Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sloppy Joe Dogs

July 30 2016

Nothing spectacular here but the end product tasted good! I was hungry for a chili dog; the wife, daughter, daughter in law and her Mother went to Grand Rapids MI for lunch and some shopping.

I went early to my butcher and got some of his old fashioned hot dogs and a pound of ground chuck. I planned to use my focaccia bread for the buns. I did not expect the wife to get home until late but she called at 5:00 and said they would be here about 6:00. I thought I had a break but now I had to feed her too!

I discovered instead of McCormick’s Chili Sauce I had their Skillet Sloppy Joe sauce so now I was having Sloppy Joe dogs! At 5:30 I got the ground chuck on to brown up. When I was pretty brown I added some chopped onions and cooked until the onions were getting soft. I drained some of the grease off then cooked a few minutes adding some chili powder and then some beer to deglaze the pan. I added the Sloppy Joe sauce and turned to simmer until I made cooked the hot dogs.

My wife got home at 6:00 so I fired up my Weber Spirit to 400 deg. with my grill grates, the back side. I had a tomato that I had picked green and it was about half ripe so I sliced it and added some Penzey’s Sandwich sprinkle. I cut what I thought was hot dog bun size pieces from the focaccia bread and cut part way through. I sprayed the cut sides with some olive oil.

I put the hot dogs on and did them about 4 minutes per side, the tomatoes went on for a few minutes turning and I toasted the bread a minute or two on each side. The hot dogs were bursting and that’s the way I like them. I took all inside to serve. No pics from the grill just too much for me.

My wife had the sloppy joe sauce and shredded cheddar on hers, I had some mustard, sloppy Joe sauce and chopped onions on mine. We both liked them but they were a knife and fork sandwich!

For the sloppy Joe sauce

Ground chuck, onions and chili powder

Sloppy Joe sauce added

Ready to serve

My supper

Friday, July 29, 2016

Chicken & Mushrooms in Country Gravy over Rice

July 29 2016

Gravy and sauces can really add the flavor to a meal. I love gravy but have never mastered a fool proof method for making it. I think it is best made after frying some meat and using the leftover fat and brown bits in the skillet. Too many times I wound up with lumpy gravy until I started making it with Pioneer Gravy Mix that comes in a pouch. It comes out perfect every time for me. They make about a dozen flavors but all I can get locally are; Country style, Country sausage and brown gravy.

Gravy can also make leftovers taste like a first time meal. I had a front and a rear quarter of smoked chicken to use tonight. I decided I would get some mushrooms and fix it with Country gravy and have it over rice and a veggie on the side. I pulled the chicken and chopped to bite size.

I found some oak wood shitake mushrooms to use and a bag of frozen organic mixed veggies. I had the loaf of Focaccia bread I made earlier today to have with the meal. It’s a good thing I planned inside cooking; at supper time we were getting much needed rain.

I got some Zatarain’s Garlic Butter rice going in the rice cooker. I got the gravy made and had some chopped onions with butter in a skillet on medium heat. When the onions were getting soft I added about 6 oz. of the mushrooms. I had to add a little butter for the mushrooms and when they cooked down some I added the chicken. I stirred and let cook about 5 minutes then poured the gravy over. I turned the heat down to a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes.

While that was simmering I nuked the mixed veggies then added to a bowl with some butter. I served the chicken mushroom gravy over the rice and we had the focaccia bread with it. Delicious!

Onions and mushrooms in the skillet

Chicken added

Country gravy added

Focaccia bread

My supper

Skillet Focaccia Bread from Pizza Dough

July 29 2016

My pizza crusts did not come out the way I wanted and I had half the recipe left. The one half made two 10 inch crusts.

I had a recipe printed out for cast iron skillet focaccia bread so used the dough and skipped to the baking part. I took it from the fridge and let warm about a half hour. It then went in the skillet coated with olive oil then in the oven I had heated to 170 deg. and shut off. It was in for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile I melted 4 Tb. Butter and added a teaspoon of garlic herb salt and 2 large teaspoons of ground parmesan. When the 20 minute rise was over I removed it from the oven and turned it to 400 deg. I poked some holes in it with a wooden spoon handle and brushed half the butter over the top.

When the oven reached 400 deg. the bread went in for 20 minutes, I let it go another 3 minutes then removed to cool. I brushed some more of the butter over the top.

I wasn’t sure the pizza dough would make good bread but it had olive oil in it like focaccia recipes. We had it with our supper and it had nice texture with holes and a good taste.

All ready to bake

Out of the oven

Brushed on more seasoned butter


A Pizza Fiasco!

July 28 2016

Six months or so back I wanted a new food processor and bought a Ninja since it came with a bread dough blade. Me and dough just do not get along; I used a bread machine for several years and had good luck with it. I did make some pizza dough with it. I think my best bread was done with the No Knead Artisan Bread in 5 cook book.

I was just getting some tomatoes ripe in my garden and I wanted to try the bread dough blade in the Ninja; pizza was the perfect choice. I found a recipe for two 12 inch pizzas and I would do a Margarita style pizza with my tomatoes and I had fresh basil too.

Yesterday I got my recipe and ingredients ready and the Ninja set up with the bread dough blade. It came with a 5 cup maximum top and one about double that. I looked at the recipe and it called for 4 ½ to 5 cups flour so I tried to use the larger container but the bread dough blade did not fit it. Should I go ahead with the recipe? Heck yes it’s a tough Ninja!

I proofed my yeast and added it and two cups of flour to the Ninja and started using the dough setting. I then added the flour a cup at a time. I had 4 cups in and it was not coming to a ball; Ninja was groaning a little! Then I heard some noise and looked over and Ninja had come to life and was trying to jump off the counter! I shut it off and it looked like one sticky mess.

I got it scraped out into a bowl the best I could. It wanted to stick to everything until I got enough flour added to make into a ball. I let it rise for an hour then cut in half and placed into bowls covered and in the fridge for overnight. I am not going to describe the mess I had to clean up!

My recipe called for par cooking the crust for 10 minutes on a pizza stone that had been heated to 500 deg. for a half hour. I did mine on my Weber Spirit and a Lodge cast iron griddle. I checked the first one after 6 minutes and the bottom was pretty brown so I pulled it and did the second crust for 5 minutes.
They also looked more like thick crust instead of the thin crust I wanted. I decided I would finish them under the broiler inside.

I made a sauce from a can of diced tomatoes pureed and added some tomato paste and oregano. I made up the first with my sauce; diced peppers, onions and some Mexican blend shredded cheese topped with some Margherita Brand Pepperoni. The second one was my sauce, shredded mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.

I did them under the broiler but had the shelf too high so we ended up nuking them in the microwave to finish. It was just not my best pizza day!!!  I think the next time I want pizza I will just order from Sandman’s carry out and pick it up 20 minutes later!

 Tomatoes for the pizza

One pizza crust made

One baked crust

Ready for the broiler

Ready to cut and serve

My supper

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Smucker's No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

July 26 2016

I am not a big dessert person so my baking skills are a little lacking. I do like peanut butter pie so when I saw this recipe I said that’s one for me to do!

My wife eats a lot of peanut butter and likes Jiffy. We saw where it was not that great for you and Smucker’s All Natural was the best for you so I bought a 24 oz. jar of it. It comes separated with about an inch of oil on top. It’s a pain to get mixed up and wears your arm out.

I saw this recipe and told the wife I would use most of it up and make this pie. I bought an oreo cookie crust to use. I mixed up the peanut butter, cream cheese and honey. I only used a cup of the honey instead of 1 ½ cups.

I topped it with cool whip and nuked the chocolate chips to pour on. I could not get them pourable, I forgot the shortening. If I make again will just use chocolate syrup. I used a spoon and knife to get the chocolate on.

This pie is very rich; it was almost too rich for my wife and she loves desserts.

Click Here for printable pie recipe

Chicken Halves Two Ways

July 26 2016

I don’t know about most of you but it has been almost too hot to cook out or in! We have had 90’s heat for over a month now. It’s been very humid but no rain. We are getting a small break only 89 today!

My butcher had split chicken halves for $1.65 a pound so I got two. I had some Yodhida and Lawry’s teriyaki marinade that needed used so made brine for them. It was a half-gallon of water,1/3 cup kosher salt, 1 cup Yoshida and about a half cup teriyaki. They were in the brine overnight. I got the idea for the brine from one of Smoker Pete’s post on Lets TalkBBQ.

I had plenty of a pasta salad left over for a side. I let the chicken halves air dry in the fridge a few hours then seasoned them for the smoker. I used Big Dick’s Big Kahuna on one for the wife and used the Margarita on mine.

They went on the Traeger at 200 deg. for some smoke for about an hour. I then eased up the temp until I had about 340 deg. grill level. It took a little over 1 ½ hours to get to a breast IT of 173 deg. I let them rest about 10 minutes.

I cut the breast from the wife’s and served her. It was minus the wing tips! To me the middle wing section is the best part of the chicken and then the leg and thigh. I had the two wing tips, a leg and thigh from my half.

Was it ever good, full of moisture and tender with some great flavor. The wife said she really liked hers with the Big Kahuna; it was a little sweet for me but tasted good. The Margarita was good on mine. After we were done the wife was ridding up and said boy yours was hot! Here she had seen some crispy skin on what was left of mine and was stealing it!

Brined, seasoned and ready to smoke

Ready to take in


The wife's

My supper

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cold Pasta Salad & Cold Cut Sandwich

July 26 2016

I decided a cold sandwich and pasta salad would be great for a hot day. It hit 91 here today. I got the pasta salad recipe from a friend at work and made it often but lost the recipe somehow. I remembered it I think! I used to use Durkee’s Salad Seasoning but can’t find it so I used Mc Cormick’s Super Salad seasoning, looks about the same ingredients as Durkee’s.

1 pound of spaghetti cooked and drained
½ English Cucumber cut in half and thin sliced
¾ Green pepper sliced thin and cut in thirds
3 to 4 garlic cloves diced fine
2 to 3 Tablespoons Mc Cormick’s  Super Salad Seasonings or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Some good Italian Salad Dressing,
I used Ken’s Steak House Northern Italian style. I had a little less than a pound of pasta so used about ¾ of the bottle. I just drain the pasta and let cool in the colander; drizzle a little olive oil over and mix so it doesn’t stick together. While it’s cooling I cut up the peppers and cukes then mix all together. I think mixing while the pasta is a little warm lets it take on more flavor. Let the salad set in the fridge several hours before serving. It holds up well for a few days.

My sandwich was some Maille Dijon Mustard, some Margherita Brand salami, Kah’s smoked ham and a slice of Swiss cheese on a Cheap White Bun. All tasted pretty good.

For the salad

All in

Mixed and ready to chill

My supper

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Beef & Gravy Sandwich

July 24 2016

I was not going to post my leftover meal tonight but looked so good and thought some may like it. It tasted as good as it looks.

I made some brown gravy from a packet of Pioneer re-heated the leftover tri tip from yesterday in the gravy. I cut up a few potatoes and nuked them for 5 minutes, smashed them and topped with some garlic flakes and butter. Then they went under the broiler to brown a little. I sliced a tomato and added a little olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and sliced fresh basil.

I made sandwiches from the gravy covered meat; it was very tender almost like ground meat. My wife said it was better than last nights except for the gorgonzola butter. I don’t know why I don’t make these more often. A tavern in town sells the best Swiss steak sandwiches, with brown gravy and we used to get carry outs often when we were still working.

Any good sliced beef leftovers would work, round steak or sirloin done in a Crockpot would be good too. They are a little messy to eat but are they ever good.

The beer was a new one from Sandman’s; Rhinegeist from Cincinnati, I had the Puma which is a pilsner. It tasted like a good German beer.

The tomatoes

My supper

Tri Tip, Steamed Corn and a Salad

July 23 2016

I think a lot of you are getting this heat wave, been 90+ the last 3 days. I bought a 3 lb. tri tip roast from my butcher the other day at $5.69 per pound. I think this is the 4th tri tip I have done. The first 3 were done on my Traeger, an hour of smoke and then up to 300 to 325 deg. grill level until and IT of 140 deg.

I found a recipe on Traeger that sounded good but it was low and slow. I thought well I know LTBBQ member (Muebe) does them this way and calls them a trisket, cooked much like a brisket. The recipe was with their marinade overnight then seasoned with their rub. I used Stubbs Beef, soy, garlic and red pepper marinade and used Big Dick’s Steak-It rub.

The recipe called for smoking for 4 to 5 hours then in a foil pan with ½ cup of water; covered with foil and back on the smoker for 45 minutes at 350 deg. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

The roast had about a ¼ inch fat cap that I trimmed off then placed in a plastic bag with 1 cup of the marinade overnight. I got up at 7:00 AM to beat the heat and get it cooked to warm up for supper. I drained the roast well then seasoned it well with Big D’s Steak-It. I had the Traeger heated to 200 deg. and got the roast on at 7:45.

I thought 4 to 5 hours was a bit long and since I was doing at 200 deg. after 3 ½ hours it went into a foil pan with 1/2 cup water, covered with foil and at 340 deg. grill level for 45 minutes. I pulled it off and let set covered for 20 minutes then uncovered and let cool then in the fridge.

I had six ears of corn picked fresh this AM and two nice tomatoes from Suter’s red barn. I thought I would have the corn steamed and a salad with the tri tip. Our kids and grandson said they would eat with us and bring the salad greens they had just bought.

When they got here I had the corn ready to steam and it went on for 7 minutes. I had some gorgonzola chive butter for the corn and beef. We all just made up our own, nuking the beef to reheat and it was delicious. My wife said she really liked the tri tip, and I think this shows it is pretty versatile; tasty cooked fast or low and slow. The beef was very tender, not overly moist but the gorgonzola butter took care of that and Big D’s Steak it was great on it.

Grandson chowing down

Tri Tip fat cap removed

After marinade seasoned for the smoker

3 1/2 hrs in ready to foil

Done with a 20 minute rest

Sliced & ready for supper

Beef with gorgonzola chive butter

My supper

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Shrimp & Sausage Kabobs and Corn on the Cob

July 19 2016

I got my sampler pack of 4 jars from Big Dick’s the other day. I used the Big Kahuna and the Margarita on the kabobs. I had seen someone curls shrimp around a slice of smoked sausage I wanted to try. I had some Key West Jumbo shrimp and a link of my butcher’s smoked sausage. Even though his sausage is fully cooked I gave it an hour of smoke on my Traeger and it was 160 deg. IT

I decided to do the kabobs on my Weber JJ. I had to clean it up a little. I only used it twice last year so it needed used. My Lodge Hibachi was handy to start my charcoal in. I had some leftover in the two Weber baskets and shoved them to on side. I added a small foil pan for an indirect area.

I had some fresh corn and a yellow zucchini from Sutter’s farm. This was my first fresh corn of the year. I had a half dozen ears; I cleaned off about 3 of the outer husks and trimmed both ends. I steamed them about 6 minutes using a blue enamel steam pot on my Camp Chef gas burner.

I peeled and deveined the shrimp; sliced the sausage and had enough for 8 kabobs. The jumbo shrimp was not big enough to go around the sausage and skewer it so they were just staggered. I was glad the grandson was coming to eat with us. I used the Big Kahuna on 5 skewers and the Margarita on 3 for me.
Tasting out of the jar it was a little hot.

I had the Weber heated to about 440 deg. and the corn water on. I added some sliced zucchini coated with a little olive oil and Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle over the coals to get marked. I turned them after 4 minutes and added the corn to the steaming pot. After another 3 minutes I moved the zucchini over the foil pan and added 5 of the kabobs with the Kahuna; I did them 3 minutes per side. I took all inside with two ears of corn and got the wife and grandson served then did the 3 kabobs for me.

All tasted pretty good! The Margarita rub was not as hot as I thought but had a nice bite to it. The wife and grandson liked the Big Kahuna. I was afraid the Sutter’s corn would not be up to par, they had bigger kernels than their usual.  It was just as tender and sweet as always. Their corn is twice what you pay at the grocery but sure worth it.

 For the kabobs

Shrimp cleaned

Kabobs made and seasoned


Getting the charcoal started

Kabobs on the grill

My corn

My supper

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sausage Country Gravy over Cornbread

July 18 2016

Tonight’s supper had to go with the leftover cornbread and I wanted something easy. I would have preferred beans but then the wife wouldn’t eat! I got a pound of sausage from my butcher and found some nice yellow zucchini I would mix in with some onions and make country gravy.

I fried up the sausage and then added the zucchini and onions, a little salt and pepper. I had a batch of Pioneer country gravy made I poured over and let it all simmer a while.

My wife and I both had it over cornbread and some tomatoes on the side. It tasted great; I was craving some gravy!

My supper