Eggs Del Monaco

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about Eggs Del Monaco yet. This recipe came from one of the best cookbooks of all time. I got it when DH and I got married. It was a tiny little paperback called Cooking for Two by Betty Crocker. It was crammed with recipes that served, you guess it, two people. So many of these wonderful recipes have since been adapted to feed six or seven. One of them is this lovely little egg dish that you can get to the table in FIFTEEN minutes. It is very adaptable too, in case you don’t have as many eggs, or only one kind of Cream Of Soup, or not much cheese.

2 to 6 hard-cooked eggs, however many you need to fill your family

1-2 cans of Cream Of Soup, tonight I used one Cream of Mushroom and one Cream of Chicken (undiluted)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or more if you like

Toast Points

Paprika, optional, but really, just add the paprika; it’s so yummy and colorful

Cut up your hard cooked eggs and put them in your UNDILUTED Cream of Soups in a saucepan. Simmer gently and add cheese. Stir occasionally ’til cheese melts. Serve over Toast Points with a dash of paprika for garnish.

Yes, that is it.

When Dale came home from track, he asked what was for dinner. “Eggs Del Monaco.” He exclaimed, “YES!” I was delighted. I didn’t know it was one of his ‘Top Five’ which I later found out.

Try this dish when your original plan of sloppy joes fails because the meat went bad in your fridge and your hubby will be home in ten minutes and you had to rock your feverish baby and clean up your daughter who pooped in the bathtub.

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Quick Dinner

Okay, I know I was bragging about how wonderful emealz is. But there is one problem with emealz. There isn’t a contingency plan for when you’ve stayed up past your bedtime, awoke at 2:30am to feed Farley, then tried, in vain, to take a nap in the afternoon instead of cooking. So you get up from your aborted nap, change the poopy diaper, clean up the syrup that was dumped onto the counter and defrocked Farley, whose shirt was sticky, and realize that DH will be home in fifteen minutes. Now, don’t get your panties in a bunch; DH isn’t the kind of guy that demands supper on the table right when he walks in the door. Far from it, but that’s a tale for another blog. However, I LIKE having dinner ready right when he gets home. I’m usually pretty hungry, and so are the kids. And it looks like I’ve been working all day, instead of sitting on my babushka reading Super Freakonomics.

So I love having a jar of spaghetti sauce in the pantry and a box of Cheese-Topped Texas Toast in the freezer. (Thank you ALDI!) We also have leftover salad. Ta Da! A little side note about salad. As you may have divined from my previous posts, I have a little problem with junk food addiction. (I can stop anytime.) But lately salad has sounded really good, and not only a nice leafy green salad with tomato chunks, but I have rediscovered that it tastes really good with just salt and pepper. No dressing. Finally, something approaching nutritious that I can’t get enough of.

Happy Eating!

Emealz: Where Have You Been All My Life?

I started using eMealz several weeks ago.  This site COOKS. The selling point for me was the fact that they have an Aldi menu. What they do is, compile a week’s worth of suppers, make your grocery list, and provide it to you for a small fee. It’s five dollars a month. SO WORTH IT. Because I am anal about my shopping lists, I convert the list into my homemade list because it is written in the order in which you find things at the store. This causes it to be virtually fool-proof. I am not calling DH a fool. But he is the one that does most of the grocery shopping. Anyway, you get this list and you get your menu, and you have the recipes all on two sheets of paper. It’s ingenious! I have had a lot of fun trying lots of new recipes. It says something about the recipes that each one can be explained in a block about two inches square. They are simple to follow. Some of the meals are similar to things I’ve made before, but utilize a different ingredient. For example, we had Smoked Ham and Swiss sandwiches the other night. It was your basic Smoked Ham lunch meat with Swiss slices, but we ate it on Ciabatta rolls that had been baked in the oven. What a great sandwich! We have had soups, salads, (The Pizza Salad was really yummy/easy), baked entrees, fried things, skillet meals et cetera. Check out the website and see if it’s right for you. They have a Wal-mart list, Krogers, several other grocery store chains. They also have vegetarian lists and ‘trying to lose weight’ lists. It really takes a lot of the stress out of deciding what is for dinner. In most cases, it probably saves money too, but I haven’t noticed that particular feature. The reason is, we still have to buy food for the kids’ lunches and breakfasts and snacking. But we’re not spending MORE money on the groceries. It has remained stable. So I guess I am paying for the time saved, and the decision being made for me of what’s for dinner.

My 70s Flashback

I mooched a book from “Bookmooch”. You should really check it out, if you like books at all. But anyway, the title caught my eye. Menus for a Whole Year of Dinners. I just knew this book was going to solve all of my cooking dilemmas. Anyway, I was delighted when it came in the mail. It smells of libraries or musty old lady living rooms. It smells wonderful. The pictures are godawful though. Grainy, aged, not really very appetizing. But the names of the meals are hysterical. You may remember my post about naming your food. This book is ALL ABOUT naming the meals. Tomato aspic, toast points, Fruited Lamb Riblets, Macaroni-Meat Bake. Oh My Goodness. This book is a flashback to when Jello was, like, newly invented. And Avocados were TRENDY. So I’ve had a lot of fun with this. Last week some of our dinners were: Country Dinner, Gourmet Franks and Kielbasa and Lentils. These meals crack me up. The Country Dinner consisted of cabbage wedges, instant mashed potatoes and Vienna Sausages. Yes, Vienna Sausages. Here is a line from the recipe: “Stick sausages into potatoes.” Guffaw. That was fun.

I had to give my family a break though, because really, you can only eat so much processed meat. The gourmet franks? It was hot dogs simmered in onions and mushrooms and a little chicken broth. Ahem. So we had my good old fashioned double bean burritos. That was yummy, and the family breathed a collective sigh of relief. They complain about my overuse of some Mexican food standbys: tortillas, ground beef, cheese, and enchilada sauce. But I think my recipes from the Good Housekeeping book circa 1972 are worse. Oh, I’m not done with it. I’ve got two cans of luncheon meat in the pantry just waiting for the Macaroni-Meat Bake, and a five pound Duck in the freezer for Hunter-Style Duckling. I know, you’re smacking your lips.

The Involuntary Weight Loss Plan

I won’t go into any more detail than that, but I have been thinking about food.  Lay’s potato chips, for example. I LOVE their ingredient list. Potatoes, oil, salt. Sigh. Also, peaches. I was trying to decide if I want to go somewhere and buy a bushel of peaches to bottle. Once you have home-canned peaches, you will cringe at the thought of those slimy yellow wedges that pass for fruit. Granted, store-bought canned peaches are very symmetrical, clean-edged even. Home-bottled peaches are often fringy around the edges, sometimes may fall apart when you try to fish them out of the bottle with your fork. But the taste…heavenly. Sublime in all the ways that the image of heaven evokes…floating, sweet, bright, happy, loving…

My daughter, E, made breakfast for the family this morning. Buttered toast and sausage patties with syrup. I love the smell of sausage and syrup. This is one of E’s comfort foods, no doubt. She especially likes the ‘pancake on a stick’ you can get in the frozen foods section. A sausage link wrapped in pancake. You gotta dip it in syrup.

I recalled one of the worst cases of stomach flu I had in my youth. Eighth grade…I don’t remember the being sick as much as the meal I got to eat when I was better. Fried eggs, sunny side up with toast and fresh sliced garden tomatoes. One of the best meals ever.

Something funny about food is the craving versus being full. Once you’re full, you don’t really care how you got there. In some cases, you regret exactly that which made you full. But when you’re craving, it seems that nothing else will do. I tell myself this when I am feeling especially lazy and don’t feel like cooking. I know that if I wait long enough, DH will suggest ordering pizza. In the interest of saving money and eating healthily, I try to tell myself that once we’re stuffed, we won’t care what we ate to get there. PB&J will do the job just as effectively. So then I will try to come up with something quick but filling. Eggs del Monaco is one of the family favorites. This is a recipe I cooked from Betty Crocker’s little paperback, Cooking for Two, that my mom bought for DH and I when we got married. Loved that little cookbook. I’ve been able to extrapolate many of those recipes into feeding my family of seven now.

Eggs del Monaco

4 or 5 hard-cooked eggs

1 or 2 cans of ‘cream of’ soup, UNDILUTED

1/2 cup to 1 cup shredded cheese, your choice

paprika

“toast points”

This version will feed five or so.

Heat the creamy soup in  a soup pan, simmer gently, then add sliced eggs and shredded cheese.  Serve over toast, cut diagonally to make ‘points’ and sprinkle with paprika. In my opinion, the more paprika the better.

Filling, hearty, and depending on the soup, meatless too. I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch, but it so happens that many of our favorite dishes have little or no meat.

Back to thinking about food. It’s different when you’re fasting because you want to. You think about the person or the cause for which you are volunteering to go without food. You feel that you are part of something special, and that your needs are not as important as the person or cause you are thinking of. You imagine that if that hungry family was right there, you would happily give them your meal, because you know you can get more later. But when you are involuntarily fasting, because of an ailment that you would rather not mention to the world’s population, it’s agonizing.

Everything sounds good. Strawberry “fig” bars, last night’s leftovers (oatmeal), slightly burnt grilled food, Taco Bell, sausage patties with syrup, yogurt, buttered toast, Eggs del Monaco et cetera ad infinitum. So I will wait, and drink my Tropical Mango Gatorade, and bemoan my sad existence. I might lose three or four pounds, but I guarantee I will gain it back in one fell supper.