Monday, July 26, 2010

To My Father's Loyal Blog Readers

This is Craig, Richards son. Richard passed away this morning unexpectedly. I know that he really appreciated this community and considered many of you friends so I thought it would be important to let you all know. Since his retirement this blog was very important to him and his life long passion of cooking. I am sorry to have to tell you all this in this fashion. He was loved and will be missed. Thank you all for being his friends and inspiring him to continue cooking right up till the end.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Hope You Liked My Smackdown Entry.....

Because it took 3rd in the State of Michigan BB-Q Cook-off in Vegetables! We didn't get skunked! We finished 28th out out of 48 teams overall, and were very happy with that! 5th in potatoes- 1/2 point out of third! Missed second in veggies by 1/2 point. More photos to follow in next post!
It rained all Friday, making the field a muddy mess where nearly everybody got stuck at least once!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My July Smackdown Entry...

We were practicing Monday for the BB-Q side dishes, and tried a few different things, settling on this dish for our vegetable entry. We battered and deep fried green beans! Simple, incredibly good- with a creamy dip for added flavor! They were crisp, firm, flavorful, and the dip was creamy yet with the addition of hot sauce- it had a nice zip to it! I know there will be more colorful vegetable side dishes, but for flavor- these were very tasty!
I'll let you know how we did after the cook-off!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A BB-Q Primer...

I have six or seven books on BB-Q, but these three are my "go to" books! Paul Kirk is my guru of BB-Q, and have learned the most from his writings...He is informative on procedures, and makes sense in his philosophies.
The three jars in the photo are as follows: On the left, a mustard slather. This is spread on the meat for two main reasons, one mustard has vinegar and tenderizes meat to a degree, and two- it holds the dry rub (next jar) in place as it dissolves onto and into the meat. Mine is made from mustard, beer, molasses, and hot sauce. Beef and pork only, and it will not taste mustardy!
The second jar is dry rub, made of herbs, spices, salt, sugar. It flavors the meat- in a good way!
The third jar is a finishing sauce, put on towards the end of long slow cooking, otherwise known as BB-Q sauce. Glazing it onto ribs, or mixing it with vinegar for pulled pork is common. Glazing on chicken is good, too! I use a separate one for beef brisket...
We tried out a couple of our side dishes, and were quite pleased with the results!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Freelance Pasta Salad!

I never seem to make pasta salad the same way every time.... I tend to use what is available, yet compatible! The one you see in the photo takes on a bit of an Italian theme, with the following ingredients:
Tri-colored spiral pasta
Hard cooked eggs, chopped
Pepperoni slices, quartered
Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Chopped sweet onion
Chopped tomato
Chopped green olives
Chopped black olives
Creamy Caesar's Dressing, for binder
Mix and chill, then serve on bed of lettuce
The green olives provide enough salt for the whole recipe, pepperoni gives heat but not too much!), and the dressing is somewhat tart and garlicky-really good!
Nice cool bite to eat, when the weather is hot!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mini Meme Time! BB-Q...

I will be in The Taste of Grand Rapids KCBS sanctioned BB-Q cook off in a couple of weeks.. I thought it would be a good question to throw at you! It doesn't matter if you make it yourself, or buy it at a restaurant....
1. What is your favorite BB-Q food?
2. What is your least favorite?
It's hard to have BB-Q that isn't good, but try!
I really like chicken that has been marinated, smoked- usually thighs with skin on, skin crisped and coated with a good finishing sauce towards the end of the cooking time!
I've taken 3rd and 4th place with Beef Brisket in the state, but I don't enjoy it as much as most people seem to..go figure!! I had some at Smokey Bones once, I swore was beef jerky!
Have fun with this, I enjoy your comments on these Mini-Memes!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's Soup! The Easiest Use Of Left Overs....

I eat soup year round! A few nights back, I had left over chicken and rice...Plenty can be done with these ingredients! I chose to make tomato based soup, utilizing chicken and rice into a hearty soup, even though the temperature outside was a bit high. Tomato sauce, Italian spices, some milk, some cheese, and the base was simmered until blended. Adding already cooked ingredients made this a quick, tasty meal! I floated a tomato slice, with croutons and Parmesan cheese on top of soup....quite tomatoey, it was rich! Some like that, and some don't, but I don't make soup from a recipe- and neither do you!
Have a good week-end, everybody!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, And Rice

This is a classic match! Simple, tasty, and easy... even without skin, thighs stay more moist than white meat. Seasoned, then baked while I made the rice, we had a nice meal in a short period of time!
I have plans for the leftover chicken and rice- either Mexican flavors, or Asian..I haven't decided which yet..
I'm still kind of sore from where I fell, so cooking has been a little slower than normal...
I got my confirmation on the KCBS BB-Q entry.. got to start making sauces and rubs soon!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

4th Of July, Fireworks, Pork Ribs, And Deviled Eggs!

Be warned- No photos! In our rush to leave the house, I forgot my camera! I dry rubbed the ribs(minus membrane)and baked the ribs in the oven, in an aluminum pan- covered with aluminum foil at 300F for 3-1/2 hrs. Then I used a home made finishing sauce for another 40 minutes, uncovered..these were falling off the bone tender and full of flavor! None came home!
16 Deviled eggs were also made by me- a natural at a picnic outside....None came home, either!
We had a decent fireworks selection, and shot them from dusk until 11PM...No mistakes were made that night!
My knees were killing me, and from moving from a chair to a picnic bench, I went right on my ass! I had only had one drink, in case you're wondering!
Beautiful day on the lake, but a smaller turn out than years gone by...
Hope you had a good one, too!

Friday, July 02, 2010

One Pork Leftover Meal, And One To Go!

I had cooked pork roast, gravy, and bread..sliced the pork thin, simmered it in the leftover gravy, and put it over toast..It all took about 1/2 hour, and we were eating! Over rice, pasta, noodles, or potatoes works too!
Today I must make BB-Q sauce for can pull double duty as a sauce for chopped pork in a bun! Three meals from one roast is even enough for me...
Yesterday, I picked up my 4th of July nukes..we shoot them over a lake for safety and viewing pleasure! I'm bringing pork baby back ribs and some other dish as well to the party we have before the fireworks..
I hope you all have a great 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pork Pot Roast And Roasted Potatoes With Gravy

I'm sure I've posted this before, but this was dinner last night... A lot of people don't know this, but if you mix brown gravy mix with an equal amount of chicken gravy mix, you come up with a gravy that is excellent on pork! I got this out of an old church cook book, and it works! I sprinkle this on a pork roast, along with garlic, onion powder, and black pepper(of course!) wrap tightly in aluminum foil and bake for 3 hours at 320F..this creates a tender pork roast, and a great gravy for the potatoes you roasted in the same pan for the last two hours. Gravy usually needs thickening, but cold water and corn starch can do the job... This makes a great dish that is simple and tasty! Left overs can be made into burritos or BB-Q sandwiches- or what ever you can imagine! We talk about what to do with the leftovers, while we're eating the original meal... Look at left overs as a challenge, and not a burden!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Home Made Bread..What To Do?

I made a couple of loaves of white bread for Sunday brunch...Frankly, I've made better! The flavor was sweet and good, but the texture was a little crumbly. The plan was to make French toast, but everybody just wanted fresh bread. I have one loaf left, and plan to try and make a bread pudding out of it! I have never made this, but appears to be easy and tasty..
I'll be cooking a pork roast today in the slow cooker. It doesn't heat up the house, and left overs make a good pork BB-Q sandwich. I'll be doing pork ribs for the 4th, so I need to make some sauce anyway! We have been eating lighter the last few days, as warm weather tends to do that to people...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When Nothing Sounds Good..Fix Some Eggs!

We have had a goofy schedule lately...nothing requires less planning than eggs for a meal! I made a rather homely cheese omelet, but tasted great! Today, I found out my wife was working 2nd shift on a Saturday, so I fixed myself something she would never eat- sunny side up eggs! Eggs are cheap, tasty, and are a healthy form of protein. Studies have proven they aren't the heart attack bomb everyone thought they were 10years ago... They are versatile, and can be used in cooking, baking, or stand alone for a meal! Looks like a brunch tomorrow, and I'm sure eggs will be somewhere in or on the menu!
P.S.- Can anyone tell I like Black pepper?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beef Enchilada Bake

I had everything in the house to make this dish, and I know from experience my wife loves the flavors of Tex-Mex food! I seasoned and browned 1lb. of ground beef, using more liquid than normal,, because I will drain the meat and have ready made enchilada sauce to pour on the enchiladas. I used small flour tortillas to wrap the meat, laying them seam side down in the oiled casserole dish- four fit perfectly! I poured the sauce over all, then topped with cheese. I also added some Jalapeno slices, which really kicked up the heat a bit! I baked them uncovered, until cheese was melted, and dinner was served..If it sounds simple- it is! All the classic flavors are there, and even had two left over...
Hopefully today I will pick up some fireworks for the 4th.. I always look forward to that!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuna Salad In Cantaloupe- It's Summer!

I have made this dish and featured it before, but there are some new people that visit since I posted this last. Chicken salad and shrimp salad works well like this also!
My tuna fish salad recipe is simple and straightforward:
1. High quality tuna, either fresh cooked or canned Albacore in water, 12-16 oz.
2. Two hard cooked eggs, peeled and cooled
3. 2 stalks of celery
4. 1 medium onion
Chop all above ingredients into bite sized pieces
5. Add real Mayo (Miracle Whip and low fat mayo both have too much water in them!) to taste.
6. Add mustard, lemon pepper, and dried dill- all to taste.
Mix all above until blended thoroughly.
Cut a medium sized ripe cantaloupe in half, cleaned of all seeds. Fill cavity with tuna salad, and enjoy!
This is a good summer meal, eaten cold. It is filling and refreshing..
My melon could have been riper, but it was still OK..the salad was great!
Last night our area got clobbered with high winds, thunderstorms, and a lot of rain..Tornado warning were out, and the sirens were going for an hour!
Hard to get any sleep with a dog going crazy, and sirens blaring!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Fathers Day- Food And Goodies!

I had a nice day Sunday..My one son in Kansas City sent me a hilarious book with a card, and phoned me later from St. Louis, where he was starting his vacation. My other son stopped by with a banana cream pie, made at a local restaurant who specializes in pies, again with a funny card! Wife got me a box of Sea Foam from the local candy shop( which I love!) and picked up the meal I said I would like to fix for dinner!
Dinner was some high grade tuna steaks, fresh asparagus, rolls, and of course- the pie! Nailed the tuna perfectly- medium rare, seasoned with butter, fresh lemon, black pepper, and dried dill...asparagus was still crisp and delicious after steaming it, and the pie was perfect too! The photo is the "to go" plate we fix our son who works Sundays a mile from the house.
The book was about what his father used to say on all sorts of subjects, and any father should read this for some good laughs!
I had extra tuna, and will be making a tuna salad today out of some pretty pricey fish...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Fathers Day Rant- Or Observations...

I wondered about my dad for I got older, I saw the wisdom (or lack of it!) in his actions! He never hit me, but I got yelled at a lot.. I figured out later he was doing the best he could, with what the good Lord gave him! He was a good bowler, and the day I became a better one, we never said a word. He was proud, and I never rubbed in the fact that I could now beat him. He was a terrible cheat at golf, yet for years I let him be..he was decent enough to take a teach me the game, as best he could. He loved me, and I loved him, no matter what came up between us. He never thought he was good enough, but I did. I was the "bad cop" in the family..the guy who had to tell dad he was dying.. but I also told him he had done a great job raising three productive kids who loved him.. Try to understand your father Sunday- it ain't easy being one all the time, you know..

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chicken Paprika- Simplfied!

I have had chicken a lot of ways, but haven't had this dish in quite a while! When I say "simplified", I mean I cut corners in the traditional recipe and went with the basic flavors that give this dish it's taste. I took two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, salted, peppered, and added onion powder, before dumping sour cream over them. I then sprinkled paprika (a fair amount!) on the sour cream, covered them in a casserole dish and baked them at 300F for quite a while! They came out very flavorful, but as this kind of chicken isn't prone to getting tender, they were still tender enough to eat and enjoy! With a side of left over broccoli casserole, it made a passable meal...
I'm struggling with new ideas as to what to eat lately- I think we all go through this occasionally!
Enjoy your week end, everyone!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Meatless Casserole- but not Cheeseless!

This is a casserole that has been around for more than 50 years..I just kind of updated it! It is a rice, broccoli, cheese concoction that I altered to make it a little more upscale. Normally, it is white rice, frozen broccoli,milk, and Velveeta cheese, baked until cheese melts. I used brown rice, cooked for 45 minutes in chicken broth, then mixed with American cheese, sour cream, a can of cream o mushroom soup, and steamed, chopped fresh broccoli. I then topped it with a layer of Cheddar cheese slices, and baked until top layer of cheese melted in a covered casserole dish that had been buttered before cooking. I sprinkled savory on the casserole before baking (350F for 40 min). Brown rice has a nutty, stand alone flavor and texture we really enjoy!
I have an older Catholic friend, who really didn't like taking the Lord's name in vain, so instead of yelling "Jesus Christ!" he would yell "Cheese and Rice"!
You can use this as a meatless main dish, or a side dish- you can also add chicken, ham, or turkey to the casserole for a one course meal...
Try it, you'll like it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Broiled Shrimp In Jerk Sauce, Chicken, Potatoes, And Gravy

Friday, we just wanted a little snack for supper...used up some shrimp I broiled with a thin jerk sauce, and some lef over potato salad...
Sunday, we were going to make a run to an Indian casino north of town, so Saturday we had our normally large Sunday meal! I have been using too large boneless skinless chicken breasts, and was sick of them! I like dark meat- preferably bone in thighs, with the skin left on! This goes well with roasted potatoes, as the cooking times and temperature for both are virtually identical! Lawrys Seasoned salt, coarse ground black pepper, then coated with olive oil is really all you need. Baked at 330F for 70-75 minutes in an uncovered pan, gives you a simple, yet hardy dish! I made chicken gravy for the potatoes, but a little on the chicken doesn't taste bad either..
Our trip to the casino was slightly lucrative, coming home with more money than we left with!
I did add a photo of a local park for the Picnic Throwdown, which is one post back..
Tonight I have plans to make a rice, broccoli, and cheese casserole we haven't had in ages..
Have a good week everybody!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Picnic Smackdown For June

To me, a picnic is a very portable meal made from tried and true favorites. Michigan is surrounded by fresh water(The Great Lakes) and has thousands of inland lakes and rivers, so usually the picnic setting has something to do with water! We have where I live, the Grand River that flows through Grand Rapids. It has numerous riverside parks, and is the start of The White Pine Trail, a closed railroad track that has been paved or a two track that covers almost 90 miles! Most parks in Michigan prohibit alcohol, so no nice bottle of wine today! The photo is a shot of Versluis Park, a township park by our house.
My picnic fare included deviled eggs, onion wraps, potato salad, fresh strawberries with powdered sugar, shrimp salad sandwiches on croissants, and peanut butter Rice Krispie squares frosted with semi sweet chocolate..
The cooler has taken the place of a picnic basket, paper plates and plastic utensils work for ease of clean up!
Anyone who would like the recipe for anything I made is welcome to ask!
Simple things, done well is my motto...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Bean Dip Deluxe- A Meal By Itself!

A while back, I mentioned I enjoyed hot snacks, and the one I listed was bean dip. My version is loaded with goodies to a point of being enough to eat for a meal- just add tortilla chips! My recipe goes pretty much like this:
1 can refried beans
1/2 of same can water
4-5 oz of chunky salsa (medium heat)
1/2 chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
1/2 lb. of browned ground beef
1 fresh tomato, chopped
2 oz of liquid taco sauce
6-8 oz of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
cumin and chili powder to taste
Simmer all ingredients until smooth and hot. Use as dip with Tortilla chips.
It goes quickly, and if some is left over, can be reheated easily.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

An Upscale Egg McMuffin And Spicy Mac N Cheese

I had some big croissants, left from another project and thought they would work out well for an egg, ham, and cheese sandwich. I scrambled the eggs, used sliced Black Forest ham, and a good Colby cheese...they were tasty and big enough to call supper! I never was much on croissants, but I am changing my mind about that now!
I also made some spicy mac-n-cheese yesterday, chopping some onion and Jalapeno peppers, then adding to the cheese sauce. I baked it for a bit , with extra cheese on top, and sprinkled heavily with black pepper. It had a zip to it, but was still pretty good! Today, I'm making my loaded bean dip....ground beef, refried beans, cut up peppers, onions, tomatoes, hot sauce and shredded cheese. It is so loaded with goodies, it's a meal in itself!
I also made some treats for the new neighbors that moved in Friday- good way to get off on the right foot with them!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Mini-Meme On Snacks!

We all snack! On munchies, on dips and munchies, on hot and cold munchies! The questions today is what is your favorite munchie? What is your least favorite munchie, served at buffets, parties, and eateries?
1. I love munchies in general, but I like something that is hot, and tasty.. like bean dip! My bean dip has meat, peppers, onions, cheese, and refried beans galore! Hot sauce is a given! Fresh taco chips, or Tortilla chips needed for dipping!
2. Gagamole..I didn't misspell it it- it gags me! How an over rated high cal, high fat dip with the flavor of green mush got popular is beyond me!
Agree or disagree, let's hear your answer as to what you like or dislike in a munchie!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Anniversary And Quick Meals

Today, my wife and I celebrate 37 years of marriage. Hard to believe it has been that long, but the numbers don't lie! If you have been married any length of time, you learn it is a journey of evolving... You will not be the same person you were when you got married! You learn to not sweat the small stuff. You learn forgiving. You learn there are certain traits in the other person that probably will never change, so accept them. This ends today's sermon, the collection plate will come next!
We had a Black Forest ham and baby Swiss toasted sandwich Monday- neither of us too hungry! The photo of the Klondike bar is a funny story- wife bought them and ate two- probably would have eaten all six without telling me she bought them!
Tuesday, it was a version of a pattie melt..I like to add blue cheese and some hot sauce to mine! I also gave her a box of candy from a great local candy maker, Sweetlands- which we got into promptly!
I can't post the food we're going to have today, as it will be in a later post!
Thunderstorms again last night, and cable TV is out for who knows how long...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Steak And Potato Soup

A couple of nights ago, we had steaks. My wife and I split one, so I had one left, and I knew exactly what to do with it! Steak and Potato Soup! My version goes like this:
1. One can of cream of mushroom soup
2. One can of water, same size
3. One NY strip steak, cooked, cut into chunks
4. One cup of chopped onion
5. Three small Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
6. Two ears of fresh corn, stripped off cob
7. Black pepper to taste
8. A little brown gravy mix(shake with cold water before adding)
Simmer all above until potatoes are tender but still firm
It was pretty tasty, for a quick, throw together soup..

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Truck Driver Special And Steak With Hash Browns

The Truck Driver Special... every Diner, Drive-in, and Dive has a version of this, and there are many! Some kind of pork or beef, sliced thin, in an appropriate gravy, over mashed potatoes or noodles, or rice, or toast!
Thursday night, I used sliced pork, gravy, and's a filling, satisfying meal that takes little thought or prep time! I peppered it pretty heavily, but wife loved it!
Last night, a couple of broiled steaks with hash browns made a good meal too.. Montreal Steak Seasoning is getting to be my "go to" seasoning for a simple steak broiled! Crispy hash browns are a perfect match to this- none left over! I do have some steak left and am thinking a steak and potato soup tonight- but who knows!
Enjoy your Memorial Week-end, but think of the fallen who preserved our freedoms, and be grateful...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Macaroni Salad- Made The Way A Guy Does It!

I like pasta salad. I have been to many potlucks, buffets, and family gatherings where money seemed to be the object of this dish-cheap! I saw potential in how good this so-called side dish could be a meal within itself! Overkill is my middle name! When I make a pasta salad, you will not go home saying something was missing!
1. Any pasta,cooked El Dente- you pick!
2. Slices of black olives, sliced green olives, chopped onions, red bell pepper, chopped celery, chopped cooked chicken, 1 hard cooked egg sliced, chopped Colby cheese, chopped Swiss cheese..
3. Mix with Mayo, a small amount of mustard, and Ranch dressing. Season to taste- mainly black ground pepper..
4. Chill and serve..this ain't rocket science, but it is darn good! Bring it to your next gathering, and you will bring an empty bowl home!
Terrible photo- sorry! We also had a bit of sweet corn- not bad!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chinese Take-Out Can Be A Good Decision!

Some days I just don't feel like cooking! Tuesday was one of them...A little while back I had asked my commenters what their favorite Asian meal was. A number of people answered General Tso Chicken..Chinese take out sounded good, and I had never tried the Generals chicken- so last night we did! My wife and I split an order of it, and both had an egg roll on the side. The chicken tasted like deep fried chicken, in bite sized pieces, heavy with some kind of BB-Q sauce. It wasn't bad, but I don't feel I got the best version of this dish...It's a good restaurant, and have never had a complaint against them, so maybe I got what I asked for! I'm going to do a little research on it, and find out...
Today, I'll be making a small batch of macaroni salad- any pasta will do, but what I have in the pantry is macaroni! I make it like a guy would- so loaded with other ingredients you have to look for the pasta!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mini-Meme On Pizza!

It cracks me up, the shows that pit Chicago style pizza against New York Style pizza! I have taken a class in pizza making, and it is no longer an Italian dish- It's American as hot dogs and apple pie! The questions today are easy, and you get to contribute your Opinion- which is valued here!
1. Thick crust or thin? Which do you prefer?
2. Your favorite toppings, however strange they may be!
Me first!
1. In the middle of both! Sounds like a politicians answer, but it's true.. Not too thick, as I find it doughy, and not too thin, as it can be tough...
2. A spicy red sauce, Pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, with Parmesan, Romano ( both grated) Mozzarella, and Provolone cheese, shredded.. I'll eat other stuff on it, but this is my favorite!
Jump in and play with the other kids in the sandbox- and tell us what you like!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Quick Food Tour Of The Caribbean- A Smackdown

I'm participating in BamaTrav's Caribbean Smackdown- I hope you like the dishes I chose! Each food or beverage is from a different country in the Caribbean...
Medianoche, or Cuban Midnight Sandwich! This is a traditional Cuban sandwich, also easily found in Miami- for obvious reasons!
I took a 1/2 center cut pork loin, marinated it for 12 hrs in orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, crushed garlic, black pepper, olive oil, and bit of jerk sauce and rum. Roasted until done, it set for awhile then was sliced thinly for the sandwich. Mustard is the usual spread for this, applied to both interior pieces of bun. Dill pickles are next, then the pork, and thinly sliced ham and Swiss cheese. Butter the outside of the roll, and put in a sandwich press (I use a Cuisinart Griddler!) and grill until cheese starts to melt. They went over big with my guests!
Caribbean Corn Pie! This casserole type dish went over big, too! Regular corn, cream corn, coconut milk, 5 eggs, a bit of corn muffin mix, and spices. Baked at 300F for nearly as long as the pork, it can be eaten hot or cold- but hot is better!
Key Lime Cake. This is a simple cake in as much as it is made from a box mix, flavored and colored by you. Limes are naturally the flavoring. Makes for a nice light dessert, with a citrus touch!
Red Stripe Beer! The beer drinkers in the group were glad to see I offered something other than a fruity drink as an alternative!
Pina Coladas!(Not shown) Generally accepted as where this drink was invented, I made a blender full for the ladies in the group..Simple drink, really...
So there is my food tour of the Caribbean- Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tommorow Is The Bama Caribbean Smack-down, And I Am Ready!

Check in tomorrow and see my tour of the Caribbean cuisine! I hit more than one island, so it could be interesting! Having a total of six people here tonight, so I hope they like it too!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grilled Cheese And Tomato Soup...Not Your Mother's Recipe!

Even a simple meal doesn't have to be THAT simple... A classic pairing in America is tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich! Well! We just can't leave it at that- let's see how we can put an evening gown on a jeans and sweater kind of dish!
The sandwich is easy..we all grew up eating American cheese slices(we fondly call it "Nerd" cheese!). It is actually classified as cheese food- not really cheese at all- but this comes from a nation who invented orange colored marshmallow peanuts that have the half life of Radium.. Change the bread from white, hydrogenated air bread, to a whole or cracked grain bread with substance. Then use real cheese, one that melts readily and tastes great too- Havarti! Real butter on the outside of the sandwich getting grilled, and you are there!
The soup is a little fancier... One can of your everyday condensed tomato soup, made with one can of milk, not water. Add chopped fresh tomatoes, fresh corn off the cob and a bit of chopped fresh onion. Add sour cream to it, and a hefty dose of dried basil, black pepper, and a bit of salt. Simmer until onions are getting tender..add croutons if you are of a mind! It's creamy, rich, and tastes great along side a real grilled cheese sandwich!
Simple things done well...learn it, live it!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm The Guy Who Makes Stone Soup..

Perhaps you remember the old parable of the Russian soldier who came to town one day, starving.. to shorten the story, he kept getting the villagers to add to his stone soup..nothing but a rock and water- until there was enough ingredients to actually have a soup they could all share and enjoy... I love this story, for many shows what can be made from little, if we all work together!
I make a lot of "stone soups"...something from nothing- which is what a lot of folks consider leftovers! A jar of Alfredo sauce, a splash of Champagne vinegar, Parmesan and Romano grated, a can of mushrooms, some cherry tomatoes sliced, left over chicken breasts sliced and diced..over fettuccine..stone soup pasta! Don't turn your nose up at leftovers..might be the best meal you ever had!
I love this kind of challenge..I wish the Food Channel had one for guys and gals like us!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chicken Chef Salad, Artisan Bread, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!

It's Friday Night, and wife is craving a Chef's Salad..done deal! My touch was a loaf of excellent bread- followed by some killer peanut butter chocolate chip cookies...
The salad included Lettuce, with bacon, a sliced chicken,tomatoes, cheddar cheese, celery, carrots, hard cooked eggs, green onions, croutons, and dressing of choice- mine being blue cheese so thick you could walk on, and Ranch for wife..
The bread was a heat and serve designer loaf- which was excellent! Later, I found ambition enough to make cookies, which by the look of the keyboard this morning got eaten some more before I got up! They were crunchy rather than chewy- which we tend to prefer in a peanut butter cookie! What a nice Friday night supper! I hope your week end is great..enjoy life!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mini- PIzzas And Asparagus Bundles

When our children were younger, like most kids they could be picky. Pizza was a problem! One wanted this on his, the other wanted that... The simple answer was to make them each the pizza they would enjoy... We found a half an English Muffin was a perfect crust for a kid sized pizza! Last night that is what my wife and I had for supper...English muffin crust, home made pizza sauce, grated Parmesan cheese, shredded Mozzarella cheese, with Pepperoni slices.
It went along with some steamed fresh asparagus with bacon- the real star of the show! I tied them in bundles of three with bacon, and cut the string when done broiling with the pizzas. Simple, yet good!
Tonight will be a chicken chef salad, and possibly peanut butter chocolate chip cookies..we'll see..
Enjoy your week-ends, everyone!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Simple Meal...Good Ingredients= Good Results

Simple doesn't mean tasteless or bad- remember that! I am, as most of you know, the Leftover Wizard! I swear I have more fun making something different from a left over meal! I did a pork roast a few days ago, with quite a bit left...simmered in a home made BB-Q sauce, after being chopped up- made a wonderful BB-Q pork sandwich! Ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, onion and garlic powder, a bit of soy, molasses, and brown sugar- you got sauce!
Last night, a couple of boneless, skinless chix breasts, in olive oil and the dry poultry seasoning shown, roasted low and slow, with a Tiger sauce coating- made for a decent tasting chicken with corn on the cob meal! The corn was fresh and good- still being shipped in from down south- Michigan won't see home grown for a few months yet..
I can't stress enough that you don't have to spend a fortune to eat well..time and knowledge of simple dishes will elevate your meals to a level of enjoyment, rather than just edible.. "Simple things done well" is my cooking credo, and I'm still learning!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day...The Rest Of The Story..

My wife enjoyed her time with her sons (one on the phone, who sent flowers, and one who lives close coming over with candy and card!)..she liked the brunch, and now could relax! She wakes up from an afternoon nap and goes and mows the lawn! I offer to make her favorite sandwich spread, tuna salad! We use Albacore tuna in water, mixed with hard cooked eggs, mayo, mustard, celery chunks, and onion chopped..I add a little lemon pepper, because there is salt, black pepper, and lemon in it- works great! She snoozed again, and woke up to a nice sandwich! The other plate is a favorite snack around here that has been featured before- a pig in the blanket- using sausage with a mayo- hot sauce dip! Tasty and it keeps for later, if you wish! Tonight is BB-Q pork sandwiches- simple, but good!
I have been planning my assault on the Smack-down Challenge from Bama-Trav, and I think I have have a dark horse chance of winning!
Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day Brunch 2010

As I mentioned in my comments on the previous post, there was nothing to take a photo of yesterday! It rained all the way there, with wind gusts that kept both hands on the wheel! The Casino was fairly busy, but had added a non-smoking room separate from the rest of the casino floor..kind of nice for the non smokers!
Today, I fixed my wife and youngest son a brunch, as he had to work this afternoon.. We had bacon, scrambled eggs, English muffins, with orange juice.. Our son in K.C. sent mom flowers, and the youngest brought her candy. A good breakfast, a phone call from Kansas City, and a visit from the youngest son, all made for a nice day for their Mom.. That and I let her keep the money she had from yesterday!
Hope your Mother's Day is a good one!