Your Own Back Yard – Michael Gillan Maxwell

Visual Art – Creative Writing – Social Commentary



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?



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




  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? 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


 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



 The Fez by Steely Dan

As Time Goes By Theme from Casablanca

(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




Lunch Lady Smoothies


Hi boys and girls! This is Michael Gillan Maxwell, The Lunch Laddy, comin’ at ya with a new installment of The Lunch Lady Cookbook. Today we’re gonna do some gustatory galavanting with the ultimate “meal on the go” ~ “smoothies”. These recipes are good and good for you!

Stop all the moaning and groaning! I know what you’re about to say. People write me all the time to say: “ Lunch Laddy ~ W.T.F. dude? What kind of Lunch Lady Cookbook is this anyway? You promised us classic Lunch Lady comfort foods and you keep comin’ at us with whack stuff like vegan dishes, quiche and God knows what all? Where’s the good stuff like Lunch Lady Meatloaf and Lunch Lady Sloppy Joes? And by the way ~ no  Lunch Lady Mac and Cheese? C’mon! What gives?” To which I reply: “Patience Grasshopper. All in good time. I promise. In fact, the recipe after this will be so heart-stoppingly unhealthy, you’ll need the crash cart and paddles to revive you!”

The first smoothie on today’s list is: (Tada!)

Incredible Hulk

  “All-Time Incredible Hulk Monster Behemoth Breakfast Smoothie” 

 For this you will need the following:

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Mango
  • 1 Handful Blueberries
  • 2 Whopping Tablespoons Low Fat Greek Yogurt (I prefer vanilla)
  • 1 Cup Chai Tea

( I use Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea with 59 grams of soy protein per 52 oz. bottle. That’s “Soy Protein”, nimrod, not “Soylent Green” ~ there’s a big difference. It also has 18 amino acids and builds strong bodies in 12 ways like Wonder Bread ~ and no, it’s not  the kind of acid you took at that outdoor music festival last year.)

  •  1 Tablespoon Garden Greens Protein Shake

( This has soy, spirulina and pea proteins ~ that’s “pea” ~ not “pee!” Jeez ~ will you please get with the program?)


Toss that stuff in a blender and whip it into a frothing slosh. (Not to be confused with Old Frothingslosh a prosaic working man’s beer from Pittsburgh)

Old Frothingslosh

Drink heartily. You should be channeling Yule Gibbons within 10 minutes, but take his transmissions with a grain of salt because I think he met his untimely demise from eating pine cones, one of the very things he extolled the virtues of.

Follow with a brisk 40 minutes of nude Tai Chi and a sponge bath on your balcony. The neighbors love that kind of stuff.

Musical Pairing:

Hamza El Din “A Wish”  

Hamza El Din is a legendary Nubian composer and in my humble opinion, the greatest oud player in the world,

Hamza El Din

Now hang on to your hats kids because here comes the next one. I call this the Lunch Lady

“Lunch When You Ain’t Got Time to Munch Smoothie”

You’ll need to hit the produce department at your local grocery store pretty hard for this one. You’ll need:

  •  1 Raw Beet
  • 1 Handful Spinach
  • 2 Stalks Celery
  • 1 Handful Baby Carrots
  • 1/2 Cup Carrot Juice

Again, throw that stuff in the blender and put the pedal to the metal. If you don’t have a blender, you can use a weed whacker or a boat propeller, but it’s not recommended. Whaddya mean you don’t like beets? Quit whining, ya big baby. If it helps, pour a couple of shots of vodka in there and call it a Bloody Mary. Anyway, beets are good for you. Just ask Dwight Shrute. You’ll be channeling Jack Lalane after this one. He lived to be 100 and had like a 26 inch waist. Although, if you hit the vodka too hard you’re more likely to be channeling Jack Palance. In either case, you should be levitating shortly.

Beets Are Good For You

Musical Pairing:

Tinariwen “Amassakoul”  

Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg-Berber musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. The band was formed around 1979 in refugee camps in Libya but returned to Mali after a cease-fire in the 1990s. Their music totally kicks ass.


The Lunch Laddy is going to throw a bone to all you naysayers out there with one final recipe. The Lunch Laddie is a transplanted Wisconsin boy, die hard ex-pat and life-long cheesehead! This power packed concoction is called:

“The Bucky Badger Cheesehead Smoothie”

Bucky Badger

For this you’ll need:

  • 1 20 oz micro brewed IPA or Stout
  • 1 Bratwurst
  • 1 healthy chunk of Sharp Cheddar

Toss all that in the old Bass-o-Matic and whip it up!

Musical Pairing:

“Live From Camp Randall Stadium: The University of Wisconsin Marching Band Tuba Section Plays the Greatest College Fight Songs of All Time!” 

Marching Band

Bottoms up and until next time ~ Keep on chooglin’!

The Lunch Lady Cookbook ~ Real Men Eat Quiche

The Lunch Lady Cookbook


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


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……..

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