Lucy Kirihara of Bloomington, Minn., has maintained a deli in her refrigerator for more than four years and now she has it down to a science.

Regular customers of the deli are her sons, Jay, 28 and Peter, 25. Both maintain their own apartments but neither has time to cook.Their sister, Jan, 26, alternates between using the deli and helping her mother stock it.

Lucy Kirihara dreamed up the deli when the three were still juggling college and jobs. They often had to eat on the run or at odd hours, but she didn't want them spending their money on high-priced deli foods or restaurant takeout meals.

"They appreciate good food," said Kirihara, who teaches home economics at Murray Junior High in St. Paul, Minn. "Jay is my bottomless pit. If he isn't playing ball, he's working out. Peter and Jan are lighter eaters."

In the early days of her home deli, Kirihara made sandwiches for the trio - turkey, pastrami or corned beef, with or without cheese, on rye buns or in pita bread.

"I made them, wrapped them and marked them, with mustard or without, with cheese or without," she said. But then she became concerned about the high levels of fat and salt in luncheon meats and switched to homemade tacos and Sloppy Joes.

Husband and father Mikio Kirihara, a semiretired architect, gets in on the deli, too. His specialty is French-bread pizza. As soon as one batch of six servings - two for the refrigerator, four for the freezer - is gone, he makes another.

"Last night, I made a meat loaf with two pounds of ground beef, while Mickey made meatballs for spaghetti and meatballs." So saying, she reached into her refrigerator and brought out a plate of pasta topped with meatballs and spaghetti sauce, well-covered with plastic wrap, all ready to go into a microwave. If a deli entree isn't eaten after three days, she freezes it.

Though typical deli foods are salads, snacks or entrees, she occasionally prepares a gelatin dessert or rolls of refrigerated cookie dough. Slice-and-bake Krispy Cookies, a family favorite, is a recipe Kirihara also teaches her junior-high students to make.

"I feel that the deli has really paid off," said Kirihara. "Jay and Jan and Peter are well-nourished. They're never sick; they never miss work."

"So easy, so wonderful," said Kirihara of this entree salad, which was recommended to her by a friend. Though the lettuce wilts when this entree is in the refrigerator, the flavor is excellent.

Dist. by Scripps Howard News Service

Krispy Cookies

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 cup all-purpose or unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup oatmeal

1 cup Rice Krispies cereal

Grated rind of 1/2 lemon\ Cream margarine and sugars together; add the vanilla and egg. Sift flour and soda together; add to dough. Stir in oatmeal. Spoon in Rice Krispies and grated rind last. Shape dough into two long rolls.

Double-wrap the dough, mark with name, temperature and time for baking; place in the freezer.

To bake: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice roll of cookie dough very thin, 1/8 inch. Place slices on greased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove cookies from baking sheet immediately. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen.

Millionaire Chicken

1 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up or 3 pounds chicken breasts, skinned and deboned

1 head lettuce, preferably leaf lettuce, shredded

For sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons peanut or corn oil

2 scallions, chopped

4 slices fresh ginger root, minced

1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, slightly crushed

1/4 teaspoon, crushed red pepper\ Place chicken in a Dutch oven, cover with water and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat, let chicken stand in water 20 minutes before removing from Dutch oven. Debone chicken and cut into slices, 11/2-inch squares. Arrange on a platter with the nice pieces on top; cover and refrigerate. To serve: Combine soy sauce, honey, garlic ad salt; let stand at least 5 minutes. Measure oil, scallions, ginger, peppercorns and red pepper into a small pan. Heat over low heat 3 minutes. Add the soy-honey mixture; mix well. Arrange chicken on a bed of shredded lettuce. Pour warm sauce over chicken. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Hong Kong Salad

1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts

1 1/2 cups (or more) cubed or sliced cooked chicken

1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper

4 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

1 cup torn spinach

1 cup bean sprouts

For dressing:

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 clove garlic, minced

An hour or so before serving, toss together the water chestnuts, chicken and pepper. Mix the oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar and garlic; pour half of this dressing over the chicken mixture to marinate.

Combine the cabbage, spinach and bean sprouts in a salad bowl; cover and chill. To serve, toss greens with remaining half of dressing. Top greens with the chicken mixture. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Fettucine Alfredo with Chicken

4 chicken breast halves

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 medium clove garlic, mashed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

2/3 cup half-and-half

8 ounces Swiss cheese, grated fine

Pinch of nutmeg

8 ounces fettucine noodles

Poach chicken breasts; when cool enough to handle, debone them and set aside.

Make sauce: Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add garlic and cook 2 to 4 minutes without browning garlic. Remove garlic from pan and add salt, pepper and half-and-half. Bring sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and add the cheese, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Continue stirring - mixture may burn, until mixture is thick, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the fettucine according to package directions and slice chicken. Drain noodles. Add noodles and chicken to cheese sauce; mix to coat well with sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.- This is a favorite of Peter Kirihara. His mother said that the cheese often clumps in the sauce, but they like it, clumps and all.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Oil for deep-fat frying

10 wontons

1/2 pound cooked chicken breasts

Heart of a head of romaine lettuce

For dressing:

3 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup salad oil

1 teaspoon or more Oriental sesame oil Can use leftover roast chicken, teriyaki chicken or game hens.

Heat oil for deep-fat frying. Cut each wonton into 4 to 5 strips; deep fry until crisp, then drain on paper towels.

Shred chicken. Slice romaine heart into 3/4-inch slices.

Toss chicken and romaine together; divide into 6 portions and package. Divide fried wonton strips and package them separately.

Place vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in small pan; heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Add oil and sesame oil. Put dressing in small jars.

To serve: Toss chicken mixture with fried wontons. Pour on 1 portion of dressing and toss. Makes 3 servings.- This salad requires a little extra work, putting the dressing in a little jar and wrapping the fried wontons separately. But it's so popular with the young Kiriharas that their mother makes it occasionally.

Lucy's Tacos

2 pounds regular ground beef

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

Pepper to taste

1 tomato, diced

About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably safflower or corn oil

18 6-inch flour tortillas

Shredded Colby cheese, about 2 tablespoons per serving

Diced ripe tomatoes

Shredded lettuce

Mild salsa or picante sauce

Sour cream

First, make taco meat: Brown beef with onion, chili powder and pepper, stirring frequently. Add tomato near end of cooking period. Drain off all excess fat.

Second, heat the oil in a small frying pan. Doing one tortilla at a time and handling tortilla with tongs, fry one side of tortilla - this is side A. Fold tortilla in half, folding side A in. Then fry both halves of side B (outside) until crisp, puffy and brown; taco shell should be flexible enough to open.

Third, fill each fried shell with a portion of taco meat. Top meat with about 2 tablespoons shredded Colby cheese. When all tacos have been filled, put 2 or 3 per serving on plates and cover with plastic wrap.

To serve, heat on High in microwave oven about 30 seconds for 1 taco, 45 seconds for 2. Serve with tomatoes, lettuce, salsa and sour cream. Makes 18 tacos, 6 to 8 servings.- This is a Kirihara mainstay, prepared every other week. Lucy has a three-part server in which she keeps the tomatoes, lettuce and salsa.

Mickey's French Bread Pizza\

Cut a 1-pound loaf of French bread into thirds, then cut each piece in half length-wise, making six pieces.

Spread each piece of French bread with margarine.

Top each piece with prepared pizza sauce (the Kiriharas use Ragu Pizza Quick Sauce).

Cover sauce with sliced pepperoni; browned ground beef could be used instead of pepperoni.

Top meat with sliced fresh mushrooms, chopped green pepper and, if desired, sliced black olives (about 2 cups total).

Sprinkle lots of grated mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups total) over veggies. Sprinkle mozzarella with grated Parmesan cheese.

Wrap each portion in plastic wrap, sealing well. Pizzas can be stored in refrigerator if used within 2 days; otherwise store in freezer.

To serve: Heat oven to 350 to 375 degrees. Place pizzas on ungreased baking seet and heat until cheese melts, 15 to 25 minutes, longer time for frozen pizzas.

Makes 6 servings.