.. IT IS VERY HOT! BE CAREFUL!! Use pot holders or oven mitts!!

19.. Serve.. (Feel free to add a little sour cream or yogurt to the top of your serving. I like to add a little chili pepper and avocado.) 

20. Voila:
MARY'S SHEPHERD PIE







Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Mary's Fettuccine

Fettuccine a la Mary!

Feeds 6 adults. 

Ingredients: 

2 lbs of skinless chicken breast. I tend to use Trader Joe's because it honestly has less fat around it. (Although.. I found some good breasts at Vons today.. ) HINT: This recipe works equally well with asparagus or green squash instead of chicken. Just add it much later.. uncooked with the cooking mushrooms.. see below.)

15 medium sized fresh mushrooms. (yes.. I am mad for mushrooms.) 


1 1/2 sticks of actual butter! Really.. it is all about the taste.


2 teaspoons (or more) of "Organic Better Than Bouillon" "Roasted Chicken Base." Use this.. They also make a vegetarian mixture and it is equally good. I have tried many other bases and this is the best!! In the soup aisle. 

1 large bunch of Parsley.


1 lb of Fettuccine (I have also used spinach fettuccine from Trader Joe's - lighter but a little mushy. We actually like it a lot. I haven't tried zucchini fettuccine but I think it would be good. I have been meaning to try it.)


White Pepper. Important. It has a very different flavor from black or red pepper. I put in about a teaspoon.. about 4 times more than the original recipe I stole from the LA Times. (But mine is much better!!)


1 tablespoon of pre-sifted white flour. (Used as a thickener.. so.. if you need to use a gluten free thickener I am sure that would be fine.)

Milk or Half and Half. I actually use 2 percent lactose free milk. Works out well. I have not tried this recipe with Almond Milk or Coconut Milk.. Should be fine! Has been in other recipes.. so...! (The half and half tastes great but makes the food very sweet and heavy and wonderful and for the 20-30 year olds because I can't digest this anymore!!)


6 ounces shredded Parmesan Cheese. Don't know a replacement for this.. Sorry.



Prep:

Put chicken in pan add a pinch of salt.. really.. and maybe some garlic powder if you have it around. Poach the chicken breast to 160 degrees. Drain. Let cool. Cut into small pieces or shred. It takes so long to shred I have gone to cutting 1/2 inch pieces. Your choice. 

Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Slice thick. Put aside. 

Wash the parsley. Chop finely. You don't have to use it all. You can use according to taste. We are Arabs in this house and find the parsley very cooling and so add a lot .. later.


Cook:

Heat water to boiling for the pasta.

In a small sauce pan put in 1/4 cup milk product. (lol) 

-add 1 tablespoon flour
-add 2 teaspoons "Better Than Boullion"
-add white pepper.
Stir it until smooth.
KEEP A VERY CLOSE EYE ON THIS... YOU NEED TO STIR IT CONSTANTLY. YOU ARE MAKING A ROUE. It will thicken obviously and FAST. The second! it does pour in 2 more cups of milk product. Stir. Blend. Turn the temp down and let it come to a boil. KEEP AN EYE ON IT!! REALLY!! Dun dun DAAAA! (This is the hardest part of this recipe.. mostly because most of us haven't yet made a roue. But it really helps the ultimate texture, so don't be afraid!!)

In a larger wok size pan melt 1/2 stick of butter...add mushrooms. Occasionally stir until mushrooms start to turn a little bit brown or softer. Add Chicken. Or whatever vegetable you prefer. I suggest fresh asparagus. It just works with the other flavors.  Add another 1/4 stick of butter. Turn the temp down and let it simmer. You can leave this alone for a bit.


Put your pasta into the now boiling water. TIP: Cook pasta at a constant temperature. It will be better. Also.. turn it with the pasta fork every couple, four minutes. It will keep it from sticking to itself.


Once the milk/bullion/flour/ spice mixture starts to boil.. like THE SECOND it start to boil add it to the mushroom/chicken mixture. Stir. Cover. Keep the temp to simmer or low. 


Okay.. The Pasta is cooked to your liking.. I like it fairly well cooked, but I'm hoping you know how to cook pasta.. If not.. uh.. I take a piece out of the boiling water and break it in half. If I can still see uncooked pasta in the middle I cook it a little longer. BUT I don't like al dente for this dish.. So my pasta may be more done than yours. 


Drain the Pasta. YES! Rinse it. Put it back in the pot. Add last of the butter. 

Stir until blended.
Add the mushroom chicken sauce mixture.                          Stir until blended. 
Add the parmesan cheese. 
Stir until melted. Fooled ya! Ha!
Add the parsley.. Again.. WE like a LOT of parsley. You may just want to add a bit and save some for garnish. Your taste.

Get some help. The mixture is now VERY HEAVY!!


Pour into a large Pasta Dish.


Serve. (We like it with Pita Bread.. of course.)


Okay. I just cooked this tonight so I'm hoping I remembered all the steps!! Email me with questions.. 





















Sunday, March 31, 2019

Mary's Chili

My Chili Recipe!!

Here it is.. AS I said.. I made this up, but we've had it several times and I keep making it better!!

1 lb ground turkey. - I think Jennie-O tastes the best. (There is a difference!!)
1 Can Dennison's Turkey Chili - with beans (I think it says "Lo-Fat" or some such.)
1 Can Low Sodium Red Kidney Beans drained and rinsed. (I find I prefer the Kidney Beans to the other beans.. black, pinto.. though they work too.)
1 4 oz can of whole mushrooms. Drained, rinsed, and sliced. (Usually in the canned vegetable aisle. Sometimes with spaghetti and the canned tomatoes. HA HA)
1 normal-large size red onion chopped. Kinda medium chop. Don't chop  pieces too small. (It will make it too oniony.)
1 fresh serrano chili sliced (use gloves to slice it - don't touch your eyes!!!. AHHH!)
10 - 12 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (so they don't "pop")
2 tsp. ground black pepper
(Feel free to add a couple of cloves of garlic chopped up. If you use the garlic add it just before the turkey is done.. with the Serrano Chili. I didn't this last time and it was just perfect.)
NOTE: NO ADDED SALT!! LOW FAT!!!

Directions: 
Set the burner to medium.
Brown the turkey with the ground black pepper in a pan. When turkey is almost done.. add Serrano Chili and 1/2 of the Chopped Onions.
When the turkey is done.. (no pink left) drain the turkey mixture.
Return the turkey mixture to the pan. 
Add the sliced tomatoes, drained kidney beans, mushrooms, Dennison's Turkey Chili, and the rest of the onion.
Cook until simmering at medium level.
When you see boiling reduce the heat to low.
Cook for about 30 min.. You can cook longer if you need to wait for guests.. just keep warm.

Makes about 4 smallish servings. Easy to double...
Serve with cornbread or pita bread and a small salad.

Secret: The longer you cook flavors the weaker they get. So.. If you just want a hint.. add the Serrano chili earlier, Add the garlic immediately to the raw turkey, add 1/2 bulb of onion sooner.. The entire dish will be milder. Contrary-wise.. the reverse will make the dish spicer..

PS: If you prefer beef to turkey, you can use 1 lb of 90/10 hamburger and 1 can of Chili Laredo (beef) instead of the turkey ingredients. I have done both. (I prefer the turkey. It is lighter.) Also.. if you want to just add filler to increase the yield, add more mushrooms.. or 8oz fresh mushrooms sliced... add more beans... but then also add additional serrano chili. You know the tricks!  I find the one can of chili gives enough chili taste without making it all goopy. Forgive the random caps! ...

Here is the picture so you can remember its appearance!



Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Living the Dream



Okay.. I have to go through this.. Not only raised on bologna, it sustained me through college. Bologna on tortillas heated on the stove burner and then wrapped like a burrito. 

I always preferred TAB. 

Yes, indeed. I did play in the dirt and ate ants. 

My parents NEVER hit any of us. Apparently that is unusual for our generations. I've thought about this a lot. They were really good at verbal guilt throwing and it lasted a lot longer. I think I would have rather had a swat... 

YES! LOVED riding in the back of trucks!! We even had a pick-up truck with benches at the Girl Scout Camp that took us Catholics to church each Sunday. 

Indeed I recorded songs from the radio with the cassette tape player, but that was later. 

The best tasting water was from a hose!! I played in the wash or the crick. Ha! 

I don't remember the sir and ma'am.. I'm not from the South. (Well, Southern Cali.) But, everyone got their title. Brother, Sister, Aunt, Uncle, Father. That was enough. And ...

I've made it to nearly 65. I've done really well. Now.. when we will talk about how we survived all the drugs we took?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Negotiations - A Facebook Post

RESPONSE TO HOW TO NEGOTIATE AS A STAGE MANAGER.

I have rarely worked for less than LORT B Contract money regardless of the contract unless there are other considerations.. do I need the workweeks? or is it like 10 min. from my house and I'm feeling lazy. Ha! I do not work without workweeks. Most of my career was LORT A. On Production Contracts I get above minimum and expect it. I will negotiate housing on Production Contracts if needed. (I live in LA - If you need me in NYC you need to put me up... at least for a while. It is required by me, but negotiable. - I've had a hotel room for an entire contract and I've had a hotel room until (they helped me) find an apartment. I've negotiated and received housing or per diem without it stated in the particular contract. I've received bonuses to return to a contract. I've been given an apartment to come to NY (with Production Contract salary) and to "keep up" a show. I used to make quite a bit of money ($1200 - $1400 a day) on corporate events.. That has dried up since 2008. I'm recently retired now and my pension is good. BE SURE TO GET YOUR HEALTH AND PENSION contributions! It makes a difference. The new 401k s in some contracts is nice, but last month my 401k lost $1000 because.. well, Trump. Always negotiate. All they can do is say "no." I had/have a very good reputation and directors and "stars" who have asked for me in particular. It helps to have done a good job every time you go out. It helps to be good. My best advice. Do good work. Be kind. Take care of the show. Take care of your crew. Take care of your actors. Do your designers proud. I worked my butt off to create this reputation. I've had a grand time. Do ART. (I've received 5 job offers since I've retired. Snatch 'em up y'all!)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Or maybe California should just put up their own wall.. We already have checkpoints for fruit. We could just add rich older white men to the list. "Do you have any fruits or vegetables or loony old white men in your trunk?" boom