Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oven Roasted Fall Vegetables

Oven Roasted Fall Vegetables
(5-6 servings)


1 large Yellow Onion (clean, peel & slice lengthwise into 6 wedges leaving root end intact)
2 medium Russet Potatoes (clean & slice in half lengthwise, slice each half into ½ inch slices)
2 medium Turnips (clean, peel & slice into 6 wedges each)
2 large Carrots (clean & slice into 3 inch lengths, half large ends lengthwise)
2 medium Parsnips (clean, peel & slice as you did the carrots)
1 medium Butternut Squash (clean, peel, slice in half, seed and slice into 3x1 inch pieces)
2 medium Sweet Potatoes (clean & slice in half lengthwise, slice each half into ½ inch slices)
5 – 10 cloves Fresh Garlic (remove skins and crush)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary (strip sprigs so the rosemary can be sprinkled on)


Put all the vegetables except sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add the oil, salt and pepper to bowl and mix by hand to coat. Spread the vegetable mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet (use two if needed) and sprinkle with rosemary. Place cooking sheet(s) in a pre-heated 400 degree over and bake for 15 minutes. Stir gently so vegetables don't stick and add the sweet potatoes. Continue roasting vegetables remembering to stir about every 15 minutes. Roast for about 1 hour or until vegetables are browned and tender. Place roasted vegetables on a platter(s), season as needed with salt & pepper and serve.

Note: I suggest that you try the recipe this way the first time. Then change the mix to meet your taste desires.

Note: You can also adjust the seasoning. You might want to add some thyme to the rosemary. You might want different herbs entirely. Remember you want it to taste good for you and the others at the table.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stewed Apples

Stewed Apples
(4 – 6 servings)


4 tbsp. Molasses
¼ cup Rum
4 tbsp. Butter (½ stick)
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp. Ground Ginger
1 doz. grates Fresh Nutmeg (½ tsp. ground)
½ tsp. Allspice
¼ tsp. Salt
6 large Apples, peeled, cored & medium dice (apple type-your choice)
as needed Vanilla Ice Cream (to top stewed apples)


Combine all the ingredients except the apples in a medium sauce or saute pan with lid. Now add the apples and mix again. Place the pan over low heat with lid partially covering. Simmer mixture gently for about 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Divide apples among 4 to 6 bowls and top with desired amount of ice cream. Eat immediately.

Note: If you don't like rum, use apple brandy. If you don't want alcohol, use apple juice or water instead.

Note: It may take longer or shorter time to cook depending on your choice of apple. I believe any will work (even a mixture of apples) but recommend using an apple type that you like to eat.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Fruits & Vegetables

We're officially into fall and with that comes new in season fruits and vegetables.  In today's world most fruits and vegetables are now available year-round.  That's because they are in season somewhere in this world and are now shipped globally.  But I am based in the USA and will talk about what is normally available in the fall.

Some fruits that are harvested in the fall include grapes, cranberries and apples.  I'd have to say that apples are the first fruit to come to mind when you mention fall fruits.  The amazing thing about apples is all the variety that there is today.  When I was a little boy the only types of apples we know were "Granny Smith or Green Apples" and "Red Delicious Apples."  Those were the only two kinds you would fine in a grocery store back in the late 50's or early 60's.   Today there must be at least 20 different varieties of apples.  "Honey Crisps" are probably today's most popular and expensive apple type.

The apples today are all made for a particular need.  Some are very good for baking.  Others for being used raw in different dishes.  Some are better for making my "Apple Butter" than others.  But I still think it comes down to which ones meet your taste-bud requirements.  So enjoy whichever one (or ones) you like in all the ways you use them.  This week I have a recipe for "Stewed Apples" that is easy and tasty.

There are many fall vegetables to try and enjoy.  Potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes are a few that quickly come to mind.  There are four from the cabbage family.  Green and red cabbage of course, but also cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  Another common one is the pumpkin too.  A few that will throw you off a bit are spinach, zucchini and Belgian endive.  I think most people think of these as spring or summer vegetables but they true season is fall.

One thing that all these vegetables have in common is they are very good for you.  They help fulfill daily needs of vitamins and also offer great anti-cancer properties.  There is a reason we are told to eat many servings of fruits and vegetables each day.  I know some people can be a little picky about what fruits and vegetables they will eat.  Fine, if you won't try a wide variety of them at least eat a lot of the ones you do like.

My second recipe this week is for "Oven Roasted Fall Vegetables" which are good and healthy for you. You can always mix it up a little with other vegetable choices if you're afraid to try a few of them.

So enjoy these recipes or try other ones calling for fall fruits and vegetables.  In the mean time, "Happy Cooking" until next week.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spicy Red Beer

Spicy Red Beer
(about 3/8 gallon)


1 (12 oz.) can Tomato Juice (cold)
½ tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
½ tbsp. Frank's Hot Sauce
1 tbsp. Olive Juice (from olive jar)
3 (12 oz.) cans/bottles Beer (cold) (your favorite)
as needed Stuffed Olives (garnish)


Combine tomato juice, Worcestershire, Frank's and olive juice in a large jug or pitcher. Carefully add the beer and stir. Serve in appropriate cups and garnish with a few olives per cup.

Note: You can adjust the hot sauce to meet your heat tolerance or eliminate.

Note: You could use V-8 in place of tomato juice. Then adjust hot sauce if needed.

Note: Celery garnish would be good too.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Caramel Nibbles

Caramel Nibbles
(around 25 ½ cup servings)


8 cups Crispex Cereal
8 oz. Pretzels (tiny pretzel shaped ones)
2 cups Mixed Nuts
½ cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp. Light Karo Syrup
2 tsp. Vanilla


In a large bowl mix the crispex, pretzels and nuts and set aside. In a sauce pan over medium heat combine the butter, sugar and syrup. Heat to a boil and continue for one minute. Remover pan from the heat and add the vanilla to hot mixture. After combining well, pour over the crispex mix and toss gently. Spread the mixture out on a rimmed cookie sheet or two and let cool. When cool place mixture in large zip-lock bags until ready to eat.

Note: You can use other chex mix cereals or a combination of them for a little change in taste.

Note: I'm a cashew nut fan. If you have a favorite nut, use it instead of the mixed nuts to make it your own snack mix.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tailgating Season Again

I know we're already a few weeks into the football (USA style) season but I've given "Tailgating Ideas" several times over the years.  But here are a few reminders and some new things to think about for future tailgating activities.

The first thing to do is "Plan" your tailgate ahead of time.  Then "Execute" that plan.  That means knowing your menu (food & beverage) and procuring everything you need (product & equipment) to pull it off.

Some things to think about as you do this is multiple coolers and extra bottles of water.  The multiple coolers are more for safety but also depending on the size of your group.  For safety, you want to keep the beverages cold but away from the food.  We don't want any cross-contamination with raw food and grabbing your favorite cold one.  The food should be in coolers too so that everything stays cold and safe. Raw foods should have their own cooler.  Again, think food safety.  All your condiments and prepared foods can share a cooler or two depending on amount.  Another cooler is needed if you are icing glasses for the serving of those adult beverages too.

I now most tailgate parties have many adult beverages.  Just remember moderation and who's driving after the game.  But in addition, you need to have plenty of bottled water.  Tailgating can go on for hours and you need to think "Hydrate" and those adult beverages don't help that.  So drink some water in between your adult beverages.  Out in the sun all day can be hard on your body and you do want to be around when the team wins to celebrate.

I've got two new recipes for this season's tailgating.  They are a snack I first had from my sister-in-law, Nadine and an adult beverage.  The "Caramel Nipples" are addictive so be careful.  The recipe for the adult beverage is for "Spicy Red Beer" by the pitcher.  If you have not tried a red beer before, you're in for a treat. below I've put links to previous recipes from the blog over the years that are great to use for tailgating.  Just click on the appropriate recipe to bring it up.

Snack items under "Odds & Ends Recipes" include; Guacamole (Villa del Arco) (V), Tomato Corn Salsa (V), Roasted Red Pepper & Artichoke Dip (V), Party Shrimp DipGouda Cheese Logs (V), Hot Spice Olives (V), Quick Sweet Dill Pickles (V) and Mango Salsa (V).

Under "Beverage Recipes" try one of these quantity sized drinks so all you have to do is pour.  Bloody Mary's (V), A Basic Sangria Recipe (V), Rum Party Punch (V) or Vodka Party Punch (V).

Under "Sandwich Recipes" try; Bacon & Cheddar Stuffed BurgersChicken BurgersPulled PorkGrilled Portobello Mushrooms (V) and Cuban Sandwich.  That's just a few of them.

Under "Entree Recipes" try; BBQ Shredded Beef (Slow Cooker)Grilled Chicken WingsJambalaya (Slow Cooker) or Pineapple & Kielbasa Kebabs.

I hope you got a few ideas out of this blog for all your upcoming "Tailgating Events" and "Happy Cooking" until next week.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
(6 servings)


4 large (2 tbsp.) Fresh Cloves Garlic, minced
3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large head Fresh Cauliflower, separated into florets
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
to taste Salt & Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped (optional)


Place the garlic, oil and florets in a gallon size zip-lock bag and shake well. Using a greased 9x13 baking dish, pour the cauliflower mixture into the it and level out. Bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 25-30 minutes stirring halfway through. Turn oven to broil. Top mixture with cheese and parsley (if using), place under broiler and continue for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: You could try this recipe with different vegetables such as broccoli and brussels sprouts.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic
(about ½ cup)


3 or 4 bulbs Fresh Garlic
1 to 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
to taste Salt and Black Pepper


Slice off the top of each bulb so flesh shows. Peel any loose papery skin off each bulb. Place a large piece of foil in a baking dish just large enough to hold the garlic. Put bulbs in foil lined dish and drizzle over each with oil. Season with salt and pepper and close the foil tightly to cover bulbs.. Place baking dish in a pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes or until soft and golden. If it is not golden brown at this time, open the foil and continue for about 15 minutes or until golden brown Remove and let cool before proceeding. Now squeeze the soft garlic from the bulbs and use in a variety of recipes.

Note: The roasted garlic can be frozen for future use too. Just portion into amounts needed for future recipes. Ice cube trays work well for this process. That way you can put the frozen cubes in a large zip-lock bag and just take out what is needed each time.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Garlic: It's Many Forms & Uses

One of the first things people think of when "Garlic" is mentioned bad breath.  That's because garlic can be quite strong and gives off an equally strong odor.  I'm sure that is how garlic became one of the weapons against vampires.  It's strong odor would ward off vampires from intended victims.  To my best recollection, I've never seen an "Italian Vampire" because they could never give up an ingredient that is so prevalent in their food.

But garlic doesn't have to be that strong to help flavor a dish.  Besides, if everyone is having garlic flavored foods, who's to notice any strange odor.  Enough of that for now.  Let's get serious about garlic and all the ways it is used in cooking.

Fresh garlic comes as a bulb with many individual cloves in it.  The bulb has a dry paper-like skin on it and each clove.  Most recipes call for the use of cloves of garlic, from one to many.  The recipe will also call for the way it wants the garlic to be in the dish.  The most popular ways are; pressed, minced, chopped, crusted and sliced.

Before I give you more on "Fresh Garlic" let me mention that there are other ways of buying and using garlic.  You can buy garlic already processed in jars.  You can find whole cloves, chopped and minced as just a few but these are the most available in stores.

Back to fresh garlic cloves and how to use them.  To use a clove of garlic, one must first remove it from  the bulb of garlic.  The easiest way is to take your hand and mash the bulb with it.  Just hard enough to loosen the cloves and then pull one off.  Or the number needed for the recipe.

Each clove is covered with a skin.  Lay the clove on your cutting board and take the side of your "Chef Knife" and mash it with the palm of your hand.  Again, just enough to break it open a little.  Now peel the skin covering off the clove and set it aside.  Repeat process with remaining cloves needed.  Once done, you can proceed to the next step with the garlic.  I'll mention each in the same order as above.

For "Pressed Garlic" you will need a garlic press.  Place the clove in the garlic press and squeeze the handle together to press out the garlic.  The bad thing about this method is that you have to clean the garlic press.  That can be burdensome.  So another way to press garlic is the first mince (technique coming in next paragraphs) it.  Once it is minced, add a little salt and use the side of your chef knife again to crush the garlic.  Use a motion with the knife that will bring the garlic towards you.  Then scrape off the garlic and repeat the process until garlic is more of a paste than little pieces.  This will take practice but is well worth mastering.

For "Minced Garlic" you just need a sharp knife.  Take the clove and put the root part (part that was attached to the bulb) towards your off knife hand.  Using the knife, make a horizontal cut into the clove but not through it.  If clove is large, you might make two cuts.  Now make vertical cuts towards the root end as close as possible through the clove.  Next make perpendicular cuts to the previous cuts.  Again as close as possible.  This should leave you with many tiny pieces of garlic.

For "Chopped Garlic" you can follow what you did for minced only make the cuts further apart to make larger pieces.  You can also just slice the garlic clove and then use the chopping motion of your knife to chop up the garlic.  That moment is holding the knife in one hand with the tip of it on the cutting board.  Putting your other hand over the blade end to keep it on the cutting board as you lift and drop the knife to chop the garlic on the board.

For "Crusted Garlic" just use the side of your chef knife and hit it hard with your off hand palm.  This should mash the garlic in a whole piece but allows all the flavor to come out.

For "Sliced Garlic" just make those perpendicular cuts mentioned above in the minced garlic paragraph without making any other cuts before.  This will give you nice slices.  How thick you make the slices may be indicated in the recipe.  If not, always make them thin slices.

So that should get you started with handling garlic for any recipe you wish to produce.  As with anything, it takes a little practice to become comfortable with what you are doing in the kitchen.  Just remember that it is fun to practice because the reward is some tasty food.

This week's recipes are "Roasted Garlic" and Garlic Roasted Cauliflower" to enjoy.  So "Happy Cooking" until next week.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

French Toast Sandwiches

French Toast Sandwich w/Bacon & Cheese
(4 servings)


8 Slices of Bread (your choice)
4 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
8 slices Cheddar Cheese
16 slices Cooked Bacon, (your choice)
2 Whole Eggs
½ Cup Milk
½ Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ Tsp. Sugar


Lay the bread out to start the sandwich assembly. Take the syrup and pour ½ tbsp. on each slice of bread and spread evenly. Next cover each slice of bread with a slice of cheese. Arrange 4 slices of bacon on 4 of the bread slices. Place a bread slice without bacon on top of the bacon covered slice to form a sandwich and set aside. In a flat bottom dish combine the eggs, milk, cinnamon and sugar with a whisk or fork until well incorporated. Now take a sandwich and carefully dip the bottom side slice of bread into the egg mixture. Do not submerge completely but turn over and repeat with other side of sandwich. You want just the bread dipped in egg mixture. Place the dipped sandwich on a pre-heated 375 degree flat grill-plate to cook. Repeat dipping and cooking with the other sandwiches. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. When done, cut each sandwich diagonally and place on a serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar (optional) and serve.

Note: I prefer to use a cottage or potato bread for these sandwiches if I can't get my first choice. That is a loaf of whole country bread from Panera. I slice it myself a little thicker than your usual sliced bread.

Note: You can change out the cheese for one of your favorites. Also, warm cooked sausage patties to cover the size of the bread would be a good substitute for the bacon.

Note: Cook the bacon in your oven on a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Lay the slices out on the paper and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Time will vary because of oven and bacon thickness. Remove the a paper towel lined plate when done. Blot top of bacon with another paper towel.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Baked Brunch Casserole

Baked Brunch Casserole
(8 servings)


1 lb. loaf Bakery White Bread, unsliced
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb. sliced Smoked Bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 large Yellow Onion, halved & thinly sliced
1 (28 oz.) can Whole Italian Tomatoes, drained, chopped & patted dry.
½ lb. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
½ lb. Pepper-jack Cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. Fresh Chives, snipped
1 ¾ cups Chicken Broth
as needed Salt
8 large Fresh Eggs


Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the oil and toss bread cubes to coat. Spread bread out on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and lightly crisp. Be sure to toss once or twice during this time. Set aside to cool. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp (about 8 minutes) stirring as needed. Remove bacon to paper towels and reserve 2 tbsp. of the fat. Add the onions to the fat in the pan and lower heat to medium. Saute until softened stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes). Now add the tomatoes and cook until liquid is evaporated (about 3 minutes). Combine the bread, onion mixture, bacon, both cheeses, chives and broth in the large bowl. Season with salt and spread mixture into a lightly oiled 9x13 glass baking dish. Cover with lightly oiled foil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Remover foil and bake about 15 minutes longer or until top is crispy. Using a large spoon or ladle, make 8 indentations in mixtures top equally spaced for the eggs. Crack an egg in each of the indentations and return dish to the oven for about 15 minutes. Make sure whites are set and yolk is still runny. Cut into 8 sections and serve.

Note: You could use diced ham or crumbled cooked sausage instead the bacon if desired.

Note: You could use diced tomatoes or even fresh ripe tomatoes in recipe. Just be sure to drain and pat dry.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More on Breakfast for Dinner

Thought I'd start off with a couple of photos of the important women in my life.  The one is my mother and wife at the wedding of our son.  The other is my daughter and blog assistant (granddaughter) at the night before wedding event.  I'm a lucky man to have them all in my life.
Wife & Mother at wedding
Granddaughter (blog assistant) & Daughter

Everyone loves to eat breakfast.
But many just don't do it in the morning when they get up for the day.  Then there are those who work/live different shifts so when they get up it''s not the typical morning hours.

Even though "Breakfast" is the most important (or should be) meal of the day, many skip it or do it poorly.

I know I've written about breakfast before and how it makes a great meal anytime of the day.  But I'm going to repeat myself a little today because I feel that strongly about it.

Many of us like to go out for a meal at IHOP, Village Inn or Perkins (to name  a few) or other places that serve breakfast around the clock.  For some reason, everyone loves to have someone else make us breakfast. It's not that breakfast is difficult to make, but it is hard to have the variety of items that you can get at a restaurant.  That might be the biggest motivating reason for it being so popular with everyone.

Let's forget the first meal of the day after you awake for the day. Instead, let's consider enjoying those favorite breakfast items at a different time of the day.  I'm going to talk about preparing these dishes for dinner time (or even lunch).

Why have breakfast at dinner (Supper) time?  I've got three (3) quick answers.  First, I've already mentioned it but it's because everyone loves breakfast foods.  Second, it can help you save on your food budget.  Breakfast dishes are usually a less expensive to make than your normal dinner menus.  I think everyone should have breakfast for dinner once every week.  Third, it's difficult to get everyone to sit down to a meal of breakfast in the morning.  Everyone is rushing around getting ready for work, school or something.  People are not on the same schedule in the morning, so sitting down together is impossible.

To make it more fun (or at least interesting) have a different family member (roommate) be responsible for the meal each week.  This usually helps individuals develop a breakfast specialty they like to make and eat.  It gives more variety to your menus and people don't get sick of having the same thing week after week.

There is also the opportunity to try new recipes or combinations of dishes to find that perfect menu rotation.  You can learn new techniques or procedures as a group.  That helps everyone with their cooking for the future.  Especially the younger ones before they move on (and out) with their lives.

This week's recipes are "Baked Brunch Casserole" and "French Toast Sandwich w/Bacon & Cheese."  I hope you enjoy these recipes or your adjustment of them. While you're at it.  If you have a special or favorite breakfast recipe you would like to share, just let me know.  I'd be happy to post it for others to enjoy too.

In the mean time, "Happy Cooking" until next week.