Grilling Menu: Stuffed Jalapeno-Cheddar Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

Made these tonight, always a great way to grill a burger.

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I make these all the time because they really are easy and a great way to have a cheeseburger without losing half the cheese to the grill. And the sweet potato cajun fries are the perfect sweet, spicy combo.  Grill some peaches, pears or plums and dinner is done. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Grilled Sweet Corn  (pull husks back, clean off silk, wash, pull husks up & grill-yum!)
  5. Plums

Continue reading

Cross Rib Chuck Roast

 

These have been on sale the last couple of weeks, so I stocked up with a few. I really like them. The difference between this and a bottom round roast seems to be the fat layer on the top. These are easy to cook up on the wood pellet grill or in the oven. And the fat layer keeps them tender and juicy.

This was about 4 lbs, so I cooked it on the rare side and cut it into three servings. Froze the rare center sections to be used in other recipes. Keeping it rare made sure it was not overcooked and dry when reheated.

The medium-rare ends were served for dinner immediately.

The recipe is pretty simple: I sliced up a whole onion and spread it on the bottom of the roasting pan. I added two springs of fresh rosemary and about a cup of water. Continue reading

Snow Day: Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuit Pot Pie

We ended up with about 24 inches of snow, not counting the impressive drifts. Everything was closed again today while we clean up. As it’s Colorado, it’s already melting and the sidewalks, driveways and patio are already dry.  The four-foot drifts/snow piles from shoveling will take a bit more time. But it will be in the sixties by the end of the week.

In less than good news, two of my plum trees lost huge branches, and my 10-15 foot bushes’ health is still to be determined. Most will probably survive.

The big ducks demanded access to the yard, so I shoveled a path and they hung out on the patio, quickly understanding that those snow walls were unscalable. Although Maddie gave it a good try.

Anyway, the weather just cried out for comfort food. So tonight it’s chicken and biscuits. Continue reading

Forbidden Rice Revisited with the Instant Pot

Looking through my pantry I realized I hadn’t made Forbidden Rice since I purchased my Multi-Pot electric pressure cooker. I thought it was time to try it out.  The recipe below is updated for  Instant Pot cooking.

From January 2016 (original recipe here and a bunch of other rice recipes at this link)

This recipe was inspired by a bag of black rice, also known as Emperor or Forbidden Rice, in my pantry. It’s a heritage grain and it has a complex flavor – it’s deep, nutty, savory, earthy. I had never even heard of it, much less tasted it. I cooked up a cup of it and it was love at first bite, then I had to decide how best to use it.

It easily overwhelmed chicken and pork, and the flavors did not balance with beef. I did use it with some crumbled Spicy Italian sausage and that worked, the balance was right. What I thought it really needed was a citrus or vinegar pairing, some veggies, I wasn’t sure about nuts. Time to experiment.

Limes were on sale this week, so I settled on a citrus vinaigrette and fresh veggies paired with the rice (pictured above). I think it worked out very well.  Walnuts worked well, cashews were overwhelmed by the rice. I served it warm, but it was good cold today.

If you want to add some cheese, I think a nice Feta would work.

Black “Forbidden” Rice with Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup black rice, rinsed well
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • snow peas (or veggie of your choice)
  • tomatoes (grape tomatoes work well)
  • toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh limejuice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • dash of orange juice
  • pinch of lime zest
  • dash of ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • honey to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

instant pot-style cooker, serving bowl

In the Instant Pot/Multi-Cooker add rice and water.  Cook for 20 minutes and let the pressure release naturally. Fluff with a fork.

Cut snow peas into about four pieces each, half the grape tomatoes, and lightly chop the walnuts.

For the vinaigrette, whisk juices, vinegar, ginger and honey together. Drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Give it a quick taste and add more ginger and honey as desired.

Toss rice and veggie mixture with vinaigrette and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.

Christmas Eve: Groundhog Day

Because 2020 and we are all feeling a bit worn out this year is not creative at all. When I asked my friends what they wanted for our very small gathering this year, Spinach Lasagna was the winner. Just like last year.

Further discussions found that they had never seen Groundhog Day...so that’s this year’s movie choice and it all seems so very appropriate.

From 2019:

One of my favorite nights of the year. Friends come over for Christmas Eve dinner and then we watch a movie. Tonight: Strictly Ballroom, a quirky Australian treat by Baz Luhrman.

This year I had a request to make Spinach Lasagna again, I haven’t made it for a few years. I really like it because I can prep it ahead and the night of the party I’m not stuck in the kitchen.

On the board:

  1. Spinach Lasagna
  2. Green Beans Tossed w/Butter & Lemon Pepper
  3. Garlic Cheese Bread
  4. Ice Cream Sundae Bar

This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another hour to cook. It easily serves 6 – 8. I made it on Sunday and refrigerated. It will need additional cooking time to bring the center up to temperature.

Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan Continue reading

Holiday Gifts: Gluten-Free Chocolate Walnut Cookies

What to do when you’ve made a big batch of Spritz Cookies and now you have leftover egg whites? How about some Chocolate Walnut Cookies?

I get requests for these cookies all the time and bonus, they are gluten-free and taste like little brownie bites.

Notes: To separate eggs, the easiest way I’ve found is the Nigella Lawson method of using your hand. It is quick and easy.

The original recipe for these called for regular cocoa and 3 cups of powdered sugar, that sounded much too sweet, so I reduced that first thing and since I love dark chocolate I used 1/2 dark and 1/2 regular cocoa. Continue reading

Trying My Hand At Pizza

I’ve been trying my hand at pizzas. I’ve been using this dough recipe (here), I split it into four equal pieces, each makes a nice hand-tossed crust enough for two. I make a simple tomato sauce – adding basil, oregano and garlic to a can of tomato sauce.

Top with fresh mozzarella (never use shredded here) and usually pepperoni, though I have some fresh grilled onion and green peppers I may add to the next one.

I bake at about 450 to 475 degrees.

It’s taking me a bit to get the bottom of the crust the way I like it. I finally started using the lowest oven rack and that seems to be the final trick to get the crisp crust I like.