Monday, September 30, 2013

Baked Steak, Scalloped Potatoes and Corn

Sept 29 2013

My wife is finally home after three days in the hospital for both knee replacements and two weeks in rehab therapy. She is doing well for being 70! The first day we were both tired from moving her back home so we got carry ins. I asked her what she wanted for our first meal and I said I had baked steak in mind. She said that’s what I had in mind, after 47 years together sometimes we are on the same wave length!

Saturday I had to mow the grass then we had company in the afternoon. I was tired again so we had carry ins. I would fix the steak Sunday. I am finding doing her usual work too; the dishes, the wash and the cleaning keeps me busy all the time!

Baked steak was one of my Mother’s great meals and she had cheesy scalloped potatoes and scalloped corn as sides most of the time. She usually used sirloin, browned it then baked covered with Campbell’s mushroom soup. You can make your own gravy but as a step saver I have been using a jar of Heinz’s savory beef gravy.

I don’t have a set recipe but just eyeball most of the ingredients. I bake all at 350 deg. The potatoes I bake covered for 1 ½ hours and remove the cover the last 20 to 25 minutes. As soon as I get the potatoes in I brown the steak, add the gravy and bake for 1 hour covered and remove the cover the last 20 minutes. The corn goes in for 45 minutes.

For the potatoes I peel about 2 pounds and slice about 3/16 inch thick. In a bowl add 1 can of Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup, 1/3 to ½ cup of half and half cream or milk and a handful of shredded sharp cheddar. Mix well and pour into a greased baking dish, bake covered. Add more shredded cheese after removing the cover.

I like to use sirloin but I had four pieces of round steak frozen I used. When I use round steak I add a little Adolf’s tenderizer, a little salt and pepper. Dredge in flour then pound with a meat mallet a little on each side. I don’t overdo it but I like that it gets some of the flour in the meat. Brown in a skillet with a little olive oil remove the meat, pour off the excess grease and deglaze with a little water. Add the meat back in and cover with the gravy. Bake covered for one hour; remove the cover the last 20 minutes.

My basic scalloped corn recipe is 1 14 oz. can of whole kernel corn and 1 can of creamed corn, a half cup of milk, 1 or 2 eggs, a cup of saltine cracker crumbs and a teaspoon of sugar. Mix all together and pour in a greased baking dish. Cut 2 to 4 butter pats in half and push down in the corn mix. Bake at 350 deg. for 45 minutes.  With one egg it will be runnier and with two it will set up more.

For my corn this time I had a pound of frozen fresh sweet corn to use, I added an 8 oz. can of creamed corn, a 1/3 cup of half and half, 2 eggs beaten, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, a cup of saltine cracker crumbs and a teaspoon of sugar.

Start preparing your potatoes 2 hours before you want to eat and this meal will be ready in just 2 hours.

I had baked a loaf of Pillsbury crusty French bread to serve with the meal. My wife enjoyed her first home cooked meal she had in a while. The steak was not fork tender but easily cut with a kitchen knife and all tasted good.

Before I finished I went back and added some bread and gravy to my dish, I love gravy bread!

Potatoes ready to bake

Steak seasoned

Steak ready to brown

Steak browned

Steaks done

Potatoes done

Corns done

My supper

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Quick Good Chili

I was hungry for some chili and had some smoked tomatoes to use in it. I had some Jacobs Cattleman’s beans I wanted to try. I forgot to soak them overnight so after visiting my wife I stopped and bought some canned beans to use. I took her some of the chicken breast and rice I had for supper last night. I, and my wife, was pretty happy we think she gets to come home Friday. She had double knee replacement Sept. 9th.

Thursday morning I take her to get her staples out.  After lunch her therapist is coming down to see how she does getting in and out of the house with her walker. If she does OK she can come home Friday. After she gets home I will have to take her 2 or 3 times a week for more therapy for a while.

When I got home I got my chili on, put it on simmer and covered with parchment paper while I went to see my wife in the evening.  They had given her the OK to get up and walk by herself without a nurse there so she got up for a short walk while I was there.

After the visit I added the beans to my chili and turned up the heat some. I then sat out with a beer to celebrate and relax a little. I added the smoked paprika before serving.

I had some shredded cheddar, sour cream and some dried chives to garnish. I had some buttered saltines with it and a Yuengling black and tan. The chili hit the spot! I thought the chili recipe was worth saving so I wrote it up.

Printable Chili Recipe


Smoked Tomatoes

My Supper

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mititei, Romanian Garlicky Sausages

Sept 21 2013

Lately I found a new food and recipe site,, viewers and a lot of good chefs post recipes there. I found this Romanian recipe for a sausage made without stuffing into casings that sounded good. I liked the seasonings and a little different was it called for sparkling water and baking soda!

I was going to get some carry outs for supper tonight but decided to take the time to have these sausages. I enjoy home cooking better than anything else I can get. I bought some cheese rolls that are like hoagie buns for my sandwich. I have done a lot of sandwiches lately but there is a reason; a lot less dishes to do up! I will be glad when my dishwasher gets back to normal!

I mixed up the sausages and formed them after a visit to my wife and lunch. It said sparkling water but I didn’t buy any so was going to use plain water. Then I thought about the Ice my wife had bought. I checked it and it was sparkling water and I chose the black raspberry. I was not sure it would work but raspberries are used in a lot of meat sauces and glazes so I tried it. It worked and can’t really say I could taste it. My sausages would have about 4 hours in the fridge.

After my evening visit to see my wife I heated my Traeger to 300 deg., 325 deg. at grill level.  I have done hamburgers on the grill grates at that temp with good luck. I had some Ore Ida olive oil and sea salt potato wedges I put on 10 minutes after the sausages. I did the sausages for 20 minutes; flipped and another 15 minutes. I put my bun on for 2 minutes to heat up. After I put the sausages on I caramelized onions for my sandwich.

I served my sandwich with mustard and the onions, the potatoes and a small tomato on the side. I loved the sausages and will do them again. I can see more sausage flavors done this way. Those of you who like to grind your own meat and stuff the sausages you might want to try this recipe.

Ready to mix

Ready for the fridge

Caramelized onions

About done

My Supper

Saturday, September 21, 2013

More Hummer photos

Sept 21 2013

I have not set out to watch and take hummingbird photos this summer as much as I have in the past. Late August and September are best for getting photos anyway since they start their migration south and I always get more in here fighting over the feeders. I still had two in here yesterday, Sept. 20th and I believe that was the date I last saw any last year.I am ready for them to go; getting tired of keeping fresh sugar water out for them!

I have been busy visiting my wife in rehab after she had both knees replaced. She is doing well and hope to have her back home by next Thursday. I did have time to set out the other day and got some nice shots so I am sharing them with you. They are amazing little birds; weigh less than an ounce, can hover and fly any direction, fly a steady 35 mph and can reach 50 mph burst speed.

The Ruby Throated Hummingbirds we get east of the Mississippi River migrate here every summer from South America and go back in the fall. They make a 500 mile trip across the Gulf of Mexico but more and more they are following the coast into Texas and North.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pork Cutlet Sandwich and Potato Cakes

Sept 19 2013

Last night I did pork cutlets and leftover mashed potatoes I made potato cakes with. I just seasoned one cutlet and dredged in flour. The other one I breaded with egg and a mix of flour, a few cracker crumbs and some corn meal.  The potato cakes I crusted with some Panko bread crumbs.

I wanted to see how the cutlets and potato cakes would do in my Treager with grill grates. I started at 300 deg. and checked after 15 minutes, the one cutlet with flour was browning some but the other and the potato cakes were not. I went to 350 deg. and another 7 minutes then flipped and went about 20 minutes.

I had a sandwich with the breaded cutlet, pickles and mustard. My salad was some marinated tomatoes and onions. It tasted pretty good.

Next time I will start at 350 deg. and the potato cakes I think would be better done in a skillet with oil.

Floured cutlet and mix for breading

Potato cakes

Ready for the smoker

About done

My Supper

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday and Tuesday Supper with Leftover Meatloaf

Sept 15 2013

Monday I used some of the meatloaf for a sandwich. I toasted a cheese roll and had a slice of the meatloaf, topped with some of the balsamic vinegar onions and some fresh mozzarella cheese. I melted the cheese under the broiler. That was a tasty sandwich!

Sept 16 2013

It was a busy day today, a trip to Walmart to get some mashed potatoes and new handle grips for the grandson’s bicycle. Then it was shave and shower then off to see my wife at lunch time. I then had a little nap, and put new sugar water out for my hummers, and back to see the wife at supper time.

I left at 5:00 and had time to set out back awhile before fixing supper. I have had 3 young hummers that are hanging on before they head south. The evening sun was good so I got my camera out and shot over 70 shots of the humming birds. I saved about 25 of those and will probably end up with 4 or 5 keepers. I will post as soon as I have time.

This is my third meal with the meatloaf. I nuked some Bob Evens mashed potatoes, boiled some thin sliced carrots in a little water until gone then added a couple pats of butter and sautéed, made some brown gravy with Pioneer brand brown gravy mix, toasted a cheese roll, heated up a slice of meatloaf and served it up.

It tasted great! It didn’t seem like I ate meatloaf 3 days in a row but had 3 tasty meals that were better than I could get at a restaurant, and two of the meals were quick and easy!

The daughter in law and grandson stopped in, she put his new handle grips on. Their dog and mine had a good time playing. They went home and I was tired so went to bed without doing the dishes. I miss my dishwasher; she never went to bed with dirty dishes setting around! She is doing well and will be back to walking normal soon! I won’t tell her I let the dishes set!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Midwest Meatloaf and Balsamic Onion Stack

Sept 14 2013

I have not posted much lately since my wife had both knees replaced and I am busy visiting her in rehab twice a day. She had the operation Monday Sept. 9th. Thursday I took her to a local rest home for about two weeks of therapy. She is doing well and walks pretty good with a walker.

After eating out some and eating leftovers I was getting hungry for a good meal. I decided to make a meatloaf and I could eat leftovers several days.

I found a recipe for Midwest meatloaf that sounded good and I would have left overs for several days of eating.  I also found a recipe for balsamic onion stacks I adapted for a smoker and since they are done in a muffin pan I would have some sweet potato stacks too.  I have done regular sweet potatoes before but had some white yams to use this time. Since it would be just me I did one onion stack and two sweet potato stacks.

I did the meatloaf in the morning then went to visit the wife. I had a little over two hours to relax some before going back to see my wife before supper.

When I got home I had my first beer for the day AHH! I sliced the white sweet potatoes thin on a mandolin and coated them with some half and half cream. I layered some in the muffin pan topped with a slice of Swiss cheese some bacon bits and salt & pepper, then repeated the layer. I covered the muffin pan with foil and smoked at 300 deg. for 25 minutes then uncovered and grilled my onions and added the stack to the muffin pan and cooked about 15 minutes longer; added a slice of mozzarella to the onion stack and did 5 more minutes.

I turned the smoker down to smoke mode while I heated a couple slices of meatloaf and toasted a cheese roll and topped it with some gorgonzola garlic chive butter.

It all hit the spot, meatloaf was good, and the onion stack is to die for! The white sweet potatoes are a little more dry than the orange so next time I would add more half & half cream.

Making the potato stacks

Ingredients for onion stacks

Grilling the onions

All in the smoker

Sliced stacks

My Supper

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Traeger Panini Sandwich

Sept 07 2013

I thought about making Cuban pork for sandwiches earlier in the week but then thought I didn’t want a lot of leftovers. Monday my wife goes in for both knee replacements and will be in rehab for two weeks.
I am going to try to use up some leftovers from the freezer while she is gone.

I was still hungry for a Cuban sandwich and we had some leftover mac & cheese that would go good with it. I went to Krogers this am and got the stuff for some pressed sandwiches. I got focaccia bread, some sliced herb garlic chicken, black forest ham and some Swiss cheese. Not a true Cuban sandwich but close.

I had the perfect Panini press for use in my Traeger, grill grates and a 9 inch cast iron skillet. I made up some of Wing Commanders Dr. Burger sauce for mine and the wife just wanted regular mustard and a little mayo.

I cut the bread and some Dr. Burger sauce on mine, mustard and mayo on my wife’s, two slices of chicken, Swiss cheese, two slices of black forest ham and some dill pickle slices. The meat was doubled so like 4 slices of each.

I had the Traeger preheated to 300 deg. I spayed the bread with a little olive oil and on the grill grates topped with the skillet about 5 minutes per side.

Tasted great with the mac & cheese, I love the focaccia bread for sandwiches and the Dr. Burger sauce was delicious.

I am taking Mama out for a big brunch at Bob Evans tomorrow; she has to have a light supper and then nothing more before her operations.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Skillet Fried Chicken and Mac & Cheese

Sept 06 2013

Ever since I cleaned and re seasoned my Lodge 12 inch cast iron skillet I have wanted to fry chicken outdoors on my gas burner. I have had the gas burner a long time but never fried chicken on it.

I wanted to do a good meal for my wife since Monday she will be getting two new knees. We both love fried chicken so I would fix it for her. I just happened to see one of Tricia Yearwood’s shows and she did fried chicken and some Crockpot Mac & Cheese. I printed out her recipes and followed them.

I got my chicken cut up and in brine early this morning. It would be in the brine about 5 hours and then air dry in the fridge about two hours. After lunch I did some cornbread muffins on my Traeger that came out real nice. I used my favorite mix, Miracle Maize sweet style.

I got the mac & cheese mixed and in the Crockpot for a 3 ½ hour cook on low.

I got my skillet on the burner with a good ½ inch of vegetable oil and a couple pats of butter at 5:00 PM and figured on eating at 6:00. It was coming up to temp slow so I figured I had time to get all the chicken dredged in flour and ready to fry. When I went out the oil was too hot; just over 400 deg. When I finally got it cooled down to 380 deg. I put the chicken in. The recipe said 375 deg. and 15 minutes on a side.

I had partially covered it with the lid but ended up taking it off. The temp was a little harder to keep controlled than I had thought. I removed the chicken to a wire rack and drained while I served the wife and me. We had some sliced red beets for a side.

It tasted good, moist and crispy skin even though I had some a little burnt. I think I can do better the next time. The mac & cheese was good and easy enough I will be using her recipe again.

Muffins in the smoker

Cooling & my favorite mix

Ready to flour

Ready to fry

In the skillet

Mac & Cheese


My Supper