Oct 072015


Teriyaki sauce is easy to make yourself. You’ll find my recipe at the bottom of the page. SPAM is perfect for teriyaki because it already has a salty, pork flavor. If you have SPAM haters in your household then this recipe might be able to tempt them to the side of good. It doesn’t taste like SPAM. It just tastes like Teriyaki. Turkey SPAM is also good prepared this way.

Teriyaki Glazed Luncheon Meat


  • 12 ounce can of SPAM, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Teriyaki Sauce (see easy recipe below)


Cut the SPAM into thin slices, then stack the slices and cut into strips. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the SPAM and sauté until it is lightly browned. Sprinkle the sugar over the SPAM and allow it to caramelize briefly. Add the Teriyaki sauce. Stir until the sauce evaporated and coats the SPAM with a thick, golden brown glaze. Remove from the heat. Serve over plain cooked rice. Makes 2 to 4-servings, depending upon appetite. Mandarin Oranges or Pineapple Rings or Mixed Tropical Fruits all make excellent accompaniments along with a plain vegetable like kale, collard greens or canned cabbage. This recipe is easy, exotic and absolutely delicious.


Super Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup or agave
  • 1 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


Combine all of the ingredients in a clean jar. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Use anywhere you would normally use store-bought Teriyaki sauce. Store leftovers in the fridge for a few months or on the pantry shelf for a few weeks. Makes about 1-cup.


Oct 072015

Spam Couple

SPAM is cut into pretty julienne strips and then fried and glazed with brown sugar. It is A-May-Zing! You have no idea how good this is. Don’t think about it. Just make it and eat it and then make it again because you’ll start craving it. Mana from heaven!

Sugar Fried SPAM


  • 12 ounce can of SPAM, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar


Remove the SPAM from the can and place it on a plate. Cut it into 8-thin slices. Stack the slices together and cut them into small strips.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the SPAM strips and sauté until they are lightly browned. Sprinkle the sugar over the SPAM. Sauté gently until the strips are coated with the sugar. Continue cooking until the sugar caramelizes. Remove from heat before the sugar burns. Serve over cooked rice with a side of french cut green beans. Makes 2 to 4-servings, depending on appetite.


Oct 072015

Better Lunch

This recipe uses about 1/2 of an 8-ounce jar of mayonnaise. If you don’t have refrigeration, then keep the remaining mayonnaise in a cool spot and use on sandwiches the next day. These are especially good on homemade wheat bread.

To make the sandwich filling gluten-free be sure to use gluten-free chunk ham such as Hormel. SPAM is also gluten free. Serve open-face, on rice cakes. To make the sandwiches dairy-free replace the Velveeta with 1-cup of shredded Daiya cheddar flavored dairy-free cheese. Daiya keeps well in the freezer if you happen upon a sale, or need a way to keep it for an extended period of time.

Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans chunk ham, or 12 ounce can SPAM, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces of minced Velveeta-type cheese (mash with a fork) or 1-cup shredded cheese
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Sliced Bread

Flake or chop the meat you are using. SPAM can be shredded on a cheese shredder if it’s well chilled. Sometimes that’s easier than chopping it. Chunk ham is easily flaked with a fork. Next mince the cheese. I cut off a 4-ounce piece of Velveeta and mash it in a bowl with a fork. I find it too tedious to chop.

Get out a medium-sized bowl. In it combine the meat, cheese, mustard and mayonnaise. Stir it up, making a nice moist filling. Spread the filling onto slices of bread. It goes on thickly. Lay the open face sandwiches on a large cookie sheet and bake them for about 15 minutes at 450°, or until the cheese melts. They cook fast so watch them closely. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread or toast and serve. This recipe makes 8 sandwiches, depending on how thickly you spread the filling. Serve with green bean salad and oatmeal cookies.

These sandwiches are good for lunch boxes too, in which case you don’t have to broil them, just pack and eat them like a normal sandwich. If you don’t have access to a broiler then you can fry the sandwiches in a skillet or on a griddle like grilled cheese sandwiches.

Oct 072015

Fried Sandwich

Soup and sandwiches used to be my go-to lunch when we still ate wheat and dairy. The family always felt like they were getting a complete meal and I felt like I was doing my job by providing it for them. These sandwiches make a good meal when served with canned or homemade vegetable soup. Provide applesauce on the side to hit all of your nutritional bases.

If you are making these with pantry-friendly homemade bread, be sure not to slice the bread too thinly. Fried cheese sandwiches need the bread to be at least 1/2-inch thick so the cheese doesn’t ooze from the bread while it fries.

Grilled Ham or SPAM & Cheese Sandwiches


  • 16 ounce canned ham or 12 ounce can of SPAM
  • 4 ounces Velveeta-type cheese or canned cheese
  • 12 slices bread (approximately)
  • Mustard
  • Butter or alternative of your choice
  • Skillet or Griddle


Cut the ham or luncheon meat into thin slices. Do the same for the cheese. Spread each slice of bread lightly with yellow mustard. You may also spread the bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise if you like. Lay a slice of ham or luncheon meat and a slice of cheese on half of the slices of bread. Patch together the ham and cheese as needed to cover the entire slice of bread. Top the ham and cheese with a second slice of bread.

Heat the butter or alternative in skillet or griddle over a low flame. Butter flavored shortening is actually very good for this. Lay on the sandwiches and fry until golden brown on the underside. Flip and brown the remaining side, adding more fat as needed. Continue until all of the sandwiches have been fried a toasty, golden brown. Cut into triangles and serve. The cheese will be gooey; the ham will be hot and fragrant; the whole sandwich will be delicious.

If desired serve with vegetable or tomato soup. Yummy! Makes at least 6-sandwiches, more if you manage to slice the ham thinly.

Oct 062015


According to Wikipedia, Chop Suey has been around in America since at least the 1890’s. It translates to odds and ends or bits and pieces. The following recipe is based upon the one created by La Choy foods back in the 1920’s. La Choy continued to share this recipe with consumers until at least the 1970’s. It was many Americans only exposure to Chinese food in the early 20th Century. Nowadays, it seems plebian and perhaps, uninspired. Back then though, it was the height of haute cuisine. Times change. Tastes change. Chop Suey is still a tasty and budget-friendly family dish, easily prepared from panty staples.

thrifty_chop_sueyI’ve adapted La Choy’s original recipe to use canned chicken and I’ve spiced it up a bit to make it more appealing to modern appetites. This is my family’s favorite recipe for Pantry Friendly Chop Suey. I’ve been making it since the late 1980’s so you know it’s well-tested.

Chop Suey, prepared according to this method, is very much an American dish. It has some Asian elements but it’s not Chinese food. It’s American food that has put on a pretty chinese dress and shown up at the church potluck with chop sticks in its hair, smiling brightly and claiming all the compliments for such novel and delicious “foreign food.”

By the way, to turn Chop Suey into Chow Mein, simply serve it over crunchy chow mein noodles, instead of rice. Also, if you dont’ want to use chicken, you can use canned salmon, SPAM or canned tuna instead. After chicken, SPAM Chop Suey is my family’s favorite.

The recipe below does use fresh celery or cabbage and fresh onion, all of which are economical. If you don’t have access to these, see the note following the recipe for pantry-friendly alternatives.

As for cost, as of Fall 2015, this recipe (with fresh onion and celery) costs me about $1.25 per serving, including long grain white rice–not including the canned fruit, which would add about 40¢, making a complete gluten-free, dairy-free meal for well under $2 per serving.

Pantry Friendly Chop Suey


  • 2 or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped OR 2-cups sliced cabbage
  • 1 (12-ounce) can chicken
  • 1 (28-ounce) can stir-fry vegetables, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/2 to 2-cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8-teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4-teaspoon EACH garlic powder, dry ginger and ground red pepper or pepper flakes
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water


Begin by peeling the onion. Chop it in half (from root to tip) then cut into thin slices. Separate the pieces with your fingers so you have many thin pieces. Wash the celery or cabbage and chop it too.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the celery or cabbage and onion. Stir-fry for about 5-minutes, or until the vegetables are tender-crisp.

While the vegetables are cooking open the canned vegetables and drain them in a colander. Thoroughly rinse in clean water then drain again.

Open up the canned chicken. Drain the canning liquid into a glass measuring cup. Add enough water to equal 1-1/2 cups liquid.

In a small bowl or coffee cup combine the soy sauce, cornstarch and 2-tablespoons water. Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.

When the vegetables in the skillet are tender-crisp add the canned chicken, canned stir-fry vegetables, 1-1/2 cups water, sugar, pepper, garlic, ginger, red pepper and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil. Stir in the cornstarch  mixture. Simmer and stir for a couple of minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. If desired you may add up to 1/2-cup more water if you want the sauce to be thinner. You may or may not need it.

Serve over hot rice. I use 1-1/2 cups of rice cooked in 3-cups of water. Start the rice first, before you begin the chop suey. This will allow for both to be done at the same time.

If desired garnish with a few peanuts scattered over top, or chow mein noodles if you prefer. I use peanuts because they are gluten-free. The extra crunch of peanuts or chow mein noodles makes the dish more appealing in my opinion.

Serve with canned mandarin oranges or a combination of mandarin oranges and pineapple.

Makes 4-hearty servings.

Notes: If you don’t have access to fresh foods then you can omit the onion and celery. Begin the recipe by combining the water and canned goods. Add the oil along with the chicken. Then proceed as directed. To make up for the onion and celery, try one of the following alternatives.

  1. 15-ounce jar of baby onions, well-drained.
  2. 15-ounce can french style green beans and 4-ounce can mushrooms, both well-drained and 2 tablespoons dry onion flakes.
  3. 1/4 cup EACH dry celery and dry onions, added along with the water. Allow them to simmer for a few minutes to reconstitute before adding the canned goods.
  4. 2 to 3-cups sprouted lentils or other homegrown sprouts. These should be started several days before they are needed. Also add 2-tablespoons of dehydrated onion flakes for flavor. The sprouts do not need to be fried in the oil unless you really want to. They are tender enough to simply add along with the canned vegetables and chicken.

If you are gluten-free then be sure to use gluten-free versions of your ingredients, especially the soy sauce. Do not use chow mein noodles, wich are full of wheat flour.


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