Monday, December 28, 2015

Family Christmas Dinner 2015

Dec 27 2015

My wife and I was not much in the Holiday spirit this year; my daughter from a first marriage is lying in the hospital after a bad stroke. She was a member of our family too. Having our daughter home now and the son and family close by helped.

Our daughter in law received a 7 pound Honey Baked spiral cut ham for Christmas from the hospital where she works and said I could fix it for our Christmas dinner. I would rather have a ham from my butcher but this was free and turned out pretty good.

My wife had made almond cookies, chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars. She also baked a Marie Calendar’s berry pie for desserts.

I had some nice shrimp for cocktail along with 3 dipping sauces. The son and family came down about 2:00 PM and we had the shrimp cocktail and munched on goodies. I had the ham double wrapped in foil along with a 1/3 cup of hard cider beer heating up on my Traeger. I had baked a take & bake garlic loaf for bread and butter. I also ordered an 8 piece broasted chicken from Sandman’s carry out to have.

My sides were a green bean casserole and skillet corn from summer corn I had frozen. Our daughter in law brought a Crockpot with hash brown cheesy potatoes.

I didn’t think it was my best Christmas dinner but all tasted pretty good. We all got full and I think we will be eating leftover ham for a while!  Later we had desserts and s few Christmas drinks. My wife had Kahlua and cream. The son and I had a couple of white Russians; Tito’s vodka, Kahlua and cream.


Shrimp and some appetizers

Skillet corn

Green bean casserole

Crockpot cheesy hashbrowns

The ham

My dinner (supper)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day Dinner 2015

Dec 25 2015

I hope all who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful day!

One Christmas meal down for us and two to go. Our son and family came down and brought breakfast, a layered Crockpot of hash browns, sausage, eggs and cheese. It was pretty tasty! My wife had some cinnamon rolls to go with it. Then they were off to have Christmas dinner at her folks in Toledo.

There were just the wife, daughter and me for dinner (supper to me), so I fixed one of our favorites and also pretty easy to make, New Orleans BBQ shrimp. I had a nice take home and bake garlic loaf to bake; it would be good dipped in the butter the shrimp are cooked in.

We love French fries but I don’t like to deep fry in the house and don’t like wasting oil so I do oven baked. I have been using Ore Ida frozen fast food fries; not as good as the deep fried but not too bad.
I found a good recipe for beer brined oven fries a by Jackie on her Beeroness blog. She has a lot of recipes using craft beers.

 For the fries simply cut potatoes in ½ strips and soak in a bottle of lager beer with a tablespoon of coarse salt. Add water to cover if needed. Place in the fridge for 3 to 6 hours then rinse well and dry with paper towels. Spray or coat with olive oil and season. I used Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle. Spread fries on an oiled sheet pan in a single layer. Bake at 425 deg. for 20 minutes, stir to turn and bake another 10 to 15 minutes.  These are so good it will be my go to recipe for oven fries.

I had some frozen jumbo wild caught Key West Pink shrimp and they were good. My wife dipped a piece of bread and said it was too hot for her. I got too much of the hot sauce in for her. To me they were just mild hot. To save time dipping by the piece I just dip the whole slice of bread. That is some good eating!

Click Here for link to potato recipe
Click Here for shrimp recipe

For the shrimp

My bread

Soaking the fries

Ready for the oven

The shrimp

Shrimp and fries

My plate

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tri Tip w/Chimichurri and Baked Potato

Dec 17 2015

Our daughter moved back to Ohio from the Chicago area. She is living with us until she gets work and finds a place of her own. She teaches Spanish and got a temp job right away replacing a teacher while on maternity leave. Having our daughter back home and being 73 is different for the wife and me.

Last night we had the grandson after school since his Mom was having a Christmas party for her department at the hospital. He is no bother and we enjoy having him. Just 11 yrs. old and he is better at multitasking on the computer than I am!

My supper was a tri tip roast I had thawed out, baked potatoes, a salad and some garlic knot rolls. I made some chimichurri sauce for on the beef. I had planned to do the tri tip on my Traeger to 130 deg. IT and then searing on the gas grill or inside. This was the third tri tip I have done and this one was a lot thinner than the other two.

I made the chimichurri sauce early. One bunch of parsley, 4 garlic cloves, a teaspoon oregano, salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes two tablespoons red wine vinegar and a cup of extra light olive oil. I pureed all but the oil in a food processor then mixed in the olive oil.

I trimmed the fat cap off of the tri tip and seasoned it with some Weber’s Chicago steak seasoning on the light side. I had the potatoes in the oven and got the tri tip on my Traeger that was heated to 200 deg. After a half hour I went to 260 deg. grill level and inserted a temperature probe. An hour in it was coming up too fast and was getting a nice color so I decided to skip the searing. I took it to 140 deg. IT and then took inside; tented with foil while I served the baked potatoes.

I had butter and sour cream for the potatoes and we all had our choice of dressing on the salad and some croutons. We all enjoyed the meal. I didn’t think the tri tip was quite as tender as the other two I did. With it being less than two inches thick I think it would have been better done over charcoal or on the gas grill. It was only 34 deg. out so using the gas grill was out for me!

For the Chimichurri sauce

Seasoned and ready to smoke

One hour in at 120 deg. IT

Sliced after a 5 minute rest

My salad

My supper

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IPA Brined Pickles and Carrots

Dec 02 2015

For our Thanksgiving family dinner I took all out to eat at J Maries; a new restaurant in Wapakoneta, Ohio. They do all their cooking in two brick wood fired ovens and the food was good. For an appetizer we tried some of their IPA brined pickles. I thought they were good.

I searched the net and found a recipe for them. I found about the same recipe several places. One site was and they have a lot of recipes using beer. The recipe was for doing cucumbers and sweet peppers but I did cucumbers and carrots.

I bought an English cucumber and some organic carrots. I only bought one cucumber and should have got two but I made do and added some sweet onions to help pack.  I smashed 4 cloves of garlic and placed in the bottom of the jar, a slice of onion, and then packed in the cucumber that I cut in wedges and 3 stems of fresh dill. I filled the void with some more sweet onion. The brine was a bottle of Founders IPA, ¾ cup apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt. After adding the brine to the pickles I added a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Some of the carrots were small enough I left them whole with some of the top on; the larger ones I cut into sticks. I washed them good and cut to length to fit the quart jar and leave room on top for the brine to cover. I added 4 stems of fresh dill; poured the brine over and added about a teaspoon of coriander seeds.

The pickles I did in a Fido jar and the carrots I used a quart Mason jar. I let them set at room temperature about 3 hours and then in the fridge. Today they had been in for two days.

I had a ham and Swiss cheese on rye for lunch today and tried some of the pickles. They were plenty sour and good. I will try the carrots for supper tonight but they may need to set longer.

Click Here for printable recipe


Filling the jar of pickles

Brine and some crushed red pepper added

The pickles and carrots

Friday, November 27, 2015

My Thanksgiving Dinner 2015

Nov 26 2015

Our son and family went to the other grandparents this year to celebrate. I was not going to cook but the daughter is here so I decided to do a turkey breast. I bought a 5 lb. fresh Honeysuckle White breast and I deboned it, injected some Creole butter, a little Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle and made a roll of it. I added a little more Penzey’s to the top; wrapped in plastic wrap and it went in the fridge overnight.

I got up early and baked a loaf of maple hard cider bread and did a peach dump cake for dessert. It was an overcast day but a nice 60 deg. so it was nice to be out cooking. I figured my turkey roll would take about 2 ½ hours on the Traeger; an hour on smoke about 200 deg. and then an hour and half at 285 deg. grill level to get to 155 deg. IT. It would be there about 4:30 and then I could take it inside and place in a Crockpot while I fixed my sides.

I did the turkey roll seam side up so I wouldn’t lose all the good Creole butter. I basted it with some of the butter at 1 ½ hours and at two hours.

It worked out just right and I got my cheesy baked potatoes in the oven at 4:30 and placed the turkey roll in the Crockpot to finish to 165 deg. IT. For the potatoes I trimmed about 6 med. russet potatoes and sliced a little less than ¼ inch, added a can of Campbell’s cheddar cheese soup, mixed well and then in a covered casserole dish. I added 1/3 cup of half and half cream and topped with plenty of shredded sharp cheddar. I baked them 1 hour with the lid on at 350 deg. and removed the lid the last half hour.

I did some green beans; a can each of cut green beans and French style green beans, added a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and a cup of French fried onions, mixed well and poured into a casserole dish. I topped them with another cup of French fried onions and baked for 45 minutes uncovered.

I let the turkey set of 5 minutes then untied and sliced and everyone helped themselves at the stove and counter. We all thought it was pretty good. The skin was not great but the turkey was moist and had good flavor. I could have browned it up under the broiler but I wanted this to be a no fuss Thanksgiving dinner!

I am taking the family out Saturday evening for our family get together; easier than trying to cook!

Maple hard cider bread

The turkey breast

Deboned, injected and seasoned

All tied

About to 155 deg. IT

Ready to slice

Sliced up

Cheesy potatoes

Green beans

My dinner

Our dessert

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Some Chili Wendy's Style

Nov 24 2015

Our daughter is coming home for Thanksgiving so I made a batch of chili to have on hand and our supper tonight. Last week I got a bowl of chili from Wendy’s but it was not their usual; instead of being thin and soupy it was thick and had more beans than meat. I found this recipe for a copy of their chili; with a few minor changes it turned out good. It also reminded me of the way my Mom used to make it. I would say her chili was just browned ground beef, onions, a quart of home canned tomatoes, chili powder and water.

If you use ground beef for your chili and like it thin instead of thick this is a pretty good recipe. It’s not hot at all so if you like heat; add some hot peppers and or hot sauce. For me it is very close to what I was used to getting from Wendy’s.

For my supper tonight I had a bowl topped with some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream. I had some buttered saltines on the side and some good Ballantine’s IPA to wash it down.

Click Here for printable recipe


Browning the beef

Ready to serve

My supper

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Chicken Sausage and Onion Soup

Nov 23 2015

I had some chicken sausage made with Asiago cheese and spinach I get at Sam’s club. I would rather have some good fresh pork sausage or brats from my butcher but the wife likes these so I fix her some at times. I had some mini naan bread that would be perfect buns to use.

My onion soup is just simple caramelized onions, some good beef stock, bread and cheese to melt on top. I have tried different recipes, some with sherry or wine but we just like it simple.

I got the sausages on my Traeger at 200 deg. to smoke for an hour. Then I cut up 5 med. sweet onions and got them on to caramelize in some butter, I add a pinch of salt and sugar to them. It took about 20 minutes to get them where I wanted. I melted 3 Tbs. of butter in a sauce pan and then 3 Tbs. of flour, stirred to make a blond roux and added in a quart of beef stock. When it started to boil I added in the onions and about 1/2 teaspoon thyme and two pours of Worcestershire sauce.

I let the onion soup simmer and brought in the sausage to brown up in the same skillet I did the onions in. For the bread I like to use a half English muffin toasted to float the cheese on. I added a good handful of 6 blend Italian cheese to each bowl and melted under the broiler. I didn't think I should call this French Onion Soup since I used Italian Cheese and English Muffins!

My wife and I both liked the soup and thought the naan bread was perfect for the sausage buns. 

Chicken sausages

For the onion soup

Slicing the onions

Onions caramelized

Making the blond roux

Broth, onions and seasoning added

Sausages after 1 hour of smoke

Sausages browned

English muffins added

Topped with cheese and melted

My supper