Mary’s Memo #2178

September is Better Breakfast Month. I do hope that no matter what your age, that you take time to “break fast” in the morning. Because I’m always testing recipes, I eat what a lot of you would consider unorthodox foods. If I am tired of eating an entree for my main meal (2’s the limit) I usually finish it for breakfast. Ditto for soups although if soups are good, I freeze the leftovers. If I’m not going to make it again I might have it for the first meal of the day with toast and fruit to get rid of it. There’s no set rule on what we eat for breakfast although toast, cereal, eggs and such are the popular choices. This might sound crazy but since we’re to eat like a king at breakfast, a queen for lunch and a pauper at night you can even make it your main meal! Not conventional but certainly there’s nothing wrong with it, especially over the weekend when we have more time to cook.


A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 20 prior studies totaling about 1.2 million people has good news and bad news. The good news is that eating unprocessed red meat such as beef, pork or lamb was not associated with an increased risk of heart disease or diabetes. The bad news is that the same can’t be said of processed meats like bacon, sausage, salami, luncheon meat or hot dogs: Eating just 50 grams (1.8-ounces, about one hot dog or two slices of salami) of processed meat daily was associated with a 42 percent greater risk of heart disease and 19 percent increased risk of diabetes. Renata Micha, PhD, RD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues combed the scientific literature in the largest research review to date of the health affects of eating meat.

Source: DukeMedicine HealthNews, August 2010..


One of the things I like most about working for Chief is meeting new people. These encounters often happen when they ask me a question about fresh produce since that’s where I spend my time when I’m working. Recently a customer asked me about snow peas and pea pods. Both are served in the shell but I prefer snow peas because I think they are more tender. Both kinds are available in the produce department at Chief and Rays. In the 1970s, the food editors of Farm Journal magazine published a series of cookbooks including America’s Best Vegetable Recipes. They sold at 1970 prices, too, and most were only $5.95. Today most magazine format cookbooks in the supermarket cost more than that! Regarding snow peas, the original recipe did call for pea pods but Luke raised snow peas in the garden (when rabbits were not the menace that they are today) so I replaced pea pods with what we had in the garden. This recipe made 6 servings but feel free to cut it in half if it’s more practical to do so.


4 scallions with tops, chopped
¼ cup canola oil
4 cups fresh snow peas (about 1 lb.), both tips removed
(1) 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup chicken broth without MSG
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with an additional¼ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Cook scallions in oil in skillet for 2 minutes. Add snow peas and water chestnuts. Cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring until mixture comes to a boil and thickens and is transparent. Simmer briefly until snow peas are barely tender but still crispy. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Source: Adapted from recipe in America’s Best Vegetables by the food editors of Farm Journal, 1970.


The leisurely days of summer will soon be over but not our attraction to easy entrées to serve our families. Get this one ready the night before and bake when you get home from work.


¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
½ cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmann’s Light)
2 cups dry noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 cups cut-up rotisserie chicken
1/3 cup buttered crumbs

Sauté onion and bell pepper in butter until tender. Blend soup and mayonnaise together. Add noodles and chicken. Spoon into 1.5-qt casserole. Top with buttered crumbs. Bake in 350°F oven for about 30 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and crumbs are golden. Recipe makes 4 to 5 servings.
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