Katsu Culture

I have always been intrigued with cultures. I love how the way people eat, live, talk, pray, etc. is so highly influenced by where they grew up. I grew up in Georgia and my parents in North Carolina. Our culture is southern. We eat fried food, love front porches, drink sweet tea and spend a lot of time together on Sundays.

Blake grew up in Georgia too but his mom is from Michigan. She has lived in the south for a long time, but it is interesting to see how Blake and I are different just because his mom was from Michigan. You know the stuff inside the turkey on Thanksgiving? Blake calls it stuffing. I call it dressing. Bratwurst’ were a part of Blake’s childhood where I only knew of hot dogs. They are just little things, but they are interesting to me.

In Japan, slurping your soup and noodles is a compliment to the chef. This has started some pretty heated conversations in the Foster household.

Me- “Blake STOP slurping!”

Blake- “I am trying to compliment you, babe.”

Me- “I am not Japanese, so stop!”

Blake- “Still.”

“Still.” will always win an argument. Be the first to say it!

Anyway, the point about cultures is that we all have comfort food based on our likings, upbringings and cultures. Chicken Katsu with Tamago Omelets and Miso soup is definitely a Japanese comfort food for us. Every time we make this for friends, they ask for it again and again. Enjoy

Chicken Katsu and Tamago Omlete

Serves 2

Total Price- $2.11

Total Price per person- $1.06

Average Retail Price- $4.91

Total Savings- $2.30

Chicken Katsu and Miso Soup

-5 eggs

-2 tbsp mirin (see photo)

-1 tbsp soy sauce

-2 tsp sugar

-2 tsp rice wine vinegar

-1 tbsp oil

-2 tbsp white Miso (see photo)

-2 tsp Dashi powder

-3 cups water

-1/2 cup cubed tofu

-2 green onions diced

-2 chicken breasts, butterflied/pounded to 1/2 inch

-1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

-1 sheet dried seaweed

-Katsu Sauce (see photo)

1. Mix eggs, Mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine vinegar

2. Set aside about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture.

3. Heat 1/2 the oil large sauté pan over med-high heat

4. Add 1/6 the egg mixture to the pan and spread thin across the saute pan

Step 1

5. Fold/roll the egg mixture in 1 inch portions and continue to roll until 1 inch thick

Step 2

6. Add another 1/6 of the egg mixture to the pan and spread thin

7. Fold/roll the 1 inch portion of rolled egg, pausing for 10-15 seconds each fold to allow it to cook.

Step 3

8. Add another 1/6 of the egg mixture and repeat until it is completely rolled and about 1 inch thick and 1 inch tall

Step 4

9. Set aside.

Complete Tamago Omelet

10. Add the remaining oil to the pan and repeat for the 2nd Tamago Omelet.

11. Cut Tamago Omelet into 1/2″ portions and wrap with strips of dried seaweed if preferred.

12. Heat water in medium sauce pot or microwave

13. Add white Miso, Dashi powder, tofu, and green onion to the water and serve.

14. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, or heat 1/2 inch of oil in sauté pan over high heat.

15. Dip the chicken in the 1/2 cup egg mixture that was set aside, and then coat in Panko breadcrumbs.

16. Place on a pan in the oven, or into the oil.

17. If cooking in oven spray with butter spray or drizzle with oil and cook 8-10 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through and bread crumbs are golden brown.

18. If cooking in oil cook roughly 7-8 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through and bread crumbs are golden brown.

Serve with Tamago omelet, Miso soup, a side of Katsu sauce and rice.


-Boneless, skinless chicken breast- Ingles $1.98/lb

-Tofu- Super H Mart $0.98

-Mirin-Super H Mart $1.00 off

-White Miso- Super H Mart $2.00, and it lasts for a year

Pictures for Reference


White miso


Don’t Judge a Dinner by It’s Color


We have had a lot of requests for Japanese food, and we have been craving it which is ideal. Last night we had Japanese Curry. According to www.dictionary.com curry is a pungent dish of vegetables, onions, meat or fish, etc., flavored with various spices or curry powder, and often eaten with rice.

When Blake and I were in Thailand, we learned to make Thai Curry from scratch which was very cool. Granted we were on a two week vacation with no child, so we had time to make curry from scratch. Now, the circumstances are a little different. We have a clingy toddler, full-time jobs, and a marriage to put our time into. Though muddling garlic and other spices is quite fun, it doesn’t quite fit into my weekday evening schedule. This is exactly why I love Asian Markets. We have one in our town called Super H Mart, but almost every city has something similar. Go to your local Asian market and get the premixed curry cubes (We like Golden Curry brand) to make a quick, easy and tasty Japanese style curry dinner that is guaranteed to please the family!

Cheesy eggs are one of Blake and Lottie’s favorite easy egg dishes.  Blake learned to make it from his best friend’s mother who is Japanese.  It is great simply served over rice, but one day we had left over curry and decided to make some cheesy eggs to accompany it and the combination has never been apart since.  The key to cheesy eggs is there 1 slice of American cheese for every 2 eggs, and you have to microwave in intervals and stir often to be sure to end up with gooey, runny, cheesy eggs.

If you can’t find a good Asian Market, buy online. www.asianfoodgrocer.com

Japanese Curry and Cheesy Eggs Over Rice

Serves 6

Total Price- $5.24

Total Price per Person- $0.87

Average Retail Price- $11.40

Total Savings- $6.16

Not pretty, but delicious- Japanese Curry

1 tbsp oil

2 tsp garlic

1 large onion, chopped

3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 tsp pepper

2 potatoes, cut into chunks

3 carrots cut into ½ inch pieces

6 cups water

1 package (8 cubes) of Japanese Curry

8 eggs

4 slices American cheese

2 cups cooked sushi grade rice

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat.

2. Add garlic, onion, pepper, and chicken and cook until nicely seared stirring often. (Roughly 3 minutes)

3. Add potatoes, carrots, and water and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover until potatoes are cooked through.  (Roughly 15-20 minutes)

5. Remove from heat and break the curry cubes into the pot and stir until it is thickened.

6. Return to heat over low.

7. In a bowl combine eggs and cheese

8. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes.

9. Stir eggs thoroughly.

10. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.

10. Heat in 30 second intervals stirring thoroughly after each interval.

11.The eggs should be juicy and cheesy when served.  Do not overcook or they will become dry.  It usually takes 2-3 intervals.

12. Spread rice across a plate and place eggs over one portion and curry over the other.  13. Enjoy!!

Sales used in this recipe:

Golden Curry (Super H Mart BOGO. $2.99/2)

Onions- (Ingles $0.99/lb)

Carrots- (Ingles 2 for $0.88)

Chicken Breasts (Ingles $1.48/lb)

Japanese Cooking Staples:

Japanese Cooking Staples

Driving Down the Gluten-Freeway

I have mentioned before and I will mention again, I LOVE WHEN READERS COMPLIMENT THE BLOG AND TELL ME WHAT THEY LIKE. One of my dear friends from middle school, Laura, and I reconnected on Facebook. She sent me an email about how she loved the blog. She and her family are gluten and soy free, so Blake and I took it as a challenge to make something that we wanted for dinner, but cater to her family’s diet.

If I ever fulfill my dream of being a professional chef, culinary teacher or TV food personality, I will be sure to incorporate the needs of people who have unique diets. I have a best friend, Kelly, who is a vegetarian. She says she loves to read the blog, but doesn’t cook much from it because we always use meat.  After looking back at our recipes, she was right, and now we are aiming to make more vegetarian-friendly dishes.

So for all of those of you who are steering away from gluten and/or soy, enjoy this dish!

Zucchini-Chicken “Lasagna”

(Eliminate chicken or replace with tofu for a delightful vegetarian dish)

Serves 6

Total Price with Savings- $4.49

Total Price per Person- $0.75

Total Average Retail Price- $12.59

Total Savings- $8.10

Gluten-Soy Free Lasagna

–         2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (Super H $1.49/lb Average Retail $4.99/lb)

–         2 cans of plain tomato sauce (Costco 12/$5.99 Average Retail $0.99/each)

–         1 can diced tomatoes (Costco 12/$5.99 Average Retail $0.99/each)

–         1 tbsp olive oil

–         1 tbsp minced garlic (Costco 48 oz/ $3.99 Average Retail 6 oz $2.99)

–         1 tbsp Italian season (BIG LOTS $1.00 Average Retail $2.29)

–         ½ cup grated Parmesan (Costco $5.99 24 oz/ Average Retail 8 oz $3.99)

–         ½ cup shredded mozzarella (Costco $6.99 5/lb bag Average retail $3.49/1 lb bag)

–         1- 8oz container ricotta cheese (Publix brand $1.09 Average Retail $2.29)

–         1 tbsp fresh basil (FREE Garden Average Retail $2.99/pkg)

–         1 tsp fresh thyme (FREE Garden Average Retail $2.99/pkg)

–         2 medium zucchini, sliced thin lengthwise (Super H $0.38/lb Average Retail $1.99/lb)

–         Salt and pepper (BIG LOTS)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning into a pot and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. (If you are in a hurry, use higher heat).
  3. Boil chicken breast for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Shred when cool.
  4. Mix together ricotta, basil, thyme, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside for assembly.
  5. In a 9-inch glass-baking dish, drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add thin layer of tomato sauce.
  7. Top with ½ sliced zucchini to cover surface of pan.
  8. Spread ½ of cheese mixture on top of zucchini.
  9. Top with shredded chicken, evenly dispersed.
  10. Coat chicken layer with more sauce to ensure it doesn’t dry out when cooking.
  11. Top with remainder of zucchini.
  12. Coat with one more layer of tomato sauce.
  13. Top with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella.
  14. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes.
  15. Uncover and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  16. Allow 20-30 minutes for “lasagna” to set.

The whole dish

You Can Still Look HOT Eating Hot Wings

One of my favorite foods in the world is hot wings. It drives my husband nuts when I eat them because I used a fork and a steak knife to prevent from having to slurp my fingers or dip into my 401k to afford enough paper towels to keep me clean.

I am O.C.D. Normally the things that I obsess about are doors being locked, cabinets being completely closed, recycling bins being organized, expired coupons and floor surfaces being free of dirt and debris. One other thing that drives me nuts is when anything is under my fingernails. It drives me crazy! It’s nearly impossible to eat a hot wing without getting sauce under your fingernails…..UNTIL NOW!

When I was on Facebook the other day, I saw a friend of mine, Tisha, ask her Facebook family if anyone could think of a way to eat hot wings with out looking like a barbarian. It was then that it hit me that I was not the only one. This discussion lead to the creation of the following dish. I know they are thighs and not wings, but they are close enough. Also, they are skinless which dramatically reduced the saturated fat and cholesterol.

Dainty Finger Lickless Hot “Wings” with Celery Casserole

Serves 4

Total Price- $5.37

Total Price per Person- $1.34

Total Average Retail Price- $13.58

Total Savings- $8.21

Dainty Chicken "Wings" and Celery Casserole

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Super H $1.49/lb Average Retail $3.99/lb)

9 tbsp butter (Costco 5lbs $5.19 Average Retail $2.99/lb)

½ cup Texas Pete Hot sauce (Big Lots)

1 tsp salt (Big Lots)

1 tsp pepper (Big Lots)

1 tsp oil

  1. Clarify 6 tbsp butter by putting in sauté pan on low heat and waiting until white, foamy, coating forms on the top. Spoon out the white foam and leave remaining butter in pan.
  2. Add ½ tsp oil to prevent butter from burning.
  3. Set pan with clarified butter to high heat.
  4. Cut each thigh into wing-sized sections (average 3 per thigh)
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Once butter is very hot, add thigh to pan in batches leaving ½ inch between each thigh until browned and cooked through (approx. 3 mins per side)
  7. Set on paper towel to drain.
  8. Put 3 tbsp melted butter in a bowl.
  9. Mix melted butter with Texas Pete stir with fork until thick and mixed thoroughly.
  10. Drizzle over cooked thighs.


Cold Celery Casserole

½ cup Light Sour Cream (Publix Buy one get one FREE $1.79/2 Average Retail $1.79/1)

8 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese (Publix Manufacturers Coupon $0.40 off, doubled to $0.80 to $1.19 Average retail $1.99/ 8 oz

5 stalks of celery, diced (Super H $0.38/bunch Average Retail $1.99/ bunch)

½ sweet onion, diced (Super H 3lb bag $0.98 Average retail 3 lb bag $2.99)

1 tsp salt (Big Lots)

1 tsp pepper (Big Lots)

1 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese (Costco $6.99 5/lb bag Average retail $3.49/1 lb bag)

2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese (Costco $2.99/8oz Average Retail $4.99/8 oz)

2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs (Super H Buy one, get one free. 2/$2.99)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients into a bowl.
  3. Spread evenly into a glass 9 inch baking dish
  4. Top with remaining ingredients and place in oven for 30 minutes, until topping is golden brown and cream is bubbling..
  5. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
  6. Serve cold.

Basmati Hottie

Last night we had Jenny over for dinner. She and Blake have both been dying to have Chicken Vindaloo, so when the chicken breast tenders and the potatoes went on sale, I knew it was time. Blake LOVES Indian food. Vindaloo is to Indian food like Spaghetti and Meatballs is to Italian food~ simple, common and delicious.

Here is what we had:

Chicken Vindaloo with Poached Eggs and Basmati Rice

Serves 4

Total Price for 4- $8.27

Total price per person- $2.06

Total Savings for 4- $11.17

Chicken Vindaloo with a poached egg on Basmati rice

  • 3 large Vidalia onions chopped  (Publix $1.29/lb from $1.99/lb)
  • 4 medium tomatoes chopped and seeded (Garden FREE)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar (Manufacturer’s Coupon $0.50 off- $0.89 total)
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil. (Kroger $0.50 off total $0.94 for 48oz bottle)
  • 2 small garlic clove, chopped (Publix 5/$0.99 from $1.99/lb)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (Big Lots $1.00 per bottle)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (Big Lots $1.00 per bottle)
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (Costco $2.25 off case- whole case $4.75- $0.39/can)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (Big Lots $1.00 per bottle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (Big Lots $1.00 per bottle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (Big Lots $1.00 per bottle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (depending on taste) cayenne pepper (Big Lots $1.00/ bottle)
  • 8 skinless boneless chicken breasts tenders or 4 boneless chicken breasts , cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces (Ingles- tenders on sale for $1.98/lb from $3.98/lb- Total $3.96)
  • 1 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (Publix 5lb bag $2.99 – $0.59 total)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth or water (Costco $1.75 off of case $6.25 total for case- one can $0.52)
  • 2 cups of steamed rice (Super H $9.99 for 10 lb bag from $12.99 for 10 lb bag- total for recipe $1.00)
  • 4 eggs (Costco- 36 eggs for $1.99 or $0.05/each)

Add onions, tomatoes, vinegar, garlic and spices to a food processor (or blender if you don’t have a processor) and blend. Heat two teaspoons of vegetable oil in a large sautee pan, then add the paste. Stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken and potatoes and cook for 7-9 minutes. Then add chicken broth or water and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer. Break 4 –5 eggs on top of the mixture and cover in order for eggs to poach and chicken to fully cook (approximately 5 more minutes). Garnish with 2 strips of crispy bacon and a few sprigs of parsley. ENJOY!