Blog Archives

Sautéed Spinach with Bacon

I owe you guys not only a puppy update, but also a real recipe thread. We got hit by a cold snap this week and for whatever reason, it just zapped me of all my energy to do anything extra. I worried a lot about the ducks, since I had to keep them cooped while it was sub-twenties. And of course the dogs (along with me) had cabin fever. We did get a good walk in today. I still have to walk them separately, Scout is not ready for that just yet.

This next week promises to be much warmer. Good thing, because I am ready to start cleaning my bed and get ready for gardening.

I was sitting on the couch just now, with the dogs snuggled up, watching the sunset. I am still amazed at the beautiful view I have…thanks to some awesome tree trimmers. That helps tide me over until spring finally arrives.

Cute duck story – I have a box of corn flakes, mostly for them, and I toss a few out for treats. The other day I decided to have a bowl for lunch. When I sat down at the table, there were the ducks, sitting on the steps, looking in the window. I have no idea how they heard me…they were happily playing across the yard before that. Silly ducks.

Pictured above is my quick dinner of BBQ chicken, cast iron cornbread (I cheat and use Krusteaz after a friend recommended it) and spinach with bacon. I’m not big on cooked spinach, but a friend loves it and never had it with bacon, so I had to make it.

Spinach with Bacon

  • 4 strips of thick sliced bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 10 oz of fresh spinach, washed and dried
  • water
  • salt, pepper and vinegar


Add bacon to cold skillet and cook on medium heat. Fry until bacon is crisp (your desired texture, I like it still a bit chewy). Add the spinach, toss with bacon grease, add about 1/4 cup of water to create steam and cover. Cook until spinach is slightly limp. Remove lid and toss with salt, pepper and dash of vinegar (I like malt vinegar, but balsamic, white or red wine vinegar works well, too).

Serve immediately.



Roasted Chicken and Pear Crisp

This is such an easy dinner. Season bone-in chicken thighs with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. I gently pull up the skin and sprinkle spices underneath and replace the skin. I brush a bit of olive oil over them and then place them on top of halved potatoes and zucchini, also brushed with a bit of olive oil. Roast at 375 degrees.

Pear Crisp is delicious. It is my basic Apple Crisp recipe (here), added some walnuts and yum!


Pork Tenderloin Braised In Milk

It doesn’t look like much but the pork turned out so tender you could cut it with a quick glance.  I had no idea cooking in milk was a thing until I saw the recipe in the NY Times food section.  I had a tenderloin and a jug of milk, handy so I gave it a go.  The milk curdled right away but I hung in there with the recipe and strained out the onions and the milk solids.  They were tasty, the recipe suggested they be served on the side but I ended up adding them back to the gravy and running the stick blender to make them into a thick sauce,  Kitchen Bouquet darkened the sauce quite nicely.The first dinner we had was forgettable – sides of a rice pilaf because I had run out of my preferred wild rice mix and some canned corn.  It was better today with the fried potatoes – and much prettier!

Even Better the Next Day

That tortilla soup with sour cream and pico garnishes and buttermilk cornbread.


I was thinking that the potato soup we had the other day really needed a more suitable bread than the everyday white loaf that we had with it.  Pumpernickel came to mind but I’m lazy so it would be more correct to say bread machine pumpernickel came to mind.  Google brought this one to my attention. I didn’t have quite a third cup of molasses but I made do.  Having none, I left out the instant coffee powder.  I suppose I could have subbed coffee for the water in the recipe.  This is one of the simplest pumpernickel recipes I’ve come across and it turned out very well.A side benefit to having pumpernickel bread on hand is that it is among the very best late night TV watching snack foods when paired with a nice dill dip.  When baked in a round loaf it is one of the finest party dishes – just hollow out the loaf, cube the bread you remove, and fill the hole with dip.

Pan Biscuits and Chicken with Veggies in Gravy

This has all the parts of a biscuit crust pot pie but I can’t call it that.  I was going to go with the chicken in gravy over noodles but changed my mind about the noodles and made these pan biscuits.  I found a small bag of frozen mixed vegetables and tossed that into the saucepan with the chicken and gravy.  The gravy was made with a chicken fat/flour roux, chicken stock, and milk.

Stuffed Mini-Peppers

I’ve been growing these in a container in the patio garden.  They are green bell peppers in all but name – I’m not sure what the tag said.  I managed to stuff about a tablespoon or so of my Italian beef/rice filler into each one.They are cute as can be!  Here they are after blanching.I went with cooked and crumbled Italian beef mixed with rice and some stewed tomatoes.  Actually, I started with the stewed tomatoes – Mrs J delivered a dozen or so ripe ones that I de-skinned and boiled down with onion and jalapeno peppers.  We had a regular sized green pepper in the fridge so I made sure to make enough stuffing for it, too.Mozzarella made the perfect topping, I cooked them side by side in the toaster oven, the taller pepper browning better than the minis.  Since the filling was already cooked, they just needed enough time in the 375 degree oven to make the peppers tender.Each one was two bites and gone – note that they have relatively thick skins compared to other small peppers.

Stuffed Peppers

These came out well but they really needed more gravy.  I used this recipe and will use it again, adding another can of tomato bits or sauce to the casserole dish before it goes into the oven.  These three took a good hour at 350 to give me an internal temp of 160, they were on the large side for green peppers.Like I said, they really, really needed more gravy.  I may have cooked the veggies down a little too far.  I added about half of them into the meat/rice mixture and used the rest to top off the peppers.  Maybe I should have left it soupier and added that to the bottom of the dish.  Next time, I fix.

Duck Confit with Blueberry Sauce

I finally thawed that duck we bought circa Christmas last year.  We have plenty of duck fat so a confit was a no-brainer:The 6 inch deep hotel pan was just about perfect for this…This is after 3 or 4 hours at 250.  I grabbed a bone with tongs and it slipped right out.  Had to have been a thigh bone because the two leg bones were still there.I had the notion that I could crisp the skin under the broiler of my toaster oven but I think a pre-heated 500 degree oven would have been the better call.  The skin wanted to brown under the broiler but I could see that it was going to burn the high spots.  I pulled the skillet because the veggies were done and needed to be served.We went with Brussels sprouts and teeny potatoes with prosciutto, sauteed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.The blueberry sauce was a reduction of red wine, balsamic vinegar, and the last of our blueberry syrup, with a dash of allspice and cinnamon.The rice is my favorite box mix, Zatarain’s Long Grain and Wild Rice.


Sammich Pr0n – Sliders

The buns are mini-ciabattas that Kroger sells out of their deli/bakery.  I buy them up whenever they have them because they work for a lot of things – nothing is better for sliders.  Taking a break from tortillas but the griddle is still out, it gave me the idea for sliders.  Nom nom nom!My sliders start out with a pile of thin sliced onions with a beef patty on top, I flip them over when the onions start showing a little char.I don’t think they are at all complete without cheese, a dill pickle, and mustard.  The dill potato salad worked pretty well, too.  This meal pairs well with a soda pop but best with sweet tea.