Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Za'atar Sheet Pan Chicken & Red Potatoes

Feb 28 2017

It has been a while since I did Za’atar chicken. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern seasoning, there are many different versions, and most are made with toasted sesame seeds and a mix of herbs. What I used tonight was Israeli. Ingredients are sesame seeds, sea salt, sumac and olive oil. This makes a great seasoning for flat bread too.

I bought a whole fryer chicken; spatchcocked and air dried in the fridge overnight. About 3 hours before cooking I cut it up and in a plastic bag with half the seasoning mix to marinate. With the other half of the seasoning mix I added the red potatoes and cut up onion I added to the recipe. They both went in the fridge.

The recipe said bake at 400 deg. for 35 to 45 minutes. I added the chicken to the sheet pan and seasoned with more Za’atar. I baked them at 400 deg. for 10 minutes in my convection oven then added the potatoes and onions for another 35 minutes. I was afraid if I did it all from the start the potatoes would be overdone but I think it would have been fine.

I had baked some cheese and garlic butter corn muffins using Jiffy mix. We both had a salad too; I had tomatoes, blue cheese dressing and some fresh ground Moroccan harissa.

Chicken was great, tender, juicy and the skin was eatable; you need that to get the benefit of the Za’atar seasoning.

Click Here for printable chicken recipe

Chicken after air drying overnight

The muffins

Chicken and potatoes marinating

Chicken ready to bake

Potatoes & onions added

Done ready to serve

My salad

My supper

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Red Beans w/Pickled Pork over Rice

Feb 25 2017

Today I am officially ANTIQUE, 75 years old. Yesterday I fixed one of my favorites, red beans and rice with pickled pork. My pickled pork was in the fridge ready to use.

I like to use little red beans instead of the red kidney beans. Most bean recipes I like to soak them over night and do low and slow on the stove top. The recipe called for cooking the beans for an hour then adding all the ingredients for another 1 ½ hours.

I like to do it in steps; after I washed and rinsed the beans I added 2 quarts of water brought to a boil and then simmered for an hour. I sliced about a pound of smoked sausage and browned it in a little olive oil and added it to the pot. After ½ hour I cut up the pickled pork in small pieces and added it to the pot.

In another ½ hour I sautéed the onions, garlic, celery and peppers just until soft and added them to the pot. I added the rest of the ingredients except for the green onions and parsley, I added them after another ½ hour. I let all simmer for another hour.

I served it over rice I had done in my rice cooker and chopped some green onions for on top along with more hot sauce. I had bread and butter on the side.

Click Here for printable recipe

Ingredients all but ketchup

The beans

Browning the sausage

Sausage & bay leaves added

Pickled pork added

Sauteeing the veggies

Veggies added

Green onions and parsley added

My supper

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Instant Pot Baked Steak and Steamed Potatoes & Carrots

Feb 23 2017

After lunch I baked a buttermilk pie using a recipe from my sister. I used a Pillsbury Pet-Ritz crust and for the sugar I tried a ½ cup brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar. It came out great.

Baked steak has been a favorite for a long time. My Mother used to make it with round or sirloin steak. She cut it in serving size pieces, tenderized some with a mallet. Dredged in flour and browned in a skillet. Then she placed the meat in a casserole dish and poured mushroom soup over and baked at 350 deg. for an hour.

Some may call this Swiss steak and you can also use a tomato gravy or sauce to do it. Lately I have liked using Pioneer brand country gravy mix. When doing in the oven I usually used sirloin so I was pretty sure of tender beef. Now with my Instant Pot I can use the cheaper round steak.

I had a 2 pound slice of round steak from my butcher to use. I Jicarded it and then I trimmed the fat and cut into serving size pieces. I browned them with a little olive oil in my Stargazer cast iron skillet. I could have browned them in the Instant Pot but I had two batches and I could control more how much grease went in the pot. While I was browning them I made my gravy and all went into the instant pot along with the deglazed goodies from the skillet.

I set the Instant Pot on meat normal for 25 minutes. I had some Baby Dutch potatoes and carrots in my rice cooker to steam for 15 minutes. When they were done I added butter and fresh parsley. I love those little potatoes!

I made a steak sandwich from my beef and had a side of some sliced tomatoes with blue cheese dressing. My wife had English muffins with hers. It was delicious and the beef was fall apart tender.

The round steak

Browning in my skillet

Meat and gravy in the pot

Side of tomatoes

My supper

Our dessert

Pie recipe:
1 pie shell homemade or bought
Combine sugar & flour, beat in eggs, add butter, and add buttermilk & vanilla. Pour into pie shell.
Bake @425 for 10 min, 350 for 35 min
I used a Pillsbury pie shell and baked @400 for 10 minutes, 350 for 35 minutes and looked good.
Note: I used a half cup of brown sugar with the 1 cup of white sugar and was good!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

BLT's Air Fryer Fries & Corn on the Cob

Feb 22 2017

The warm 65 deg. weather had me hungry for some bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches. I had almost a pound of Kah Meats thick sliced smoked bacon to use and I found some vine ripe tomatoes that looked decent. I wanted to use just plain white bread. I also had some corn on the cob to steam.

I also wanted to try some Ore Ida fast food fries in my Air fryer. This would be the third time so had to come out good!

I cooked the bacon on my Traeger at about 290 to 300 deg. grill level and took about an hour. I had lightly sprinkled some Savors Pig Candy on it.

When the bacon was done I got the corn in my rice cooker to steam. I preheated the Air Fryer for 3 minutes. I sprayed the basket with some olive oil, added 3 handfuls of fries and sprayed with olive oil.
I had it on Fries at 400 deg. for 13 minutes. I checked them 5 minutes in and stirred then at 10 minutes they were done and the corn was done.

I made my wife’s sandwich with mayo and on mine I had mustard on the bottom slice and mayo on the top slice and had 3 layers of bacon on them.  The tomatoes were not like garden tomatoes but the sandwich was still good. The corn was tender and sweet. I was happy with the fries. If I only use the Air fryer for fries it will be worth it; after I learned how to do them!

Bacon on my Traeger 

For the sandwiches

The fries

My corn

My supper

Monday, February 20, 2017

Pickled pork

Feb 20 2017

I made some pickled pork today to use in red beans and rice. This is an authentic Louisiana recipe I got years ago from Frugal Gourmet. It really adds flavor to the beans along with smoked sausage. To me the red beans and rice are not as good without the pickled pork.


Ready for the fridge


Pickled Pork

2 lbs. boneless pork butt cut in 2” cubes
1 TBS celery seeds                                             
2 TBS tobasco                                                    
1 qt white vinegar                                                  
1 bay leaf                                                             
1 TBS kosher salt
12 pepper corns
6 cloves garlic, cracked
1 pinch of pink salt (optional)

Combine all the ingredients except the pork in a stainless steel pan & boil for 3 min. Cool & place in a refrigerator container ( plastic, glass, or stainless ) add pork. Stir to remove the bubbles. Cover & refrigerate for 3 days. Every since I had red beans & rice with the pickled pork it’s not as good without the pork! I have never tried the pink salt in the pickled pork but plan to soon.
Note: I have used country style ribs, they cut up just right.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Meatloaf and Steamed Potatoes & Carrots

Feb 19 2017

It was a nice day to cook out, a sunny 65 deg. It’s been a few years since I fixed this recipe for Dad’s meatloaf by Tyler Florence. I got it from a fellow LTBBQ member. I did change by using stuffing mix instead of bread crumbs and used buttermilk in place of milk. That was an idea from a follower of my blog.

This is a little different; you cook the veggies making a tomato relish instead of adding them raw. I think it really intensifies the flavor. It comes out rather wet and is really moist after cooking. It has a sweet tomato taste. I prefer a more beefy taste but my wife liked it and it was good for a change. I just had two pounds of meat instead of 2 ½ so I cut back to using 5 tomatoes and I used 6 mini sweet peppers.

I got it all mixed up and went in the fridge for a little over an hour before smoking. I usually like it to set at least 2 hours but I had forgotten I had to cook the veggies. I preheated my Traeger to 200 deg. and got the meat loaf on at 4:20. I had added some of the tomato relish to the top and then topped it with bacon. I planned to eat at 6:00

My side was some steamed baby Dutch potatoes and carrots tossed with butter and parsley. I did them for 10 minutes on steam in my Instant Pot. It all came together about the same time; the meatloaf was at 165 deg. IT.

I had a salad with mine and the wife had an English muffin. We both liked it; the meatloaf was fall apart but tasted great. I had added a half cup plus a handful of stuffing mix and it could have used a cup probably.

Click Here for original recipe

All but the meat and eggs

Veggies for the tomato relish

Relish cooking

Meatloaf ready for the fridge

Ready for the smoker

Done ready to take in and rest 5 min.

Potatoes and carrots

My salad

My supper

Friday, February 17, 2017

Kielbasa & Pierogi Sheet Pan Dinner

Feb 17 2017

Sheet pan dinners have been the craze this winter on food magazine sites and food blogs. I don’t know why I never thought of this before. It’s a simple way to cook a whole meal with very little prep and cleanup. I use nonstick foil on the pan and cleanup is even easier.

I found a recipe to follow for a kielbasa and pierogi dinner. The recipe was for 24 pierogi, I only did 6 and it had chili powder as part of the seasoning, I have never had pierogi with chili powder. My kielbasa was from my butcher Kah Meats, no preservatives, just meat and seasoning.

My ingredients were:
3- 10 inch kielbasa links cut in half
6 mini sweet peppers stemmed and cut in half
1 large sweet onion, cut in sixths and separated
Olive oil for onions and peppers
Garlic herb seasoning for the onions and peppers
Melted butter for the pierogi
Some slivered onion for on top of the pierogi

I got the oven preheated to 400 deg. While it was heating up I laid the sausage around the outer edge of the pan. I brushed both sides of the pierogi with butter and placed them in the middle and added a little salt and pepper. I added the peppers and onions that I had drizzled with olive oil and the seasoning around the pan and topped the pierogi with the slivered onions.

It went in the 400 deg. oven for 15 minutes and then I brushed the pierogi with more butter and turned. I didn’t look like all was browning to suit me so I switched the oven to convection for the last 15 minutes. It all looked good to me so I got it out to serve. If it doesn’t look brown enough just put it back in for a while.

The wife and I both had salads with a hardboiled egg and some tomato. I had some mustard with my kielbasa and it all tasted great. The mini peppers are a lot sweeter than the large ones. This is a keeper recipe for me.

I didn't show pics of the prep, I figure you all know how to clean peppers and cut up onions!

All ready for the oven

After 15 minutes

30 minutes, ready to serve

My salad

My supper

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thanks to all my Followers and Viewers

Feb 15 2017

Thanks to Google for the free space for blogs and to my followers and all who view. I started the blog back in 2011 mainly as a log for my cooking and BBQ. It made a great place to keep my recipes and go back to view later.

The first few years I didn’t have that many followers or viewers but they slowly picked up. I only use the simplest adware so my pages are not cluttered with ads. I now average over 300 a day, 10,000 a month and I have had over 400,000 page views since I started. I note too that about half are coming from countries all over the world.

I hope you all enjoy my site and that I am spreading a little good will to people in other countries.

You may note I am slowing down now at 75 years old this month. I now use a lot of store bought sides rather than do them from scratch. You can still find good side dishes in the archives. I started by only posting cooks with my Traeger smoker and gas grills. I now include a lot of my indoor cooks too.

For a long time I was cooking for my 95 year old Mother too; taking her frozen leftovers. For over a year now she has my brother and sister that carry food in to her everyday. Now I have to learn how to cut my portions down since it’s just the wife and me.

Again thanks to all for viewing! I will keep posting as long as I am able to cook!

BB Ribs, Baked Potato and Cauliflower

Feb 15 2017

We had a great day yesterday to cook out, 48 deg. and sunny. I was glad since I was getting hungry for some pork ribs. It was the first I had use the smoker since before Thanksgiving.

I had a rack of BB ribs I cut in half; I wanted to freeze half to use with kraut later. I got the ribs out a half hour before going on the smoker; I forgot to pull the membrane! The half to freeze was a little red wine vinegar to wet, salt & pepper. For the half to eat were a little red wine vinegar and some seasoning Brad from Beer & Wine Depot gave me to try.

My sides would be a baked potato stuck with a potato rod and baked for 1 ½ hours at 260 deg. You get some nice potato to eat and then a crispy potato skin to eat. It was large enough to split in half and share with the wife. I also had some cauliflower I nuked with some butter and then in my Air Fryer; it was done in 5 minutes.

I did the ribs in my Traeger at 200 deg. for 1 ½ hours then went to 245 deg. this was giving me 255 to 260 at grill level. At 2 ½ hours I pulled the half to freeze after checking temp. With an hour to go I mopped with dome of my Butcher’s , Kah Meats, BBQ sauce and went to 255 deg. for about 280 deg. grill level. The ribs were on a total of 5 ½ hours. Kah’s BBQ sauce is my favorite, a little like Sweet Baby Ray’s but has a little more tang to it.

I would not have had to up the temp. on the ribs the last hour they were fall apart tender. Leaving the membrane on made them hard to slice without pulling the meat off. They were sure tasty though; Brads seasoning was good but I like my Galena St. rub better. The potato was good as usual. The cauliflower got a nice brown in the Air fryer but I was not that impressed. For all the butter I had on them you could hardly tell it.

The Ribs

2 1/2 hours in pulled the one half

4 1/2 hours in added sauce

Done and resting

Sliced to serve

The potato


My supper