Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Glazed Corned Beef & Steam Fried Cabbage

Glazed Corned Beef
(6-8 servings)


1 cup Apricot Preserves
¼ cup Light Brown Sugar
2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
4 ½ lb. Corned Beef, rinsed
1 cup Water


In a small bowl combine the apricot preserves, light brown sugar and soy sauce.  Set aside and start working with the corned beef.

Coat a roasting pan or other large pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the piece of corned beef in the pan and add the water.  Tightly seal with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 2 hours.  Remove from oven and drain all liquid.  Baste the corned beef with apricot mixture and then return to the oven uncovered for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.  You can baste the corned beef several times with the apricot mixture during the final cooking time.  Remove the corned beef again and cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing across the grain and serving.

Note:               Corned beef is usually made from the brisket cut of beef.  This is
                           the most common type of corned beef.  However, you can find
                           it also made from the beef round roast.

Note:                Corned beef is the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meat.  It is usually
                           served with cooked potatoes, carrots and cabbage.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Steam Fried Cabbage
(6-8 servings)


1 tbsp. Butter
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 large head Green Cabbage, coarsely chopped
To taste Salt & Black Pepper


In a 3 to 5 quart covered sauté pan, bring the butter and broth to a boil.  Add the cabbage to the liquid and combine.  Reduce the temperature to simmer and cover.  Continue cooking for about 45 minutes or until cabbage is tender.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Note:               This cabbage dish goes well with the “Glazed Corned Beef”
                           recipe.  Just add potatoes and carrots to make a traditional
                           St. Patrick’s Day meal.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March is Coming

The month of March is almost upon us.  We have to get through an extra day of February (leap year) first.  One of my 1st cousins once removed will be 8 years old (really 32) on Wednesday.  Happy Birthday, Kyle!!!  Most of us probably don't know too many "Leap Year" babies.

Well, back to March.  Surprisingly, March is a very busy month.  The first big thing is "Daylight Savings Time" starts.  We get an extra hour of light in the evening.  I still haven't fully adjusted to the move from April but I better get ready.  Remember to change batteries (Smoke Detectors) that weekend.  We "Spring Forward" on Sunday morning (2:00 AM) the 11th.

Basketballs "March Madness" starts this month too.  Many people will be filling out their brackets and hoping their team can win it all.  In my area, there are Missouri and Kansas fans fighting over who is the best and which one will go further.  My hopes are on another area team.  My team is Creighton University out of Omaha, Nebraska.  I graduated from there a few (many) years ago.

Spring comes this month.  Hopefully that will mean no more snow or cold temps.  However, I'm not holding my breath on that thought.  I am looking forward to seeing nature come alive again.  My wife loves seeing all the new born animals.  Especially the farm ones.

Now for the most important thing that happens in March!  I'm Irish so you must know what that means.  It's St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) and the start of my 2 day birthday celebration.  I missed St. Patrick's Day by 5 minutes.  So I've always made it a big 2 day event.  We just don't have numbers associated with it anymore.

Being Irish and March coming, there will be 3 days of recipes.  An easy slow cooker "Corned Beef & Cabbage" dinner.  Then two recipes of "Glazed Corned Beef" & "Steam Fried Cabbage."  On Friday, I have an "Irish Soda Bread" recipe that is very easy and will go well with either of the dinners above.  Be sure to check them out and pass them on.  That's why I'm doing it early.

Have a great week and I forgot to mention the "Northwest Missouri State University" men's basketball team as they begin their tournament road to a chance for a national championship in Division II.  GO BEARCATS!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pasta with Tomatoes & Olives

Pasta with Tomatoes & Olives
(Vegetarian Dish)
(2-3 servings)


3 tbsp. Butter
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Fresh Garlic (large)
¼ cup Shallots, diced
12 each Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
12 each Kalamata Olives, pitted & halved
½ cup White Wine, your choice
6 oz. Sundried Tomato Basil Fettuccine, cooked (see note)
¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/8 cup Fresh Basil, chopped


In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil.  Once melted, add the garlic and shallots for about 2 minutes.  Follow with the tomatoes and olives for another 2 to 3 minutes before adding the wine.  Heat the wine through and add the pasta and stir to combine.  Next add the Parmesan cheese and basil to the mixture and continue cooking for about 2 minutes.  If pasta mixture is too thick, add a little of the pasta water or some more wine.  Serve immediately with my garlic bread recipe.

Note:               I used Fettuccine from Artisan Italian by Dakota Earth.  You can
                           buy their products in a few stores in Sioux City, IA and Sioux
                           Falls, SD or online at their website,

Note:               You can use any pasta for this recipe, but a flavored one just adds
                           a punch to the dish.

Note:               You could change out the Kalamata olive for your favorite one in
                           this recipe.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A little Information on Tofu for Cooking

Vegetarians, no matter which type, need to get protein from a source other than animal products.  So they look to items in the "Whole Grain" area like Quinoa, Brown Rice and Barley.  These are all an excellent source of protein.  Quinoa is 100% whole-grain but is really a seed.  The following link tells you how to cook it.  How-to-cook-Quinoa-perfectly

Another group for protein source are beans, lentils and legumes.  Black beans are one of the best for protein from this group.  Legumes are from the pea family for those not familiar with the name.

Nuts, seeds and nut-butters are another area for a protein source.

Then there is "Tofu" that is very popular among vegetarians.  Tofu is made from Soybean milk that is fermented.  There are basically two types of tofu, regular and silken (Japanese style).  The regular type of tofu is made to hold it's shape, whereas the silken type is creamier and melts into the product you are making.

In the regular tofu (also known as Chinese style or bean curd) group, the tofu can range from medium-firm to extra-firm texture.  This type of tofu can be baked, sauteed or deep fried for use in many dishes.  Tofu has the ability to pickup the flavor of whatever it is being used with in a dish or recipe.

The silken type of tofu is great to use in desserts and sauces.  It has the ability to blend into any recipe, so cakes, cookies, etc. come out great.

So hopefully you have gained a little knowledge over the last two days about a vegetarian life style.  Maybe it will get you to try tofu or use some of the other protein sources more.  Even become a vegetarian of some type.  I like using the term "Vegetarian for the Day."  I can't get with the full-time life style but do enjoy  one of two days a week of going meatless.  Please let me know if you have more questions on the subject or have something to contribute to the our topic this week.

Tomorrow has a delicious recipe for "Pasta with Tomato & Olive" and is vegetarian.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What is a Vegetarian and are there various types?

When most people hear the term "Vegetarian" it conjures up the idea of people who do not eat meat.  Well, reality has a little more to it.  I'll start with listing all the different types and a little about them.  Let's begin with the  easiest to follow through to the hardest.

Flexitarians (Semi-Vegetarian) are people who limit their eating of certain meats.  The most common in this group are ones who don't eat red meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc).  This group usually still eats chicken and fish.  Catholics, on their fish only Fridays, or people who eat fish but not the chicken (fowl) are called "Pescatarian."  The purest "Vegetarians" don't think of this group as really being "True" vegetarians.

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians (Vegetarian) are the most common type of vegetarians today.  This group does not eat any animals (beef, pork, lamb, fowl, fish, etc.) but may eat eggs and dairy.  There are even subsets in this group.  Ovo-Vegetarian people don't eat dairy but do eat eggs.  Lacto-Vegetarian will eat dairy but not eggs.  We normally just refer to all of these people as "Vegetarian" and don't add the first part of the category name.

Vegans are much stricter in that they don't eat any animal products at all.  This includes no honey as well as the eggs and dairy products.

Raw/Living Foodists are people that only eat raw food.  They will not eat anything that has had a cooking process of any kind.

Fruitarians will only eat fruit, fruit-like vegetables (such as tomatoes, etc.) and some will eat nuts and seeds.

These are the basic 5 groups that fall under the "Vegetarian" label.

There is something else about these people that most of us meat eaters don't understand.  They don't eat food that has been cooked with meat items either.  A few examples would be: That roast beef dinner with all the vegetables cooked with it-they can't eat those vegetables.  Soup made with chicken broth.  The egg fried in the pan that just cooked the bacon even if you wiped it out.  In fact, some would not use that pan at all even if it had been washed.  Because it had been used for meat products.  That group is fairly small but you do need to take that into consideration when having someone from these groups over for a meal.  The individual coming has the responsibility to inform you of their eating restrictions when invited to share food with you.  But it is a two-way street for both sides to communicate and respect each other's views and needs.

One more thing I'd like to point out to everyone is that we are all some type of vegetarian on occasion.  There is the national "Meatless Mondays" that many of us follow or maybe it is another day during the week.  Some will do it several days a week.  Many do it without even thinking about the fact that they just had a vegetarian day.  It really is not a bad idea to follow once and awhile, but I'm still a meat & potato guy most of the time.

I hope this has been helpful to you.  This blog today didn't touch on the health side of the issue.  I'll leave that up to you to check out.  Tomorrow, I'll touch base on proteins for these groups with "Tofu" being the main one.  Friday's recipe is a vegetarian pasta dish I'm sure you will enjoy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another Video from my Latest KQ2 Appearance

One blog reader from last week's blog sent me some additional information on cooking and baking with egg substitutes.  Please read below.

For anyone interested:

Egg Substitutes for Baked Goods

In a typical recipe for baked goods, eggs generally play one of two roles:binder (to hold the recipe together) or leavening agent (to help it rise). Sometimes eggs play both roles at once. Determining which purpose the eggs primarily hold in the recipe you are considering will help you determine what options for replacement you might have. 

Egg Recipes As a rule of thumb, if a recipe for baked goods calls for three or more eggs per batch (with a typical "batch" consisting of 36 cookies, one pan of brownies, one loaf of bread, or one cake), egg substitutes generally do not work. The consistency of the finished product comes out poorly. Pound cakes, sponge cakes, angel food cakes, and other popular desserts with relatively high egg content do not turn out well in egg-free cooking. In these situations, it is usually best to make something else. 

There are commercial egg replacement products on the market. Be sure that you are considering an egg replacement, not an egg substitute. Egg substitutes are generally marketed in the dairy portion of the grocery store, and are designed for cholesterol-conscious people, rather than for egg-allergic people. They contain egg, and are unsafe for those with egg allergies. Commercial egg replacement products (such as Ener-G brand Egg Replacer®, a popular powdered product that is available in natural foods stores across the U.S.) generally will work for either binding or leavening purposes. As with any other product, be sure to read the ingredient statement to ensure that the product is indeed safe for your child. 

Eggs as a Binder

For recipes which use eggs primarily as a binder (such as drop cookies), possible substitutions for one egg include: 
  • 1/2 of a medium banana, mashed 
  • 1/4 cup of applesauce (or other pureed fruit) 
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons gelatin blend (mix 1 cup boiling water and 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, and then use 3-1/2 tablespoons of that mixture per egg) 
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water; let stand 1 minute before using 
  • Commercial egg replacement products (see above) 

Keep in mind that the addition of pureed fruit may impact both the taste and the density of the finished product. 

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum can be added to egg-free cakes and cookies, as well as milk-free ice cream, to bind and add texture. Use about one teaspoon per recipe. Xanthan gum is a white powder derived from the exoskeleton of a bacterium. It is cultivated on corn sugar. 


Eggs as a Leavening Agent

For recipes which use eggs primarily as a leavening agent you can try a commercial egg replacement product (see above) or the following mixture: 
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil mixed with 1-1/2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon baking powder per egg.

Note: this mixture calls for baking powder, not baking soda. The two products are not interchangeable. 

Egg White Glaze

Occasionally recipes will use egg whites as a glaze, with the beaten egg whites brushed onto the top of the item before it is cooked. One good option here is to use melted margarine instead of the beaten egg whites. 

I was on KQ2 TV yesterday morning doing a cooking segment with Bob and William.  The recipe was from the cookbook for "French Dip Panini" and they loved it.  Here is the  link KQ2.

This week is about being a "Vegetarian" and what that means.  It should be interesting because some of us do it occasionally and don't even think about it.  I will also talk about "Tofu" and the different kinds and how to use them.  Of course, Friday there will be a "Vegetarian Recipe" for an easy entree.  Have a great week.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
(12 servings)


1½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
¼ tsp. Fine Sea Salt
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk or Almond Milk
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
½ cup Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar
1 cup Mashed Bananas (very ripe)
¼ cup Canola or Safflower Oil
1½ tsp. Pure Vanilla
1/3 cup Semisweet Mini Chocolate Chips


In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and set aside.  In another bowl, mix the milk and vinegar together and let stand 2 minutes to thicken.  Now add the sugar, banana, oil and vanilla to the milk mixture and mix until well blended.  Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture and stir until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and divide the batter between the 12 regular sized paper muffin cups in your muffin pan.  Each should be about 2/3 full.  Place muffins in a pre-heated 400 degree oven and bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until browned.  Use a toothpick inserted in the center to test for doneness.  The toothpick will come out clean when muffins are done.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  Serve warn or at room temperature. 

Note:               If not needing to be a vegan recipe, you may use regular milk.

Note:               If chocolate is not an option for you, use chopped toasted
                           Walnuts instead.

Note:               You’ll need 3 medium bananas for this recipe.  The very
                           ripe bananas give the best flavor.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Egg Free Baking and Cooking Suggestions

Yesterday my "Guest Dietitian" talked about "Egg Allergies" and baking/cooking without eggs.  Be sure to go back to yesterday's blog if you missed it and see what Jessica had to say on the subject.

Here are a few suggestions from Jessica to get you started:

  1. Soft fruits with high pectin content such as bananas, applesauce, canned peaches and pumpkin puree are great for replacing egg in sweet baked items such as pancakes, waffles, muffins and quick breads.  Generally, a 1/4 cup of mashed or pureed fruit will replace 1 egg in a recipe.  Try using pureed baby food fruits or prunes for an easy egg replacer - they come in small jars and so you'll have very little waste, if any.  Fruit will provide the necessary moisture but will not give baked goods a light and fluffy rise so be sure that when using them there is also baking powder or baking soda in the recipe for added leavening power.
  2. Silken Tofu is a great stand in for eggs as it will take on the flavor of whatever you're cooking.  Whipped or blended tofu works great in lasagna and meat balls and can also be used in sweet baked goods like those mentioned above.  Be sure to buy silken tofu since firmer varieties will not blend well.  Use 1/4 cup blended tofu to replace 1 whole egg. 
  3. Ground Flax Seeds can be whisked together with warm water and allowed to thicken before adding to a recipe.  To use, grind 1 tablespoon of whole flax-seeds in a coffee or spice grinder (or use 2 1/2 tablespoons of pre-ground flax-seed which is often referred to as "flax meal") and whisk together with 3 tablespoons of warm water.  Allow a few minutes for the mixture to thicken or gel before using.  Ground Chia seeds can also be used in this manner.
  4. Plain Yogurt can also be used as an egg replacement.  If you're vegan, consider using soy or coconut milk yogurts instead.  1/4 cup yogurt will replace 1 egg in a recipe.
  5. Commercial Egg Replacers such as Ener-G (Energ link) are easy to use and versatile.  They can be found at most health food stores, larger well stocked grocers and on-line.  Egg replacers such as these are flavorless and work best in baked goods such as cookies, pancakes, waffles and muffins but can also be used as a binder in savory dishes or casseroles or meatloaf.
See?  You really can have your cake and eat it too.  Happy Baking!  Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins tomorrow on Friday's blog.  I hope this has helped you some on "Egg Allergies" and "Egg Free Baking/Cooking."  If you have more questions about this subject, you can e-mail Jessica with them.  her e-mail address is

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Guest Dietitian This Week

This week we have a "Guest Dietitian" and I'm keeping it in the family.  Jessica Beacom is my nephew Dean's wife.  They are in the process of building a house in Boulder, Colorado (I lived there in the early 70's).  They have 2 beautiful little girls and one just started walking (running).

Jessica is a very busy wife, mom and worker but finds time for some of her passions.  She enjoys running, gardening, knitting, sewing and needle felting (don't ask me what it is).  She is an avid home cook and baker with more than 20 years of experience in both home and commercial kitchens.  She has been a RD for 10 years.

After the birth of their second daughter, Jessica was diagnosed with an "Egg Allergy."  This almost devastated her and her cooking/baking enjoyment.  However, she has taken up the challenge to learn how to make great tasting food without eggs.  She is learning how to replace eggs in her family's favorite baked goods.  Not one to give up easily, Jessica can be found most days experimenting with new ways to replace eggs.  This has led to her being able to keep the pantry and freezer well stocked with healthy and delicious baked goods and wholesome meals.

I'm not sure how many of you might have the egg allergy or know someone that does, but hopefully this blog today and tomorrow will give you/them some help.  Please spread the word about this subject for us.  Thanks.

Egg Allergy:

Egg allergies are the second most common allergy in childhood.  Most children will grow out of this allergy by the age of five years, however some never do.  The onset of egg allergy in adulthood is rather uncommon though possible following a period of extreme stress, illness or infection, which can cause a disruption in the type and amount of good bacteria in the intestinal tract.

Egg-free baking isn't just for those with egg allergies.  Many people avoid eggs because they follow a vegan diet (no animal products)  or because they've run out of eggs at home and don't want to go out to the store for more.  But bottom line is that you just can't leave the eggs out of a recipe.

Eggs perform different functions in each recipe so depending on what you're making you may need different egg substitutes.  For example, eggs serve as a leavening agent in cakes giving them a light and fluffy texture, in baked goods such as cookies and muffins, the eggs add moisture and act as a binder to hold dry ingredients together.

Also consider whether or not the flavor of the egg substitute is appropriate for the recipe.  Mashed bananas or applesauce will lend a slightly sweet flavor to the final product (think pancakes, cookies, muffins, etc.) so if you're making something savory like lasagna or meatloaf you''ll want to choose something else.

As a general rule, baked items that have 1 or 2 eggs in the recipe are better suited for egg replacers that those with 3 or more eggs.

When removing eggs from a recipe you have to replace them with something of a similar consistency and moisture content.  Commercial egg replacers (such as Ener-G brand) are available and work well but you can also use real food that you probably already have on hand.  If using an egg replacer, be sure to read the label.  Egg substitute is not necessarily the thing as many contain powdered or liquid egg whites.

Tomorrow I will give you some of Jessica's suggestions to get you started.  Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins is the recipe on Friday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last Week's Happenings & Guest Dietitian This Week

I had a fun week doing a dinner for 8 very nice ladies and going to a Chocolate Party on Saturday night.

Thursday night I cooked a 5 course dinner with items from my cookbook and this food blog.  The ladies loved it.  I did Crab Cakes and Garlic Bread from the blog.

The cookbook items included Cream of Broccoli (Cauliflower) Soup.  The recipe in the cookbook is for Broccoli but in one of the notes it mentions using Cauliflower instead.  When using Cauliflower the pieces are larger and so I used my stick blender to break them up.  You could puree it but I like leaving some tiny pieces.  My wife sampled it and likes it better than the Broccoli version.

Continuing, I served Jane's Salad & Dressing, the Pasta & Shrimp entree and closed with the Cinnamon Cake recipe with a little Vanilla Ice Cream.

Then on Saturday night, we went to the Annual Chocolate Party we have been attending for years with our friends.  I made the Party Shrimp Dip and served it with 2 different crackers.  There wasn't any left and I had made a double recipe.  This recipe is from the blog as is the other recipe for that night.

I made Fran's Bars but deviated to the notes again.  The original recipe calls for yellow cake mix and chocolate chips.  I had mentioned in the blog a week or so ago that someone had tried the recipe but changed out the yellow for chocolate cake mix and used peanut-butter chips in place of chocolate ones.  Well if you like chocolate and peanut-butter, this is for you.

This week we have a Guest Dietitian on the blog.  She is the wife of one of my nephews.  She has been a Dietitian for 10 years and has recently become egg intolerant.  So she is going to address this issue and give a great recipe that deals with the problem.

Have a great week and tell someone or share the blog with friends.  Thanks.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Citrus Salad (Mexico)

Citrus Salad (Mexico)
Entrée Size
(2 servings)


1 each Fresh Red Grapefruit
1 each Fresh Orange
1 each Fresh Mango (optional)
1 each Fresh Pear
½ Cooked Rotisserie Chicken (from store)
¼ cup Walnuts, chopped (candied-optional)
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
juice from the Fresh Orange
to taste Salt & black Pepper
2 heads Romaine Lettuce, chopped


Using a sharp knife, segment the grapefruit and orange into a medium size bowl.  To segment do the following.  Slice off the top and bottom of the orange just enough to remove the skin.  Then place the orange with the cut bottom placed on the cutting board.  Start by slicing, from the top to bottom, all the skin away from the orange to expose the flesh.  Now holding the orange in your hand, take the knife (paring size) and slice into the flesh next to the segment skin towards the center.  On that same segment, now slice into the flesh against the inside of the segment skin on that same segment.  This should allow the orange wedge you have just cut to should fall into the bowl below.  Repeat this process all the way around the orange until all the segments have been cut away.  Now set the remains of the orange aside for later and repeat the process with the grapefruit.  Peal and core the pear (and Mango, if using) and dice into cubes.  Put in bowl with the orange and grapefruit.  Take the chicken and remove the meat from the bones and dice.  Add the chicken meat and nuts to the bowl with fruit.  In a small bowl, place the EVOO, vinegar and the juice from squeezing the remains of the orange.  Whisk this mixture with a wire whip until incorporated.  Add salt and pepper to taste to the dressing and mix with all the items in the fruit bowl.  Place Romaine on dinner plates and top with the fruit and chicken mixture.  Serve with some good bread.

Note:               On the walnuts, you can use other nuts if you prefer.  You can
                           also candy the nuts by placing sugar (about a 1/8 of a cup) to
                           the ¼ cup of nuts in a dry sauté pan over medium heat.  Stir
                           the mixture until it caramelizes and then let cool.  Break the nut
                           mixture up and use in the salad.

Note:               You can skip the chicken and divided the salad into smaller
                           portions to use as a side salad with a meal too.

Note:               You can substitute fresh spinach for the romaine if you desire.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pulled Pork Baked Potato

Pulled Pork Baked Potato
(2 servings)


2 each 12 oz. Baking Potatoes
As needed Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
As needed Kosher Salt
18 oz. container Lloyd’s BBQ Pulled Pork
½ cup Sour Cream
½ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 each Green Onion, sliced (white & green parts)
As needed BBQ Sauce (your favorite)


Wash and dry potatoes before applying the EVOO to each potato.  Just put a little in your hands and rub all over and then sprinkle with the salt, again all over.  Place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours depending on thickness.  Heat the pulled pork in the microwave for 1 minute on high.  Remember to cover but to have lid loose on top.  When finished, stir and microwave for 1 minute more on high.  Stir and let sit for 2 minutes before topping the potatoes with the pulled pork.  Add the other toppings and enjoy.

Note:               You can use other toppings for this recipe.  Remember it is to
                           meet your taste preferences.

Note:               Since you have the oven on, you might want to add Roasted
                           Asparagus (recipe is in my cookbook) to go with the meal.

Note:               Lloyd’s also has Pulled Beef and Pulled Chicken if you want
                           some variety.  I believe that all 3 come in 2 different BBQ
                           sauce flavors.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dinner doesn't have to take long or be complicated.

I had a few blog readers comment that they don't have the time or energy (patience) to cook anything that takes too much time and effort.

Everyone's life is hectic and always changing so it is hard to plan or give too much time to eating.  It's so much easy just eating out or ordering in.  But it is also much more expensive to do this all the time.  I mention in the cookbook that cooking is just like life, it takes planning and organization.  Think about your job.  What would happen if you treated your job like you do eating.  Instead of planning how you where going to run an important meeting, you just said "let it happen."  You probably wouldn't be working there too much longer, would you?

Well cooking or meal planning works the same way.  There are a lot of things you can do to take the stress out of cooking.  Slow Cookers (Crock-pots) can be very helpful.  Many of the recipes just call for you to throw everything in the slow cooker, turn in on low and eat 8, 10 or 12 hours later.  Plus there are usually leftovers for another meal.  Sometimes they want you to brown the meat.  But even then, you can skip that process with many recipes.  The meat just won't be as dark as if you had browned it.

Another thing to remember about cooking your meals:  You don't have to make everything from scratch.  I talk about this in the cookbook too.  It's crazy to think that you need to do that.  But it is also crazy to go totally the other way too.

It's OK to cook some pasta, heat some jar sauce (add something to it if you want), make an easy salad or cook a vegetable (fresh are best) to go with it.  Make the "Garlic Bread" recipe from the blog to go with it and you have a quick easy meal.  The garlic butter for the bread recipe stores well and lasts a long time in the fridge.

An entree dinner salad can be quick and easy too.  The fresh "Rotisserie" chicken that you can buy everyday in the store is just great for this meal.  Add a little bread (the good stuff) from the store bakery and you can have that quick & healthier meal you're looking for when you get home.  I have a recipe I picked up in Mexico last month that would work great here.

The salad recipe and another quick favorite of my wife and mine are this week's recipes on the blog.  We will make a meal of a large baked potato that is topped with BBQ meat and other items.  Check them both out Thursday and Friday.

Remember, just get organized and plan a little.  Dinner doesn't have to be stressful and take all night.

Next week, we have a guest "Dietitian."  She will talk about "Egg Free Baking" because more and more people are coming up with allergies.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Comments & Updates

The groundhog saw his shadow and we got snow in Northwest Missouri.  But not as bad as Colorado and Nebraska, thank God.  With 6 more weeks of winter, remember soups and comfort foods help keep you warm and comfy.

I heard back from a blog reader on "Fran's Bars" which I posted as a recipe in week 36.  I had mentioned that you could change out some flavors and the reader took me up on it.  Lynn (the reader) switched out the yellow cake mix for chocolate cake mix.  She then used peanut-butter chips instead of the chocolate chips.  The result was very successful as she said they tasted like Reese's Peanut-Butter Cups.  They were very rich so she had to limit herself to just one at a time.  She did't mention how long the time between pieces really was-so your guess on how long you should wait.

Thank you for the feedback and please, everyone, continue to give me feedback (good & bad).

I did another KQ2 "Hometown This Morning" show yesterday.  I demonstrated the "Easy Cheesecake" recipe for all you cooks looking for something simple and tasty for your Valentine.  Did it yesterday using cherry pie filling as the topper.  Bob and William loved it!  Here is the link Easy Cheesecake.  I'm having fun doing the food segments on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month.  Next show is February 20th and it airs between 6:45 and 7:00 AM CST on KQ2 in St. Joseph, Missouri.

This week, I'm going to talk about meals for people who don't have the time or patience and a couple of recipes.

Have a great week and hopefully watch the snow melt.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Banana Bread

Banana Bread
From “Olive Destination”
(1 loaf)


1 cup All Purpose Flour
½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Cinnamon
6 tbsp. Olive Destination All Natural Butter Flavored EVOO
2/3 cup Sugar
2 large Fresh Eggs
1 cup Ripe Bananas, mashed (about 2)
½ cup Toasted Walnuts, chopped


In a large mixing bowl, combine the first five (5) ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the EVOO, sugar and eggs.  Now fold in the mashed bananas and chopped nuts with the other wet ingredients.  Then mix the wet and dry ingredients together until just incorporated - do not over mix.  Scrape batter into a greased standard 5x9 loaf pan and place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan.  Return loaf to the rack and cool completely before serving.

Note:               You may want to use Pecans in place of the Walnuts

Ideas for Future Efforts

Friday, February 3, 2012

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
(about 1 cup)


¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar (your choice of product)
2 tsp. Dark Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Chopped Garlic
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
¾ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


In a medium size mixing bowl, beat together with a whisk the first five (5) ingredients until the sugar and salt dissolves.  Now slowly add the EVOO as you continuously whisk the mixture.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Note:               You can always use my Mason jar technique and simply put
all the ingredients into the jar and shake until well combined.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Working with Olive Oils, Things You Should Know! (Part 2)

A couple of more reasons for EVOO's popularity are the fact that it contains no additives, it is pure.  EVOO also contains a high content of vitamins and nutrients.  It's good for your heart too.

EVOO has only been around since the 60's or 70's.  Stainless Steel was needed for the process as EVOO only comes from the first press and uses no heat or additives.  But since it's inception, it has become the number one oil for chefs and cooks the world over.

There is a problem out there though.  Some EVOO is not what you think it is and it is legally done.  I am attaching a link to a story on this subject that we forwarded to me by Mary Ann, one on my blog readers.  I believe you will find it interesting.  Losing 'Virginity': Olive Oil's Scandalous Fraud

My best thought on this is to buy your EVOO from a trusted source.  I'm a member of Costco and believe they have great product integrity.  So I buy all my Olive Oils from them.  If you are happy with the Olive Oil that you are using, then continue with it.  If you have concern, then maybe e-mail Sandy (from yesterday's blog) and ask for her option on the subject.

Virgin Olive Oil comes from the same first pressing but may contain a higher acidity than EVOO.  EVOO is around 1.0% and Virgin Olive Oil can be as high as 3.3%.  Although the industry tries to keep it around 2.0%.  To be honest, you don't see a lot of this in stores (exception is large stores or specialty stores).

The Pure Olive Oil (usually just labeled Olive Oil) has been more refined and has less nutrients.  This makes it less expensive and best for high heat cooking.  This Olive Oil doesn't make for good salad dressings or dipping sauces.

I hope this has been interesting and some what educational for you.  Remember to just enjoy using good quality Olive Oils as you have fun in your kitchen.  Tomorrow some recipes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Working with Olive Oils, Things You Should Know! (Part 1)

I've been asked by many people about what oil/oils to use in cooking and why.  There are many different kinds or types of cooking oils, so it can be difficult to know what to use.  I believe most professional chefs/cooks have their favorite oils to use for different applications.

I normally limit myself to using three different types of oils.  I prefer to use Olive Oils, Canola Oil and Peanut Oil for everything I do in the kitchen.  We're not discussing Canola and Peanut oils today.  The best use for Peanut Oil is for deep frying and/or pan frying foods because it has a higher smoking point then most oils.  Canola works well for these functions too.  But the Canola Oil also is best used in baking and many salad dressings.  Today it is Olive Oil for our discussion, so let's start.

We could get very technical when talking about Olive Oil, but not in this blog.  I'll try to keep it to basic information that should help you in using it.  There are really five types of Olive Oil, but I will deal with just the main three that most of us are familiar with already.  The five are; Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil, Pure Olive Oil, Olive Pomace Oil and Lite Oil.  Two quick bits on the last two mentioned.  Olive Pomace Oil is basically the lowest grade of Olive based oils and Lite has the same amount of calories as any other Olive Oil.  That being 125 calories per tablespoon.

The most common and most used of the Olive Oils is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil or EVOO as it is referred to by many chefs and cooks.  This one is like fine wine, some are better or more preferred than others.  Some of this is due to the olives that are used and their ripeness when processed.  This will give you different shades or colors of the EVOO.  You will find that different Olive Oils will have different tastes.  If you don't know someone that is well educated on EVOO, then just use the brand that works best for you.

EVOO is best used in making dressings because many think it should not be used in cooking.  But many chefs/cooks like using it for sauteing dishes.  It adds a wonderful flavor.  You just need to be careful because it has a low smoke point when you use it to cook.  EVOO is also great for dipping sauces and you can get many different ones with differing tastes.

I was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in late December and discovered a great new store called "Olive Destination."  I met and talked with Sandy, the owner.  They had only been open a month or two when I was there and the website was not fully up and running.  It is now and so please check them out at Olive Destination.  They sell all types of Olive Oil from stainless steel kegs.  There are some great photos of the place on the website.  If there is anything to do with Olive Oil, this is the place to find it.  Their e-commerce set-up on the website is still coming but Sandy said they can ship anything you need.  Just call and order over the phone or send an e-mail.  Their website is a work in progress and they will be adding a lot more info to it. Sandy is the expert on Olive Oil, so if you have questions let her know.

I will continue on Olive Oils tomorrow.  For now, have a great day!