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Butterbeans and Cornbread

DSC_1430 (1600x1060)We made a run up to a local meat processing place a while back.  It’s just a tad too far away to make spur of the moment purchases or to include in weekly grocery runs.  We take coolers up there when we go and plan on filling them up with various items.  One thing they offer that just puts Kroger’s meat section to shame are their smoked ham hocks.DSC_1425 (1600x1060)This is half of one.  They brought out two whole hocks and asked if we wanted them cut down.  Yes, please!  They are cured and just lightly smoked.  I boiled this one for almost three hours so I could break it apart with a pair of forks.  I cut the rind into lardons and crisped them as bacon and used those crumbled crisps and the rendered fat in the cornbread.DSC_1426 (1600x1060)This is the standard back of the box cornbread recipe, with chopped peppers and a handful of shredded cheddar to go with those bacon-y crisps.DSC_1428 (1600x1060)Recipe for the beans?  This one is pretty good!  The minced veggies add a bit of color and the seasoning suggestions are on point.

Full Dinner Menu: Hearty Tomato Soup and a Couple of Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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Awesome Photo by JeffreyW

This is one of my favorite menus, perfect for a chilly week.

For a different take on grilled cheese, JeffreyW makes Inside Out Grilled Cheese here.

This not your mom’s canned soup or grilled cheese.  These are tasty, hearty and easy to whip up.  And the flax cookies are addictive (I can say this because it’s a friend’s recipe).  On the board tonight:

  1. Hearty Tomato Soup
  2. Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  3. Flax Cookies

Hearty Tomato Soup

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes*
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions, including greens
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 quart saucepan

In a blender, mix tomatoes, garlic, carrots, celery & onions. Blend until liquid. In saucepan, combine tomato mixture with spices, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let bubble (don’t let boil or use high heat, it will scorch) for 5 minutes. Add flour to cold milk, blend until smooth, add to soup. Let bubble again, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

* This is the time to use up any left over garden tomatoes, instead of canned. Blend until you have 4 cups of crushed tomatoes.

Totally Awesome Grilled Cheese

For each sandwich:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • Enough favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.  to cover bread (about 3 slices)
  • Sliced Jalapeños (if you want some heat)
  • 1 large slice of tomato w/dash of salt
  • 1-2 tsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Butter
  • Spray Oil

Spread salad dressing on both slices of bread and add ½ of the cheese to one slice of bread, place tomato & jalapenos on the cheese and top with remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, this keeps bread from getting soggy from the tomato. Lightly butter outside of both sides of the sandwich and grill in skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly oiled on medium heat until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. While it is grilling, press down hard with a spatula, “squishing” the sandwich. We don’t know why, but this makes them taste better.  :-)

Flax Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds

Bowl & cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients together and then fold into egg mixture until well blended. Mix in almonds and drop by the spoonful onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, don’t let them brown.

Shopping List:

  • 28 oz canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes (4-6 large)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 8 oz carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread (or favorite firm bread)
  • 8 – 10 oz favorite cheese (Velveeta, cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc)
  • 1- 2 Jalapenos or 2 oz pickled Jalapenos
  • 1 large tomato for slicing
  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 2 sticks + butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground flax

Also: crushed garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, oil spray

Originally posted October 2009


Jalapeno Bacon Cheese Beer Bread

DSC_1147 (1600x1060)Sounds more involved than it really is – it’s a one hour no rise recipe.  It sounded like the perfect thing to serve with the posole I have simmering.  I had a little bit of cheddar so this one was made with shredded Parmesan to round it out.

Panera’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

DSC_0785 (1600x1060)I wish I’d gone with the white bowl for this, I really thought there would be more contrast.  This is a copycat recipe, as far as I know, nowhere does it indicate it’s an actual Panera recipe.  I stayed right with the recipe as written except I added an extra handful of shredded Parmesan I had out for the garlic toast.  I can say that it’s a damn good soup, we both gave it two thumbs up.DSC_0788 (1600x1060)I couldn’t resist making a sammich out of the leftovers.

Pasta Pr0n – Chili Spaghetti

DSC_0345 (1600x1060)I’m sure the gentlefolk in Ohio would take it amiss if I called this Cincinnati style so I’ll just take a whiff on the name.  I had a little ground beef left from the sliders and I figured beans would stretch that into something I could use for supper today.  Worked great for enough chili to make this dish.

Simple Sunday Supper

DSC_0052 (1600x1060)… because who can resist alliteration?  It may be hardwired, notwithstanding the bleats of English majors who claim to hate it.  Call me a rebel.

I call this one simple because it really was – the local market had a sale on thin sliced chicken breasts so I didn’t even have to get out the meat mallet.  It scares the critters, all that pounding.  That, or my vocal accompaniment.  “Serves you right to suffer!  Serves you right to be fla-at!”

The chicken slices were dipped in beaten egg and then dredged in seasoned bread crumbs and then quickly fried in a quarter inch of oil.  The cauliflower was boiled for a few minutes and then tossed with a cheddar mornay sauce.  DSC_0055 (1600x1060)I’ve pretty much settled on using the microwave to jump start baked potatoes and then finishing them in a 450-ish oven to set the skins.  Coat them with oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and set them on a baking tray for the oven.  Timing will depend on your particular set-up but potatoes are very forgiving, just check for done with a fork.

Tex-Mex Lasagna

DSC_9787 (1600x1060)I may be in trouble for calling this lasagna because no pasta is involved, it uses corn tortillas between layers of refried beans, salsa, beef, and cheese.  Cook a pound of ground beef down with minced peppers and onions and season with taco spices and add a can of tomato bits with green chilies.  Add chicken stock to a couple of cans of rinsed pinto beans and mash them down over medium heat.  The beans play much the same role as ricotta in an Italian lasagna, spread the refried beans over warmed corn tacos, spoon on your favorite salsa, then spread the beef atop that, and then cheese.  I used cheddar but Monterey jack would work, or a combination.  Repeat the layering until you run out of room in your casserole.  Any kind of luck your makings will run out the same time as the room in the dish.

Parmesan Potato Soup with Bacon

DSC_9465 (1600x1060)This turned out pretty well.  The bacon made that a foregone conclusion but the Parmesan was an experiment gone good.  I simmered potato pieces in chicken broth until they were soft and then pureed everything in the pot with an immersion blender.  The bacon crisped up in a separate pan and was added after the blender did its job – save a little for garnishing at the table.  There’s some milk in there to thin it, lots of grated Parmesan and some cheddar I had leftover from burritos.  Seasonings include dried thyme, oregano, fresh ground black pepper and salt.  I used the same microplane grater I grated the Parm with on a little bit of carrot that you can see in the photo if you look hard.DSC_9462 (1600x1060)Since I am  lunatic I took the chance to add a little color to the plate with a healthy slug of my hot sauce.  It was good but I wouldn’t let the lack of it dissuade me from demolishing a future bowl of this soup.

Breakfast Pr0n – Burrito

DSC_9461 (1600x1060)I’ve loved these things ever since my first introduction at a jobsite where they were being sold out of a cooler by a fellow helping out a girlfriend.  This one is beef and bean with a cheese omelet all rolled up together.  I’m really liking my hot sauce, I’ll be making more of this stuff.  The cayennes I used didn’t heat it nearly so much as I thought they might.  I believe a few habaneros will go into the next batch.

Dinner Menu: Stuffed Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

Thought it was time for some end-of-summer burgers. I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheese burger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some plums or peaches and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Raw Vegetable Tray
  5. Plums

Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed Burger Final

Ingredients for each burger:

  • 4 oz ground beef
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (opt)
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar, sliced thin
  • 2 or more slices of pickled jalapenos

Mix salt, pepper and garlic into the ground beef. Form two, 2-oz patties. Place jalapenos on one burger, cheese on the other.


Place the two sides together and seal the edges completely. Gently flatten the burger, but be careful because you don’t want the cheese busting out of the center.


The key to grilling or frying these is low and slow. Medium heat seals them and allows the cheese to melt without drying the burger out. I flipped at the 5 minute mark, but depending on the heat, 3-4 minutes may be enough to flip. They’re thin, so the beef cooks quickly, but you want to make sure the cheese melts. I would say minimum 4 minutes per side.

If cheese starts to leak out, flip and flip again as needed. DON’T press down on these burgers while you grill, you’ll have a cheesy mess.

Now the warning. Did I say WARNING? Yes I did. You’ll need to rest these burgers to let the cheese cool a bit. Otherwise you could be biting into a scalding cheese center. You’ve been WARNED.

That’s the basics, now let your imagination run wild. Maybe I should have titled this, How To Stuff A Wild Burger.

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

large bowl or baking dish and baking sheet

Cut potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 lengthwise slices. In bowl, toss with remaining ingredients and place in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, turn and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown outside and tender inside.


If you grilled the burgers you can also grill the plums. Slice in half, remove the pits and grill over low heat

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack
  • sliced jalapenos (I use pickled)
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 4 large Kaiser rolls
  • Favorite raw vegetables
  • Vegetable dip
  • 4 to 8 plums

Also: cumin, Cajun spice, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, crushed garlic



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