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

Friday, November 20, 2015

Turkish Meatballs w/Red Cabbage Slaw

Nov 19 2015

I was glad the day turned out pretty nice for doing the meatballs out in the smoker. I made up the meatballs early using the gift of Turkish spices, Kofte Bahari (mixed spices), Pul Biber (red pepper) and Kisnis (Coriander). I set the bowl in the fridge for a little over an hour to let all the flavors meld.

Turkish meatballs I think are typically made with ground lamb but the recipe I adapted had substituted ground beef. I wanted to mix in some ground lamb but could not find any so I used some ground pork sausage. After the meat mix had set I made up the meat balls and covered with plastic wrap and they set in the fridge about 3 hours before smoking. I got 13 meatballs from the pound of meat.

The meatballs are usually served with flat bread or pita bread. I found some mini Indian naan bread that looked perfect to use. Red cabbage is a good side, either as a slaw or cooked. I used a recipe by Bobby Flay from food network that looked good, it had orange and lime juice, olive oil, garlic and onion pureed for a dressing.  I made up the slaw a couple hours before cooking. For another side I nuked some cauliflower and then browned it in a skillet with butter.

 I had my Traeger heated to 200 deg. about 215 deg. grill level when I put the meatballs on. After 35 minutes I eased the temp up to 315 deg. grill level. They cooked a total of an hour 15 minutes and were done at 6:00 PM. I checked about 10 minutes before and they were at 156 deg. IT so went inside and nuked the cauliflower for 2 minutes then in a skillet with some butter to brown a little.

I brought the meatballs inside in a covered dish while the cauliflower finished browning. I served the meatballs on the naan bread topped with some garlic yogurt sauce and parsley for garnish. I served the slaw and cauliflower on the side.

I had a little salt and fresh ground pepper over all of mine. The wife and I both thought it was pretty good!

Click Here for printable meatball recipe
Click Here for link to slaw recipe

For the meatballs

Mixed up

Meatballs made

For the yogurt sauce

For the slaw dressing

Slaw made

Meatballs about done

My Supper

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gift of Turkish Spices

Nov 15 2015

My wife and some of her old school classmates meet once a month for a luncheon at a local restaurant. I think she likes to brag to the girls about me being the cook. One of the girls brought along some spices today for me to try. A friend of hers had brought her the spices from Turkey.

There were three packets, Kofte Bahari (mixed spices), Pul Biber (red pepper) and Kisnis (Coriander).
I searched them on the internet and found they were for making meatballs or Kabobs, two of the favorite street foods in Turkey.

I was stationd in Eskisiher Turkey with the USAF in 1963. We could not eat much of the local food then but I remember eating lamb kabobs from a street vendor and the local bread, EkMek was delicious.

The mixed spices are a little like our all spice and the red pepper is like allepo peppers, the darker red the hotter. From what I can find the recipes for meatballs and Kabobs vary from region to region. They are usually served on flat bread and with a yogurt sauce. I am going to do some meatballs with the spices soon; I found a recipe that looks authentic.

Friday, November 13, 2015

2 Envelope Beef and Carrots over Rice

Nov 12 2015

We have had high winds all day and into tonight. Today they were at 30 mph with gusts at 42 and now they are at 24 with gusts to 30; I hope they have died down more by morning.

I got my beef shoulder roast browned and in the Crockpot by 10 AM. I had a nice small shoulder roast from my butcher Kah Meats. It was thick and had some nice marbling. I like it when they are thick; makes it easy to brown on all sides.

I got the idea for this roast from my friend Mary at Deep South Dish. She makes one with picante sauce poured over and then a 3 envelope mix, onion soup. Brown gravy and Italian dressing mix. I decided to just use a 2 envelope, Pioneer brown gravy and Lipton’s garlic mushroom mix. It turned out being one of my better pot roasts with good gravy. This would be good for working people; get it in the Crockpot in the morning and when you get home cook some rice and you have a great supper. It would be just about as good without browning the meat first.

I browned up the roast seasoned with just some fresh ground pepper; I figured there was enough salt in the mixes. I sprayed the Crockpot with some olive oil, added 3 slices of sweet onion and then the browned roast. I deglazed the skillet and added those goodies. I mixed the envelope of Pioneer brown gravy and Lipton’s garlic mushroom soup with 1 ½ cups of water and added that to the pot. I then added enough lager beer to come ¼ inch from the top of the roast. There were a couple of swallows left for the cook! I added a couple handfuls of small carrots and a stalk of celery to the top of the roast. I set the Crockpot on high for a half hour then went to low.

 I fixed our brunch; jowl bacon and French toast in honor of my wife’s birthday and then had time for a nap before supper.

A little after 4 PM I removed the roast to let cool and shred. I shredded it and removed some fat and then back in the pot and set the pot on high. A little after 5 PM I added slurry of 2 tablespoons of flour and some water to thicken the gravy some. I got some Uncle Ben’s white rice cooking in my rice cooker at 5:30. It all was ready about 6:20 so I served the wife and me some beef and carrots over rice and some bread and butter on the side. It was good and I went back for seconds of some of the gravy over bread!

The roast

Browning the roast

All in the Crockpot

6.5 hrs. ready to shred the beef

Cooling some

Shredded and back in the pot

Ready to serve

My supper

Gravy bread for seconds

Thursday, November 12, 2015

French Toast for Wife's B-Day Brunch

Nov 12 2015

Today is my wife’s birthday; now she can’t brag about being younger than me, until February.  We had planned to go to a nice place for lunch today; but with the strong winds decided to eat in. We are having 30 mph winds with gusts to 42 mph.

I had already planned to do a beef roast in the Crockpot for our supper tonight. The wife loves French toast and I had some of my maple butter hard cider bread I wanted to try after Pam mentioned it would make good French toast. I also had some good jowl bacon to have.

I fried up the bacon and then made my wife’s toast, she didn’t want an egg. I had some maple syrup butter and Ohio maple syrup for the toast. I made mine with a fried egg for on top.

My wife said she would rather have the toast made with French bread but I liked it. I would say the texture was almost like pancakes.

Jowl bacon

Wife's plate

My plate

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kraut's on for New Year's Day 2016

Nov 10 2015

Yep it’s getting that time again; if you want to have pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s good luck meal better get it on. I let mine ferment for 30 days so it will be done Dec. 10th and have time to mellow out in the fridge before New Year’s Day 2016.

I would have liked to use my 5 liter fermenting crock but it’s too heavy for me to mess with anymore. I have a lid and water trap that fits wide mouth jars so I made a half gallon. I had two heads of cabbage and it took one and a half for enough to fill the half gallon jar. Just 2 tablespoons of coarse salt with the shredded cabbage, some good stomping, pack it in the jar, add a little saltwater to cover, place the lid and trap on and let set for 30 days for Mother Nature to do her work. For the salt water to add I add a teaspoon of coarse salt to a pint of filtered water.

Before I made up the kraut I baked two pies. I don’t fuss a lot making desserts; for my crusts I used Pillsbury’s Pet Ritz. They come two in a pack and are in foil pie pans. I had a recipe for a cream cheese pie I wanted to do. Since they come two in a pack I did a berry pie topped with strudel for my wife. The berries were store bought pie filling, strawberries, raspberries and blue berries. The topping was just ¼ cup sugar, 1/3 cup Quaker oats, 1/3 cup flour mixed with 3 tablespoons melted butter. It was baked on a sheet pan at 375 deg. for 45 minutes.

I had the half head of cabbage left so I fried up some diced potatoes and onions and the cabbage. I heated up some of the leftover meatloaf fatty and that was our supper tonight along with some of the hard cider bread.

The kids stopped in on their way out to eat and they stopped back for some pie for dessert. I had a half slice each and they were good together.

My pies

Making the kraut

Be done in 30 days