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Your Own Back Yard – Michael Gillan Maxwell

Visual Art – Creative Writing – Social Commentary

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Lunch Lady Cookbook

Lunch Lady Cookbook Moroccan Chicken

Lunch Laddy at the Dirt Track Races
Lunch Laddy at the Dirt Track Races

Lunch Lady Cookbook Moroccan Chicken

 Hey Boys and Girls! This is the Lunch Laddy comin’ at ya with a brand, spankin’ new edition of the Lunch Lady Cookbook. Where has summer gone? It feels like I blinked and BAM! It’s Back To School! I guess Wienies and S’Mores around the campfire are already a memory!

Time to sharpen your pencils, put on your best Back To School duds and get to it. At least there’s one thing you can count on. You won’t go hungry with Lunch Laddy in your corner!

What self respecting Lunch Lady wouldn’t open the new school year with her ace-in-the- hole-most-kick-ass-SIGNATURE DISH? I’m talkin’ exotic Boys and Girls! I’m talkin’ romantic! I know what you’re thinkin’. Lunch lady? Exotic? Romantic? Eeeewwww!”

I know, I know. TMI  Boys and Girls, but I’m talkin’ chicken. I’m talkin’ Moroccan Chicken. I can’t imagine a Middle School cafeteria where the kids wouldn’t be clamoring for Moroccan Chicken on Openiing Day. Can you? Yeah. I thought so. Especially if you’re in Morocco.

And so, without further adieu, I present to you Lunch Lady Cookbook Moroccan Chicken. Shall we?

 INGREDIENTS

Veggies

Fresh Veggies

 

  1. 4 Chicken Thighs (with bone and skin)
  2. 4 Chicken Drumsticks
  3. 1 Cup Brown Rice
  4. 1 Red Pepper
  5. 2 Broccoli Crowns
  6. 1 Spanish Onion
  7. Garlic
  8. Olive Oil
  9. 12 Dried Apricots
  10. Apricot Preserves
  11. Honey
  12. Seasonings (Freshly Ground) Coarse(of course) Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic Powder. Turmeric, Cinnamon, Basil, Smoked Paprika, Celery Flakes ~ mix together in bowl, cover plate with mixture

Spiced Chicken

Spiced Chicken

 

HOW WE DO IT

 

  1. Heat oil in large frying pan
  2. Dip chicken in seasoning mixture
  3. Heat in oiled pan, turning frequently to brown skin on both sides, cover, continue cooking on low heat and turning frequently. Pour off fat at least once. You want to brown the skin, not clog every artery in your body. Cover chicken with layer of honey. Continue cooking.
  4. Cook rice in separate pan.
  5. While all this is happening, chop garlic and vegetables, heat oil in a large wok, add vegetables and sauté lightly, cover wok and let it steam away for a couple minutes. Remove from heat while veggies are still a little crisp.
  6. As rice nears completion, remove from heat and pour into wok with vegetables. Gently turn with rubber spatula to mix everything together. It’s beginning to look like Christmas because the dish is a wonderful mixture of red, green and white.
  7. Remove chicken and heat up remaining juice in pan to reduce to a glaze. At this point it’s been at least 30 minutes, so chicken should be done.
  8. Arrange chicken over top of mixture. Cover chicken with apricot preserves and drizzle glaze from pan over mixture.
  9. Cover and continue cooking over very low heat for about 10 minutes while dancing around the kitchen singing “You’re never gonna do it without the Fez on” While you’re at it look up the meaning of that phrase! I gotta tell ya boys and girls, the Lunch Laddy was plenty surprised! Who knew? http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=7472 If you’re too lazy to do your own research, let’s just say that “fez” is a euphemism for something you’re probably gonna have to steal from your old man’s sock drawer, cuz they don’t got it in the school health office. 😉
  10. Hit that dinner bell and call in the hungry masses for lunch.

Veggies in Wok

Veggies in Wok

Chicken In Pan

Glazed Chicken

 BEVERAGE PAIRING

 Nothing washes a mouthful of Moroccan Chicken down the old gullet like an ice cold bottle of Shiner Bock Beer from Texas. ( Also, I had exactly one bottle of beer in the fridge, and that was it.)

Shiner Bock

Texas’s Finest

 

PLAYLIST

 The Fez by Steely Dan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa_zNn-TE2Q

As Time Goes By Theme from Casablanca https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d22CiKMPpaY

(Play it Sam!)

So there ya have it Boys and Girls! Until next time, this is the Lunch Laddy signing off.

Come with me to the Casbah!

cartoon fez

 

 

 

The Lunch Lady Cookbook Pull No Punches Lasagna

Lunch Lady Cookbook Pull No Punches Lasagna

Cooking
Cooking

Hey there boys and girls! This is The Lunch Laddy, Michael Gillan Maxwell comin’ at ya with a new installment of The Lunch Lady Cookbook. Today we tackle the hearty, time honored fave, lasagna, with a Lunch Lady twist.

There’s nothing like this lasagna that gives school kids the kind of energy they need to tear through the afternoon and make life living Hell for the teachers. It’s brimming with oodles of complex carbohydrates and protein. One of Lunch Laddy’s friends is eating it right now to get ready for the New York City Marathon.

The switchboard is already lighting up with callers asking the question: Why is it named ‘Pull No Punches Lasagna’?  It’s because this dish pulls no punches. This dish gots it all baby; Italian hot sausage, hot peppers, hot spices and a comprehensive tour of the “Cheeses of Italia.” While this dish is not for the faint of heart or the lactose intolerant, if you recently passed your EKG and stress test before indulging in our Achin’ For Bacon Mac & Cheese, you should be good to go. If you’re training for the lead role in the life story of the boxer Two Ton Tony Golento or the remake of Martin Scorcese’s Raging Bull, then this is the dish for you!

This makes one hellava mess in la cucina, and the Lunch Laddy’s kitchen looked like the aftermath of a drone strike, so it’s best to block off a couple hours just for the cleanup.

Pots and pans

 Mess

More mess

and More Mess

But don’t let that scare you off, because it’s worth it. So let’s get started right away. The Lunch Lady Cookbook is proud to present Lunch Lady Cookbook Pull No Punches Lasagna.

What you need:

  •  Lasagna noodles (1 package)
  • 4 Italian hot sausages
  • Red pepper
  • Sweet onion
  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Tomato sauce
  • Pasta sauce
  • Ricotta cheese (8 oz)
  • Mozzarella and provolone cheese (2 Cups)
  • Four Cheese Shred asiago, Fontina, Parmesan, Provolone (5 oz package)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sweet basil flakes
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Smoked paprika

How we do it peeples!

  •  Slice, dice, bend, spindle and mutilate hot sausage, sweet onion, red pepper and mushrooms
  • Brown hot sausage over low heat, then add onions, red pepper and mushrooms, stirring frequently
  • Boil pasta for approximately 10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. It should be el dente
  • Cover the bottom of baking dish with tomato sauce
  • Add layer of lasagna pasta
  • Spread layer of ricotta cheese
  • Add layer of other cheeses
  • Cover with pasta sauce
  • Repeat
  • Top with final layer of pasta, cheeses and sauce
  • Garnish with spices
  • Cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes
  • Turn off oven and let stand, covered, in warm oven for at least 60 minutes

LasagnaNow THAT’S Yummy for the Tummy Y’all!

Dessert:

Why not top it off with a bowl of your favorite leftovers from Halloween? There’s nothing quite like a handful of miniature candy bars to keep you buzzing for hours.

Dessert

 Wanna Stay Up All Night? Eat Some Of These!

Beverage pairing:

Valpolicella Amarone

An insouciant wine that doesn’t bite back. It floods the palate with imaginary explosions of velvety flavors and undercurrents and aftertastes of the Venice canals at low tide.

Music pairing:

The Be Good Tanyas station on Pandora. You’ll hear good stuff from them, Bon Iver, Natalie Merchant, Gillian Welch and others.

Until next time  ~ the is the Lunch Lady Cookbook signing off with mangia, mangia, tutti frutti and arrividerci!

Ciao!

The Lunch Lady Cookbook ~ Real Men Eat Quiche

The Lunch Lady Cookbook

Cooking

Real Men Eat Quiche

Hey everyone! This is Michael Gillan Maxwell, the Lunch Laddy, bringing you another recipe from the Lunch Lady Cookbook. Today we’re whippin’ up a wicked batch of Lunch Lady Quiche.

I must admit that I’ve never actually seen a real lunch lady serve quiche in a school cafeteria. Nevertheless, I think it deserves its place in the pantheon of all-time Lunch Lady comfort foods, right up there with Lunch Lady Mac&Cheese, Lunch Lady Meatloaf and Lunch Lady Sloppy Joe’s. Quiche got kind of a bad rap in Bruce Feirstein’s ironic and humorous send up of this time-honored tart with roots dating back to the Middle Ages. (See –  “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, by American Bruce Feirstein, is a bestselling tongue-in-cheek book satirizing stereotypes of masculinity, published in 1982 (ISBN 0-671-44831-5). “ (Wikipedia)

However, as someone who is comfortable in his own skin and secure in his identity, the Lunch Laddy is here to tell you that real men DO eat quiche. It’s mindlessly simple to make and could easily be utilized as the ultimate back-of-the-refrigerator utility player combo in which all bets are off and anything goes, as long as it’s contained in a crust and baked in a mixture of eggs. However, let’s not go hog wild here. Lunch Lady Quiche is a humble and even (gasp!) healthy concoction, because even a moral reprobate like the Lunch Laddy has standards.  “I have my standards. They’re low, but I have them.” Bette Midler.

And so, without further adieu, I present to you Lunch Lady Quiche.

Bowl of Eggs

Lunch Lady Quiche

Basic Ingredients:

1 Dozen Organic, Cage Free Jumbo Brown Eggs

2 cups shredded double cheddar

2 Dashes Skim Milk

2 Healthy dollops Worcester Sauce

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (Extra VIRGIN, of course)

Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Paprika

4 Scallions

1 Cup Chopped Portabella mushrooms (Baby Bellas are easier)

1 Cup Chopped Red Pepper

8 Oz. Package Chopped Broccoli

8 Oz. Package Chopped Spinach

2 Frozen deep Dish Pie Crusts ( A REAL man would learn to make his own pie crusts)

Wash and chop scallions, mushrooms and pepper – sauté lightly in olive oil

Put 6 eggs each in two separate mixing bowls, add Worcester Sauce, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder – whisk vigorously

Add chopped broccoli to one bowl

Add chopped spinach to the other

Add 1/2 cup cheddar to each

Add sautéed veggie mix to both

Mix thoroughly

Pour ingredients into separate pie crusts

Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheddar over top of both quiches

Top with paprika

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour

Let stand for 15 minutes before serving

Quiches

Obviously there are as many variations as you can imagine with different combinations of veggies, cheeses, meats, or, it should go without saying, a solid foundation of bacon.

Musical Pairing: Waylon Jennings Honkytonk Heroes

Waylon Jennings Honky Tonk Heroes

Wine Pairing: Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin

Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin

 

Bon appetite!

Until next time……..

The Lunch Lady Cookbook ~ Rock Stream Slam Sausages

Cooking

The Lunch Lady Cookbook

Rock Stream Slam Sausages

Hey everyone! How ya’ doin’? This is The Lunch Laddy, Michael Maxwell, coming to you with another recipe for The Lunch Lady Cookbook. Since we’re in the middle of what Mother Jones Magazine calls “a mutant heatwave shattering all records” and that ain’t funny for all kinds of reasons, I thought I’d at least honor this premature blast of solar radiation with some traditional warm weather fare. The Lunch Lady Cookbook is proud to present to you: “Rock Stream Slam Sausages.” You’ll need the following ingredients:

1 pound fresh Italian Sausages (preferably HOT)

1 Sweet Vidalia Onion

1 Red Pepper

Fresh Sesame Rolls

1 Six Pack Pork Slap Pale Ale (TM Pork Slap Pale Ale)

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Wango Tango Habenero Hot Barb-B-Que Sauce (TM Dinosaur Barb-B-Q)

The staff at The Lunch Lady Cookbook is always on my case and all up in my grill to put a new spin on things, so I’m delivering this recipe in the form of a slam poem. The recipe (poem) should be read with a funky, up tempo bass and drum track. As always, this should be played by live musicians, if at all possible. However, if this is not practical, then may I suggest sampling James Brown’s Funky Drummer where he instructed drummer Clyde Stubblefield as follows: “You don’t have to do no soloing, brother, just keep what you got… Don’t turn it loose, ’cause it’s a mother.” Remember the immortal words of Mr. James Brown: “A man got his hair and teeth, he got it all!”

Cue the music and hit it!

Rock Stream Slam Sausages

“This is how we do it,” he said,

pouring olive oil in a pan and turning the burner up high

“Heat that oil up, and crank the music loud

but don’t let ‘er get too hot or she’ll smoke!

At least, that’s what SHE said

Meanwhile, slice some peppers up,

if you got ‘em. sweet onions, if you want ‘em,

then put ‘em in the pan when it’s good and hot,

Once they start fryin’, lay them sausages right down in there

Take care to turn ‘em, cuz you don’t wanna burn ‘em

Get some rosemary, basil and chives from the garden,

cut ‘em up and pile ‘em in, then put a lid on it

When the onions start to go brown and clear,

they’re carmelizin’, so you crack a beer,

whatever kind ya got, before she gets too hot,

pour a little in the pan, then drink the rest

Lower the heat and cover it quick. Let it all stew for a little bit,

‘till them sausages turn plump and pink

Take ‘em off the stove and set ‘em aside.

You can let ’em sit like that, while you go outside

take the dogs for a walk, see a man ‘bout a dog … whatever

Fire up the grill and get it smokin’ hot,

then you drop them sausages right on in there,

cover ‘em up and turn the flame down low, if you’re cookin’ with gas,

otherwise you gotta let it go, ‘til ya get them coals to glow

Be sure to cook ‘em slow

That’s when you start paintin’ on the barbeque sauce

Don’t be shy about it, slather it on nice and thick

Keep ‘em turnin’, cuz you don’t wanna burn ‘em

Down another cold one, take it easy and take your time,

maybe even have another one, cuz when that’s done,

they’re done, then you take ‘em off the grill

Before ya put it to the test, ya gotta let it rest

That’s the secret to grillin’ good meat

That meat been workin’ hard, my brother,

ya gotta let it rest.”

Slather with Wango Tango Sauce while they’re on the grill.

Wango Tango Sauce

Serve on sliced rolls that have been grilled until gently toasted.

Increase the heat with hot horseradish mustard.

Beer Pairing: Porkslap Pale Ale

Music Pairing: “Gimme Back My Wig” Hound Dog Taylor

“Muddy Waters”  The Chess Box

Porkslap Pale Ale

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