Summer Grilling: Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I love my blueberries. I make a raft of things with blueberries including pies, crisps, coffee cakes and muffins.  But blueberries on steak? Well, that was a revelation when I had it.

I created this sauce after having it at a restaurant one night. I never really had a real recipe, but I told my mom about it and she asked me to give her the recipe, so then I had to make a recipe.  It’s really good stuff.

Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce


  • 2 cups frozen blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
  • pinch of chili powder


  • 1lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

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Meals to Freeze: Baked Ziti

This is the final in the series of meals I put together and froze for my dad.  With the Baked Ziti, you can freeze individual servings of the cooked version, or make two 8×8 pans and freeze one uncooked to be baked later.

What I like about it is that it has the flavors of lasagna without all the work. I added raw zucchini and summer squash with large butter pats to each of my dad’s serving containers (I forgot to take photos!).

Baked Ziti

  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage, spicy or mix 1/2 spicy and 1/2 sweet*
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1- 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 – 14 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 12 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan

Saucepan, skillet, 9×13 baking dish Continue reading

Put The Lime In The Coconut…Bars

I really like Key Lime Pie (recipe here) and I was craving a little taste of the tropics. But it’s very difficult to store leftovers and since [[[looks around]]] everyone seems to be either out of town or going out of town, I had no one on which to foist that extra pie.  You know what freezes well and is ready for the next guest who comes over for coffee? Yup, Key Lime Bars.

Last time I made them, I had just a few extra coconut shreds, so instead of storing them, I decided to toast them and add them to the top after I removed the bars from the oven.

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Meals to Freeze: Beef Stew (3-Ways) and Buttermilk Biscuits

Another recipe in the Meals to Freeze series.

I cooked up a batch of beef stew for my dad. Once it was cooled I added it and two biscuits to individual freezer containers.  I used my instant pot, but I’ve listed instructions for stovetop, slow cooker, and the electric pressure cooker.

Bourbon Beef Stew

  • 1 lb chuck roast
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup bourbon, whiskey, or wine (more as desired)
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 rutabaga or parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into large chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour

skillet, Dutch oven, electric pressure cooker or slow cooker

Trim fat from chuck roast and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in skillet, add beef, and quickly brown on all sides. Reduce heat, add garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add beef and garlic to Dutch oven or slow cooker. Deglaze skillet and add liquid to the beef mixture.

Add bourbon, vegetables, bay leaf and then add enough water to cover everything. Continue reading

Meals to Freeze: Chili and Cornbread


In November I made a batch of chili for a dinner party and then froze individual servings to take to my dad on my next visit (he lives a looong drive away).  I made quite a few meals for that trip: pot roast, pasta e fagioli soup, and beef stew.

This trip, he had a few requests, and Chili and Cornbread were top of his list. So I made and packaged four servings.  As promised, here’s that recipe:

Quick and Easy Chili

  • 1 lb ground beef***
  • 3-5 Jalapenos finely chopped (depending on heat)
  • 1/2 green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
  • 16 oz V8 Juice (I use the spicy version)
  • 3 cans kidney beans drained and rinsed*
  • 1 can Original Ro-Tel
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder (more as desired)
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika

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Mistakes Were Made: Buffalo Chicken Bites

I was pan-frying some chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces, and added a bit of barbeque sauce for a quick dinner.  I wanted to spice things up, so I grabbed the wing sauce, meaning to add a couple of squirts.

Only problem, it was not a squeeze bottle! Much like forgetting your spice container did not have a shaker top and dumping an entire container of cayenne in a dish, I managed to add at least a 1/4 cup or more of wing sauce to my skillet.  My lightly coated barbeque chicken turned into hot wing sauce chicken. So I went all the way and used this recipe:

Skillet Buffalo Chicken Bites

  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • extra light olive oil
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 tsp of each:
    • salt & pepper
    • garlic powder
    • cayenne pepper
    • adobo seasoning
  • buffalo wing sauce
  • bleu cheese or ranch dressing

skillet Continue reading

Catching Up

Now that tax time is almost done and the book is published (see information here including first and second chapters), I can buckle down and get some cooking done.

Today’s plan is to finish up the frig full of leftovers and then start cooking for my dad. I’m heading to see him next week and I’ll be bringing a bunch of frozen meals for him. I’ll post photos and recipes – I’ve picked out six items that will freeze well and reheat easily.

Until then….

Revisiting a Classic (at least at my house)

I was visiting friends when a new cookie chain opened and they brought home a dozen to try. The chain specializes in huge, soft cookies. IMHO, much too sweet  –  overpowering the unique flavors they offer. But they were a great texture.

The secret? The size. So I grabbed my mixing bowl, baking sheet AND a 1/3 cup cookie scoop to make extra large cookies. Crisp on the outside, super soft and chewy on the inside.  Continue reading