A Quick Chicken Dinner for One


And I’m the sole carnivore in the house right now, so I know. Here’s the gouge: It was time to eat some dinner and I had one baked chicken breast left over from yesterdays salsa-nated chicken dinner, some leftover rice, and no desire to play like I was on Food Network’s “Chopped.” What to do? We have no chain restaurants in our area, save the Mickey D on the highway. The local places had all closed for the night. Then it hit me.

Here’s what you need:

You know that jar of Mandarin oranges that has been sitting in the back of your refrigerator for a while? Yeah, that one. Take that, and the canned pineapple slices next to it, too. Now, while no one is looking, nick the bowl of leftover rice on the bottom shelf. Before you close the door, pull the low-salt soy sauce bottle out from behind the old Worcestershire sauce. On the way back to your work area, stop by the pantry spice rack and find the cayenne pepper. Really. Do it.

Here’s what you do:

Chop the backed chicken breast into bite sized portions. Add to the bowl of cooked rice and dab in a few shakes of the soy sauce, to taste. Now add the cayenne pepper to give the dinner a little zing. Want more zing? Add more pepper!

Cover the bowl with some cling wrap and reheat in the microwave oven for a minute or two. The exact time will depend on the strength of your microwave.

Once heated to your specification, remove from the microwave and discard the cling wrap. Be careful, there will be steam – AND STEAM IS HOT – IT CAN BURN YOU. (There, the lawyers should be happy now.)

Mix in a few spoonfuls of Mandarin oranges and top with a slice or two of the pineapple.

Not something you will find at a five-star, Zagat-rated restaurant, but it beats the heck out of plain old baked chicken. Try it!

Happy eating from the Eastern Shore of Virginia and have a happy, prosperous New Year!

Shrove Tuesday on the Eastern Shore

English: Scrapple, served in a restaurant.

Scrapple! (Image via Wikipedia)

Yes, today is Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday for you Mardi Gras  aficionados, and if you live on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, you can’t turn around without bumping into a pancake supper somewhere.

Maybe you have the same tradition? Elsewhere my family has had meager meals of bread and simple soup for Shrove Tuesday, but here in the heartland of Eastern Mid-Atlantic America (just coined that, like it?) it’s pancakes with all the trimmings. Which brings us to the point of this post.




Trimmings. get it? Okay, for those uninitiated in the culinary compilation called scrapple, let me just say that it is the trimmings and scraps of pork that didn’t make it into a chop or loin. Probably not even into a hot dog. We jokingly say “It’s the rest of the pig.” And we may not be far off.


It’s a special treat here, and after a few years of living on The Shore, today I had my first sample. It was perfectly rectangular (which should have been a dead giveaway that this was not a naturally occurring edible) and it was fried. Fried hard. Double, maybe triple fried.


But it tasted pretty darned good! Of course, maybe it was the maple syrup I poured on it, but regardless – now I can say with pride:


I have eaten scrapple and lived to tell the tail tale!


Scrapple. Try it sometime!  (with maple syrup <insert smiley face here>)


Photo Credit: (Scrapple, served in a restaurant. Photo courtesy of [http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/133253118/ Stu Spivack] {{cc-by-sa-2.0}}


Toad Fish? Really?


Deep Fried Toad Fish

Just north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on Highway 13, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, is the world famous “Stingray’s.” This is one of those all-in-one places you often see along the highways and byways, offering eclectic fare for travelers and locals alike. At Stingrays, you can fill up your gas tank and buy a pocket knife, a straw hat for the beach, a bottle of wine, fireworks (in season,) fishing bait and, yes a fine meal, too.

Today, we stopped by for lunch and, looking up at the chalk board specials, I saw something unusual, for me at least. “Fried Toad Fish.”   Excuse me? Fried what? I mean, I fish on occasion and though I do not catch much, ever, I have seen toad fish. Ugly creatures, let me tell you. And now I can get a plate of them? Deep fried?

I had to do it.

What was served was clearly not the same fish I had imagined. They were much better, and for that we were all thankful. They looked like over-sized minnows, about 4 – 5inches long each. Lightly breaded and fried, the toad fish had white flesh, much like a cod. And with the fish fried with tail intact, they looked like little fishies on a stick.

I spoke with several patrons and they told me they loved toad fish. Judging by the number of plates observed coming out of the kitchen, there is a cult-like following!

As for me, I will say they were not bad. Not my favorite, but at least now I can say I have tried them.  Should you get them?  Why not!

Deep fried Toad Fish on a stick – only at the world famous Stingray’s!