Author Archives: Eugene Lucas

Creative Casseroles and One-Dish Dinners

Who says you cannot play with your food? Get creative with your traditional dinner dishes, mix and match ethnic treats and spoon your soup from the bread instead of dipping your bread in the soup.

Barbecue Shepherd's Pie

There is no reason to make the same recipe every time when you can easily create a completely new treat by switching just one or two of the ingredients. Play with your food tonight and see what you can come up with starting with your old stand by recipes.

Barbecue Shepherd’s Pie

Add a little kick to Shepherd’s pie with a spicy barbecue sauce.

  1. Brown a pound of ground beef, add your favorite vegetables to the pot, like green beans, carrots, celery and corn.
  2. Pour an entire bottle of spicy barbecue sauce over the meat and veggies.
  3. Simmer on medium low temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the meat and vegetable mixture into a medium sized casserole dish.
  5. Top with mashed potatoes.
  6. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chicken Parmesan Ziti

Combine two favorite dishes to make a one pot meal. This is a great dish to use up leftovers.

  1. Cut up prepared chicken Parmesan.
  2. Boil ziti noodles as directed on the packaging and drain.
  3. Add the chicken Parmesan to the ziti.
  4. Pour 2 jars of spaghetti sauce over the chicken and noodles.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Pour the ziti and chicken Parmesan into a large casserole dish.
  7. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the casserole.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soup in a Bread Bowl

Switch up the soup and your bread. Form prepared bread dough into a large circle. Bake as directed on the packaging. Heat soup. Remove the bread dough from the oven and allow it to cool. Cut a circular opening around the top of the bread.

Carefully, remove the inside of the bread bowl. Fill the bowl with hot soup. Serve with the inside pieces of the bread bowl.

Taco Lasagna

Put a spin on your average taco. Grease a standard pie dish with cooking spray or butter. Place a small flour tortilla on the bottom of the dish. Spread salsa on the tortilla. Add a layer of browned ground beef. Sprinkle cheese on the meat and top with a tortilla.

Continue layering until the pie dish is full. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve with toppings such as sour cream, ranch salad dressing, lettuce, tomatoes and taco sauce.

Seafood Instructions: How to Peel Shrimp, Prepare Lobster and Shuck Oysters

It is my understanding that billions of people who reside on the earth are attached to the idea of eating seafood. Frankly, I’m skeptical. Can there really be that many people who are willing to eat food that lives its entire life inside its own toilet?

Lobster

It must be true because there are certainly a lot of seafood restaurants around. I don’t partake of the food from the sea much myself, but having lived in a beach town most of my life, I have come to learn how to deal with certain elements involved in eating seafood. Here are some tips for handling seafood if you are one of those who enjoy eating it, but maybe have some trouble dealing with it.

Peeling and Deveining Shrimp

I have recently learned of the pleasures of eating shrimp. But I only eat it fried after being marinated in Tabasco sauce. The delicate art of peeling and taking out the veins of shrimp is not one I have to deal with, but you may. Begin by pulling the shell of the shrimp loose.

Then take a small paring knife and cut along the vein. Pull the intestine free of the shrimp’s body and then feast to your heart’s content.

Preparing a Lobster

I have tried lobster and goodness knows it is one of the most appealing-looking foods to come from the sea, but I just haven’t yet discovered its gastronomical pleasures. Tastes like chicken. To clean a lobster in preparation for feasting, begin by taking hold of the tail in one hand and the body in another and give the tail a firm twist.

Next, cut away the cartilage and remove all that expensive meat. Locate the intestinal vein and do away with it. Grab hold of the lobster’s body and pull it away from chest shell. Cut the chest shell in half and remove the meat inside.

Get yourself a lobster cracker and crack open the claws. Remove the meat. An aside: did you know that a lobster is actually just a big bug? It’s true.

Shucking an Oyster

Back in the days before the world beat me down and whitey took away my naïve innocence, I used to tell people I was an oyster shucker when they asked what I do.

The truth is that I have never shucked on oyster and certainly have never eaten one and I suspect this statement will remain true until the mortal coil is whipped away from my being. Shucking an oyster is not that difficult to learn.

You can probably master the art of oyster shucking after just a dozen or so attempts. Begin shucking the oyster by breaking open the hinge of the oyster shell. Detach the muscle from the top shell and then discard that shell.

Loosen up the oyster with your knife and pull it free. Then, if you must, swallow it raw. Just don’t expect me to join you.

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Rotisserie Chicken – Stretching the Food Budget

Rotisserie Chicken is one of the best time and money savers available to the home cook. One of the best, if not the best, rotisserie chickens on the market today can be found.

Rotisserie Chicken

The chicken is huge in size compared to the rotisserie chickens in many supermarkets. The Rotisserie Chicken where I shop weighs in at a full three pounds and is always cooked to perfection.

The cost is under $5.00 a chicken bringing the cost to $1.66 per pound, a real money saver for anyone on a budget.

Slicing and serving Rotisserie Chicken as it comes from the store will easily feed a family of 4 or 6. But if one is on a budget and is trying to stretch their food dollar the chicken can be turned into two or three meals without anyone feeling deprived.

Here are three meals using one Rotisserie Chicken.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken in ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cans drained mixed vegetables
  • 1 can or jar chicken gravy
  • ½ can or jar of water
  • Pinch of whole thyme leaves
  • 1 can refrigerated biscuits

Combine cooked chicken, mixed vegetables, gravy, water and thyme in a oven proof casserole dish. Flatten out biscuits and completely cover the chicken mixture. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven, 20 minutes or until light brown.

Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken, shredded
  • 1 Cup cooked rice
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 16oz. jar salsa
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 8 (6inch) flour or corn tortillas
  • 1 can enchilada sauce

In a large bowl combine cooked chicken, rice, taco seasoning, ½ jar of salsa and 1 cup of cheese. Combine the remaining salsa with the enchilada sauce and spoon ¼ cup into the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish.

Soften the tortilla according to the directions. Spoon chicken mixture into tortilla, roll up and place in baking dish. Cover with remaining enchilada and salsa sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in 375 degree F. oven 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

White Chicken Chili

Cover the remaining chicken and carcass with 2 C. water and simmer on low for twenty minutes. Remove chicken from the pot and then pick all remaining chicken from the bones. Return the chicken meat to the pot with;

1 can white navy beans, drained, 1 package taco seasoning and 1 small can chopped green chilies Simmer over low heat 20 minutes. Spoon over corn tortilla chips and top with shredded Jack or Cheddar cheese. Serve with chopped green onion, jalapeno peppers and sour cream on the side.

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