Author Archives: jeffreyww

Hamburger Noodle Bake

DSC_0299 (1600x1060)This is a family favorite.  You can make these as fancy or as plain as you wish, depending on the time you have or just your mood.  I usually make these in a glass casserole but the big cast iron pan caught my eye this morning while I chopped onions.

Brown a pound or so of ground beef and toss in a chopped onion and a couple chopped ribs of celery and sweat the veggies down before spooning out the excess grease.  While that’s working boil about half a pound of pasta per package directions, and start the cheese sauce.  For this use about three tablespoons of flour with a like amount of butter, a dash of nutmeg and a teaspoon of dry mustard.  Cook the roux down for a few minutes without letting it get much color and whisk in three cups of milk or more – these baked pasta dishes end up way drier than you might imagine.  After the white sauce thickens start stirring in your cheese – today it was cheddar and provolone.  Mix everything together in a large bowl and dump into a greased pan and bake at 350, covered, for 30-40 minutes.  Uncover and add more cheese to the top and bake until the top toasts a tad.DSC_0301 (1600x1060)

Random Wildlife – Egret

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Sammich Pr0n

DSC_0263 (1600x1060)I uploaded this photo the other day but the post was getting long so I left it out.  Today works for me.  Sloppy joe with American cheese all melted in and pickled peppers.  The side is more of the loaded potato salad.


Wow, six days since the last post!  I am so lazy!  We have been busy in the kind of laid back style that meets our definition of lazy.  We installed a new yard hydrant near the back barn to replace one that wasn’t sited just right and was getting increasingly difficult to open and close. 20150416_130454 (Copy)The old hydrant was in the back, next to the mulch, we are bringing it closer to the front of the barn.  It was wetter than ideal but we managed to get the ditch dug and the hydrant hooked up and tested out.DSC_5243 (Copy) We were tardy getting a hummingbird feeder up although it hasn’t been exactly overrun since we got it going – we saw one the other day.  The “Eskimo” Viburnum is just now hitting its peak with tons of compound white blossoms, reminiscent of Hydrangias.  DSC_0283 (1600x1060)We’ve been working the grill pretty hard.  This sammich is from country style ribs that smoked for a few hours.  They got a dry rub and a taste of a BBQ sauce, then were chopped and reheated in a skillet atop the stove to get a nice little crisp going on the edges.  The potato salad is another batch of the loaded potato salad that has become our fave picnic style side dish.DSC02232 (1600x1200)This is an older female cat, 5 yo, an owner surrender.  Mrs J says she is starting to come around from the trauma of separation.  We have no info on why the previous owner dropped her off, could be any number of legitimate reasons, and it’s good that she wasn’t just turned out on her own.  We see that a lot.
DSC_5244 (Copy)I have a start on the herb garden.  From the bottom:  Basil, chives, parsley and another to feed to the caterpillars, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. DSC_5245 (Copy)In the back are two determinate variety tomatoes, iirc they are “Mountain Fresh”, one has been broken over and may need replacement although there is still a leaf left intact with the rest of the stem.  In the foreground are various peppers:  Sweet, hot, and ornamental.  I have sweet bananas, serranos, cayenne, and a sweet Italian red pepper, “Carmen”, that looks similar to the banana peppers in the little photo.  I started some fernleaf dill but it’s looking puny today.  Katie and Jack are keeping a lookout for squirrels and those geese that have found where Mrs J leaves the corn for the deer.DSC_5246 (Copy)I do the veggies and herbs, Mrs J keeps up the flowers.  She has the biggest job.  Our 2002 ATV started acting up, right in the beginning the season, so we opted for this shiny, new 2014 model.  I told the dealer guy to show me one that is as close to the old one as he had, and he came very close.  He was tickled at the low mileage on the old one – we don’t do trail rides, just haul stuff around the place, run to the mailbox, and visit the neighbors on occasion.DSC_0271 (1600x1060)We’ve been eating sammiches or dropping by the local Chinese buffet.  We hit the buffet yesterday at the perfect time, I think, everything was freshly cooked and waiting for the lunch crowd, which we beat.DSC02241 (1600x1200)I rarely put up a photo of a large dog, Mrs J works inside with kittens and puppies, but she took this one of a stray that a local police officer brought in.  He said he would rather St Francis had it that the folks at the county humane shelter down the road.  Mrs J says they are required by law to post photos of strays, she posted the photo to the shelter’s Facebook page to be shared around, hoping the owner will see it and step up.

Sammich Pr0n

DSC_0244 (1600x1060)Sloppy joes are an old standby.  I usually brown the beef with chopped onions and add whatever comes to hand for a sauce – easiest is adding a favorite BBQ sauce but I rarely stop at that.  Ketchup, a squeeze of mustard, steak sauces, soy sauce – I’ve used all of these either singly or in combination.  A few minutes before serving, lay slices of cheese atop the mixture, cover, and let the cheese melt down.  Scoop a portion out with a broad spatula and slide it off onto a waiting bun.DSC_0259 (1600x1060)Mrs J called for grilled hamburgers now that the Weber is set up on the front patio.  I’m usually a pickle, onion, and mustard guy but I like ketchup on occasion.  This one has a slice of provolone that’s just starting to sag.  In a skillet on the stove top I let the cheese melt right on down but I’m not a huge fan of scraping burnt cheese off of a gas grill.

Brussels Sprout Salad

DSC_0238 (1600x1060)I found this recipe while looking for salad ideas and decided to give it a try.  It’s pretty good, not change your life good but it is a nice change of pace.  My mandoline doesn’t like the little fiddly jobs so I used a knife but it went pretty well, I didn’t do a whole lot of them.  I added a packet of Splenda to mine, and a splash of rice vinegar because I thought it needed just a tad more tart.DSC_0239 (1600x1060)The meat of the menu was this pork tenderloin all pounded thin and breaded.  I ate mine with a little chili sauce.  The plate was rounded off with more of that loaded potato salad.  I made a different batch with red potatoes this time but otherwise about the same.  I did drop a glob of yogurt in with the sour cream and mayo for the dressing.DSC_0240 (1600x1060)

Sammich Pr0n – BBQ Pork

DSC_0237 (1600x1060)Another homemade bun with some roast pork and Sweet Baby Ray.  I made the eggs with a dab of the tzatziki, mayo, and a whiff of sour cream.  There are chives in there as well as the dill from the tzatziki.DSC02186 (1600x1060)Bonus Kitteh!  Toby fled under the couch during a thunderstorm, here he is checking to see if it was safe to emerge.

Mmm… homemade pita for gyros

DSC_0228 (1600x1060)We had gyros yesterday using store bought pita loaves and they just weren’t that good.  I’m guessing the turnover on flat breads isn’t very high and they were a tad stale.  I’ve made pitas before but it’s been a while so I looked up a recipe.  The NY Times recipe came up first and it looked to be easy.  We didn’t have any whole wheat flour, fresh milled or otherwise, so these are made with plain AP flour.  The only thing you need to watch for is getting them too brown.  The recipe warns:  “The pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles.”  The brown parts are very dry and fragile and crack apart rather than fold.  I have a pizza stone in my oven, big enough to do two of these at a time without crowding.  A couple of them puffed up like little pillows but most of them just blistered here and there.DSC_0230 (1600x1060)The loaf is from Alton Brown’s recipe, as is the tzatziki sauce. I make a few alterations in his recipe, adding 1/3 part hamburger and several slices of bacon to the loaf recipe and this time I added fresh chopped dill to the yogurt sauce.  I haven’t used lettuce before but I thought it needed a little more green and we had no mint for a garnish.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

DSC_0222 (1600x1060)I see this on offer at the Kroger deli pretty often and I’ve bought, and liked it, but it seemed a tad too expensive so I looked for a recipe.  I found this one and used it for a guide.  This one has two  potatoes and the other ingredients are scaled to suit.  I used four slices of bacon and two or three green onions and a handful of a cheddar/Monterey jack mixture left over from another dish.  Use about 2 to 1 sour cream to mayo in a quantity sufficient to lube it all up.  I boiled 6 eggs to make deviled eggs for an additional side and Mrs J suggested adding a couple to the potato salad.  They work fine in there.  I saw a recipe that mentioned baking the mixture until the cheese melts but I went with a cold dish.  Made an excellent side for the roast pork sammich.


We didn’t do anything in particular for Easter, the only eggs I boiled were for a potato salad.DSC_0198 (1600x1060) Now that the grill is out and tuned up we’ll be enjoying picnic style dinners more often.  These are some baby back ribs I finished off on the grill after cooking them in the oven for an hour.  I was afraid they would be falling apart and hard to transfer but they were still solidly attached to the bone so no problem.  They got a dry rub and then were basted with BBQ sauce for the finish.  Sides are slaw that came from a KFC copycat recipe and the potato salad I mentioned above.DSC02158 (1600x1200)Hi!  I’m Zelda!  This is my box!  I’m 7 months old.DSC02154 (1600x1060)This is MY box!!DSC_0206 (1600x1060)I made another batch of those buns.  Divided the dough into 8 parts and they are huge!  The last batch was cut into 10 and they turned out a tad too small.  I think maybe they didn’t rise as much as this batch.  The rings are from this recipe and they turned out great, again.DSC02002 (1600x1200)This is a 4 month old male and he has a twin brother – they named them Gabriel and George but no one there can say for sure which is Gabe.  They’ve had their shots and have been neutered and are ready to go.DSC_0215 (1600x1060)Thin sliced chicken breasts, dredged in flour, egg, and bread crumbs.  The pink looking spread on the bun is a sriracha aioli with a dab of sour cream mixed in.  Tasty!  I don’t remember when I bought that asparagus but it’s been in the fridge, standing on end in a tumbler in a few inches of water, covered with the plastic bag I brought them home from the market in.  Aside from a little loss of color on the bottom end they stayed in very good shape.  I’m sure it’s been over a week.DSC_0197 (1600x1060)Here’s another of those huge buns.  That’s a half pound burger and it looks puny in there.  And those fries!  I bought a bag of jumbo potatoes and pulled out a couple to cut for fries and they were the biggest I’ve ever brought home.  Look at that log!


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