Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Apricot Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

We decided to do something a little bit different for Christmas Day at our home and put together an apricot stuffed pork tenderloin.  It was very easy and turned out so tasty.  This one might have to be repeated on the grill when it warms up this summer.


Pork Tenderloin
Canned Apricot Halves
Raspberry Rib Slather

I butterflied the tenderloin and coated the inside with some of the Raspberry Rib Slather.  I then placed the apricot halves open side down into the opening of the tenderloin.

I then replaced the top of the tenderloin and coated the outside with the Raspberry Rib Slather.  It was then placed into a preheated oven at 350 degrees until an internal temperature of 160 was reached.  After letting it rest, it was sliced into 1/2 inch wide slices and served.  Very tasty and so simple.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

APO Address Giveaway to Brighten a Soldier's Holiday

During the Holiday Season, we are going to give a gift to some deserving person in the Armed Forces.  The winner will need to have an APO Address to be eligible.  It is a way for us to say thank you for serving our country and wish them a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa or whatever holiday they celebrate.

In the package, the winner will receive:

  • Dad's Roadhouse Pepper Patch Salsa
  • Dad's Roadhouse Pickled Carrots
  • Dad's Roadhouse Apple Butter 
  • Dad's Roadhouse Jamaican Jerk Hot Sauce

The rules are simple, to enter you must:

  •  have an APO Address 
  • or nominate someone who has an APO Address
Enter the name as rank along with the last name as a comment below.   Make sure to leave your email address as a way to contact the winning entry for the complete address.  A random winner will be drawn at 6:00 pm CST on Sunday, December 19 so that the package may be shipped on Monday, December 20th.  Failure to respond to an email request for final information within 2 hours could cause me to move to an alternate winner to assure arrival near the holiday.

Note:  I have edited some of the entries to remove personal information.  I did not eliminate the entries and have retained copies of those entries, but do not want to endanger them in any way by having their personal info on a public forum.  Please leave only rank, last name and a contact email should your entry be selected.  A few have also put some spirited messages of support for their nominees.  That is awesome to see, but not required.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

While looking for a side dish to make for Thanksgiving that did not contain another starch for the meal, I came across this recipe watching Emeril Lagasse on Good Morning America.  It sounded great and looked easy enough.  As we came to learn later, both were indeed correct assumptions.


• 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed, halved lengthwise

• 5 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 1 teaspoon minced garlic

• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (we substituted a splash of lemon juice)

• 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more to taste

• Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Toss the Brussels sprouts in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with the salt and pepper. Transfer them to a baking sheet and spread them out in one even layer.

Roast until the Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender and lightly caramelized around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, and Parmesan. Toss to coat evenly, sprinkle with more Parmesan as desired, and serve.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dad's Does Disney with a Twist

One of the Dad's Roadhouse team (me, the silent partner) went to Walt Disney World in Florida at the end of October for a work related conference. I can't think of a better place to go to for a conference. You might or might know that the silent partner was bit by The Mouse in 2003 and looks for every excuse know to The Mouse to return at least annually.

With that we have decided to add a new feature to this blog -Dad's Does Disney with a Twist - featuring Disney created recipes with Dad's Roadhouse substitutions for some ingredients. We hope you will like this addition!

This recipes comes from 'Ohana in Disney's Polynesian Resort. This was the first restaurant we ate at in 2003. We have fond memories of the lights dimming so the guest could see the fireworks over Cinderella's Castle while dining. We also have fun memories of the night. We captured on film a then 7 years old Jonathan dropping a gummy worm into Uncle Dickie's soft drink. We only guessed how that gummy worm slithered into the soft drink.

Meat Marinade White
from 'Ohana, Polynesian

2 tbs garlic, minced
¼ cup malt vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
3 dashes tabasco - we use Dad's Roadhouse Jamaican Jerk Hot Sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 cup olive oil

Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Slowly add the oil to the food processor to form an emulsion. Reserve half of the marinade for later use. Marinate the meat for two to three days in the refrigerator. Strain the reserved marinade and use to baste the meat during the cooking process.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shepard's Pie

Shepard's Pie

I was looking for a hearty way to get some veggies into the supper.  I thought about it and decided to make Shepard's Pie.  Using a simple recipe, I browned a pound of ground beef with some garlic.  I boiled about 6 potatoes until they were soft.  I intentionally left the skins on the potatoes to give them a more rustic feel.  When cooked, I used a mixer along with some butter, milk and a few chives to make the mashed potatoes. 

Placing the ground beef into the bottom of a large casserole dish, I added a 1 pound bag of mixed frozen veggies on top of the beef.  Liberally adding some black pepper and a touch of salt I then placed the mashed potatoes on top.  Covering the dish, I placed the dish into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

Consider using a steak sauce as your condiment on the plate and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Parke County Covered Bridge Festival

For the last 10 days, we have been at the Covered Bridge Festival in Mansfield, IN.  It was an opportunity to meet a lot of new people.  Some were clients, some were other vendors others were people who have never seen us before. 

We also had some outstanding food at the festival.  Beef brisket, pulled pork, steak tips with mashed potatoes and mushrooms, cinnamon rolls and much more.  A variety of foods from a variety of places.  Cecil and his crew have been at the festival for 33 consecutive years and only makes a limited number of cinnamon rolls and pecan rolls each day.  If you don't get there early, you will not get one. 

For us, we introduced a whole new area to our Salsa Grande.  A blend of habanero and jalapeno peppers with a nice mix of garlic, tomatoes and more.

We also sold an awful lot of pickled veggies.  We ran out of pickled asparagus, dilled beans, pickled carrots and sweet baby corn.  Next year, we'll pack more. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Covered Bridge Festival Here We Come!

Old Mansfield Village in Park County Indiana will be home to Dad's Roadhouse from October 8 - 17 during the 54th annual Covered Bridge Festival. The event brings in over 2 million visitors annually to visit the historic covered bridges, dine on fabulous foods and shop, shop, shop. Our family has visited the Covered Bridge Festival on two other occasions. We enjoyed beautiful fall weekends in the country. One covered bridge is fondly know by our family as "Jackson Bricks" which was Jonathan's way of saying bridge when he was only 2! We hope this year will bring more beautiful weather and fond memories.

Please track us down if your travels take you near Old Mansfield Village in an area known as Mansfield Terrace during the Covered Bridge Festival. Mansfield Terrace is located just 50 yards from the Mansfield Covered Bridge which is open to foot traffic during the Festival and is the only connection with both sides of Raccoon Creek. It is estimated that nearly 100 thousand people cross the bridge each day. Mansfield Terrace is located in the very center of Old Mansfield Village and overlooks the Mansfield General Store (built in 1830), the Old Mansfield Village Food Center and the Mansfield Civic Center and Annex.

We will be sampling your favorite Dad's Roadhouse products as well as introducing our new butters - Peach, Pumpkin, Apple and Sweet Potato with Pecan. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What's Cookin' Wednesday

Getting in the back to school swing has taken us from doing our regular What's Cookin' Wednesday feature. Now that school is in full swing and we should be on some type of schedule, it is time to get posting again!

Farmer's Markets are winding down and our favorite local farm stand closes tomorrow. Saying good-bye to the end of the summer vegetable bounty is hard to do. We will do one last stock up tomorrow on cabbage, zucchini, sweet potatoes and squash.

And...the grill ran out of propane! So, cooking has come indoors until the propane tank gets refilled. Tonight will be turkey polish sausage, german potato salad and acorn squash. How do you like your acorn squash topped? Brown sugar? Butter? Garlic?

The crock pot is being dusted off for tomorrow's meal - beef stroganoff, noodles, and zucchini. This stroganoff recipe comes from the Fix It and Forget It Cookbook by Dawn Ranck. Sounds like a comfort food meal to me! A sure sign that colder weather is right around the corner.

So, what's cookin' at your house this week? Please share your favorite meals for the last of the summer bounty.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Weekend Review

This weekend was a busy weekend that did not leave a lot of time for cooking. Friday night I had the opportunity to grill a couple of Turkey Burgers along with a few sliced and seeded red grilling peppers. Even though the peppers were clearly labled mild, some were a bit more than mild. Be careful rubbing your eyes and face after seeding 'mild' peppers.

Saturday was the first indoor craft show of our season. Thank you to the nice folks at Hillside Church in Crown Point, IN. I met some nice folks and had some fun.

Sunday was the Fall Open House at Front Porch Coffee & Gifts in Mokena. Thanks to Catherine and Bonnie for inviting me to share our Loco Cheese Dip and our Candied Jalapenos with their friends and family. If you get out that way stop in and say hi. They are located on the north side of 191st Street just east of LaGrange Road. They are one of a few select stores to carry our products.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Join us today at the Riverview Farmstead

Stop out today before 1:00 to visit us at the Riverview Farmstead Farmers Market in Naperville, IL.  The market is located to the rear of the property and is easily accessible from the property entrance at 111th and Book Road.

Stop out, say hi and see what we are sampling.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What's Cookin' Wednesday

This weekend, we are looking forward to a group of family and friends getting together for a Back to School, End of Baseball (even though it seems to go for 13 months a year at our house), and Belated Birthday Party.  The party will be held at our camper and the food will all be prepared in the microwave, on the grill, or out of the refrigerator.  We are going to attempt to use the oven in the camper for the first time and hope we have success.  We'll see how that works.

The menu has a variety of salads, grilled chicken breasts and our award winning sweet 'n hot wings, lasagna, and appetizers.  We will also be serving our new Mango Lime Salsa to see what type of feedback we receive. Trying to accommodate everyones diets is usually a challenge, but a lot of fun when we all get together.

Tonight is going to be swordfish steaks on the grill.  Maybe a nice salad and possibly some grilled peppers.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Labor Day $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway

It's almost Labor Day - the last official weekend of summer. What will you be doing to celebrate Labor Day? We are having an End of Summer, End of Baseball, Belated Birthday bash at our camper. We will be preparing lots of yummy foods and debuting our new Mango Lime Salsa.

As a way of celebrating the end of summer, we will be giving away a $25 Dad's Roadhouse gift certificate to one lucky person who posts their favorite Labor Day memory on our blog. The gift certificate can be redeemed on-line or at one of our events in the Chicagoland area. The winner will be randomly drawn on Tuesday, September 7th. After all, your favorite memory might occur this year!

How to earn entries -
1. Post your favorite Labor Day memory on our blog in comments.
2. Friend us on facebook at Dad's Roadhouse and let us know in blog comments.
3. Follow us on the blog and let us know in blog comments.

Good luck!

What's Cookin' Wednesday

Well, it's Thursday and a day late for What's Cookin' Wednesday but here we are anyway! Last weekend, we went to the great natural farm we stumbled upon earlier this summer in Plano, IL. We really look forward to our weekly treks to Audi's Acres. If you are in the area, stop by and check out the assortment of natural veggies available. In the meantime visit their website at Audi's Acres. Ed is super friendly and knows his tomatoes. This week we purchased a Morgage Lifter heirloom tomatoe as well as a Polish Lingusia heirloom tomatoe. We'll see what next week brings!

This week we have plans to grill some beautiful Michigan peaches. After they are grilled they will be sprinkled with Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar. This will be a first so we will let you know how they turn out!

The local farm stand has some perfect looking pickling cucumbers. We will be making Ma's Pickles this weekend. These are freezer pickles Larry's grandmother use to make. We haven't made them in a very long time so now is a perfect time to dust off the recipe.

Please leave a comment on what's cookin' at your house this week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Review

It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend in our part of Illinois this weekend. School is starting this week and travel baseball is gearing back up after a very short break. So what did you do this weekend?

School supplies are bought. The trip to Walmart wasn't too painful. We got out for less than $25 in supplies. And they had everything we needed!

We are finally planning the Labor Day end of baseball, back to school, birthday party. We are going with a somewhat Italian theme this year - marinated chicken breasts, wings, lasagna, Italian Bread salad and mixed lettuce salad. Of course there will be appetizers and deserts, too. We finally have a direction!

This weekends grilling creations included almost perfect grilled pork chops, caprase salad with the Japanese Purple Trifle and Green Zebra tomaotes we have come to enjoy, grilled zuchini, and grilled bbq chicken thighs and legs. No...we did not have this all at one meal.

Now your turn to share your Weekend Review!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's Cookin' Wednesday

This week at What's Cookin' Wednesday finds us planning to try out some new-to-us veggies - Patty Pan Squash and Tomatillos. The squash was picked up at yesterday's Farmers Market in Manhattan, Il and the tomatillos were a generous gift from a local farmer.

I did a quick search on Patty Pan Squash and learned that it is a summer squash variety and known by numersous other names including Scalloped Squash. It is rich in Vitamins C and A and in folic acid. A cup of cooked squash in only 30 calories. I appears that this squash is versatile and is great roasted, steamed, grilled, stuffed, you name it! We will be grilling ours with a little bit of flavored olive oil.

I think the Tomatillos will be made into a salsa being combined with some organic hot peppers. If you have a tomatillo recipe you would like to share, please leave us a comment.

We love the summer and the abundance and variety of fresh veggies. We are overflowing with sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, leaf lettuce, peppers of all sorts and basil. These will go perfectly with grilled T-bone steak and grilled swordfish steaks.

So What's Cookin' at your house this week? We would love to hear!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend Review...

With the weekend just past us, what was the best thing you ate this weekend?  For us, it was a busy weekend.  Not a lot of cooking time, but we still had the chance for a few grilled favorites. 

Saturday, we had the opportunity to throw some burgers on the grill.  Some were hamburgers and some were salmon burgers.  Both turned out just great.  We had the opportunity to try one of the heirloom tomatoes out of our garden.  It was a Green Zebra tomato.  If you haven't had the opportunity to try one, you might want to.  It was outstanding.

On Sunday, we had some Italian Sausage along with garden fresh green bell peppers on the grill.  So simple, but so good.

What did you enjoy most this weekend from your menu?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Salad

For a cool summer treat, try adding a few simple ingredients to your favorite green salad.  In addition to the lettuce, try some shaved carrots, bleu cheese crumbles, a sliced tomato or two along with a sliced Buffalo Chicken Breast.  It is a nice way to have a cool and spicy salad to avoid heating the house when it is hot outside.

Try it yourself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What's Cookin' Wednesday

It's Wednesday again to it's time to share what's cookin' on What's Cookin' Wednesday. Last week we mentioned that we were planning to do the grilled jalapeno stuffed poppers. They were good and definitely a keeper. We still have more jalapenos so those might show up again soon.

We went to the all natural farm in Plano, IL and stocked up on some more varieties of heirloom tomatoes. This week we will be having the following types of heirloom tomatoes - Japanese Black Trifel, Lemon Boy, Old Fashioned Goliath, Cherokee Purple and Pink Torboy. The Japnanese Black Trifel made the best tomatoe sandwich ever last week.

The white eggplant mentioned last week was a Casper variety. It had a creamy texture when grilled with a mist of olive oil. We have another for this week, too.

We are calling this summer our adventure in vegetables since we are trying so many new to us varieties.

So...please share...what's cookin' in your world?

Something from the garden...

Want a simple and easy meal with a few things from the garden?  Try this pasta dish to brighten up your table.


1 lb pasta - we used wheels, but substitute as you prefer
1 cup Roma tomatoes diced
1 handful of fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
1/4 - 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp garlic flavored olive oil

Cook the pasta per instructions.  Put the olive oil into a skillet over a medium heat.  Stir frequently until the tomatoes begin to form a sauce.  Might take 2-3 minutes.  Add the pasta to the skillet.  Stir to coat.  Immediately add the cheese to taste and the basil.  Stir to combine and serve.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Steak Marinade - Tried and True...

This has been posted here before, but since it has been awhile, I thought I'd post it again as it never gets old.

Awesome Steak Marinade

1/3 cup Steak Sauce - We suggest Merlot Steak Sauce

1/3 cup Bourbon - Your favorite brand will do fine

1 small sweet onion chopped finely

Mix the ingredients together and pour over the steaks.  It also works for a roast if you'd like.  Heat your grill broiler to a fairly high heat and place the meat on the grill to sear the flavor in.  Continue to cook until your desired results are reached.

While the steaks are grilling, take the remaining marinade and place into a small sauce pan.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  When the steaks are done, you can place the remaining sauce over the steaks and serve,

Doughnut Peaches

Doughnut peaches are an odd looking, sort of flat peach that is nothing like the traditional peach you might think of when you go to the market.  I was introduced to them on Wednesday at the Palos Heights, IL farmers market.  They are outstanding!

The ones I tried were grown in Michigan.  They are apparently a mid to late summer harvest in the area and are sooooo sweet and delicious.  They have a white flesh and are fairly low in acid.  If you have not had the opportunity to try one, keep an eye out for them and give them a try.  You should not be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's Cookin' Wednesdays

We are excited to bring a new regular feature to the blog - What's Cookin' Wedensdays! Every Wednesday we will talk about what's been cookin', what's going to be cookin' or what might be cookin' someday. We will talk about Dad's Roadhouse products and anything else that sounds good. So, let's get started.

This week we are going to be grilling up some stuffed jalapeno peppers. My high school friend, Matt, posted his recipe on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and we borrowed his delicious idea. We will be stuffing the jalapenos with cream cheese and wrapping them in bacon. Then on the grill they go! We will let you know how they turn out.

Since fresh vegetables are in abundance, we will be grilling veggies, too. This week we will be grilling a new to us variety of eggplant. It is has a creamy white flesh and has a taste that resembles mushrooms. We promised the farmer we would give him feedback when we see him next. We will let you know how we liked this eggplant, too.

August is also National Peach Month! We have been told by Kathy in Oswego that Dad's Roadhouse Peach Salsa goes great in scrambled eggs. And, Tammy from Yorkville, puts Peach Salsa on her brats. What other ideas for using Peach Salsa do you have?

What's Cookin' at your house? Please leave a commment and share your ideas!

Sweet Onion Peach Salsa

Sweet Onion Peach Salsa

Here is something new for us.  It is a very sweet salsa which has a flavor all of it's own.  This is great on chips.  This salsa contains no tomatoes so it is a little more non traditional, but has been very well received at this summer's farmers markets.

Stop by one of our markets to pick up some for yourself.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A nice dressing for a fresh tasting salad...

One of our new salad dressings is our Creamy Cucumber Dill Dressing.  It provides a nice fresh taste with the taste of cucumbers along with a nice hint of dill.  It is a welcome addition to a lettuce salad and also goes very nicely with white fish.

Take a piece of foil, spray it with cooking spray to keep it from sticking.  Place the whitefish on the foil and pour a generous amount of the Cucumber Dill Dressing onto the fish.  Seal the foil and place the packet onto a medium high heat to cook.  It can either be a broiler or our preferred method which is on the grill.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Larger pieces may take longer. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Loukoumades (loo-koo-MAH-thes)

Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to visit a local festival here in Joliet, IL.  It is an annual Greek Fest which is a fundraiser for All Saints Greek Orthodox Church.  The festival is complete with food, drinks, food, entertainment, food, raffles, and did I mention food.  We often try to attend the festival as it is nicely organized and the food is outstanding.

This year was no exception.  We all went for lunch and ordered the gyros sandwich which was outstanding.  After we completed the lunch, we decided to try a dessert.  Something none of us had ever tried is the Loukoumades.  They were recommended to us by the folks selling food tickets.  They were correct with their recommendation.

Loukoumades is a honey dipped "doughnut hole" which is then covered with cinnamon and powdered sugar.  They were served on a tray and were indeed plentiful.  We all agreed that we loved them, but were glad we split them as the honey made them quite rich.

Click on this sentence and it will take you to a recipe that is on about.com for Loukoumades.  I have not made the recipe, but if this one is anything like the ones we had on Sunday, it is worth a try.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Salsa Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Salsa is a very versatile ingredient to use when cooking.  It is generally a healthy alternative to some of the other options used to season food.  The salsa stuffed chicken breast is a very simple dish that turns out wonderful on the grill.


Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Monetary Jack Cheese

Butterfly the chicken breasts by slicing them almost in half along one side.  Open the Chicken and spoon in your favorite salsa.  I typically use something special like a Peach Salsa or Salsa Grande for a good bite.  Place a slice of cheese atop the salsa and fold the chicken breast back over itself.  Take two tooth picks and use them to seal the side of the chicken. 

Lightly salt and pepper the wings and place them onto a medium hot grill until they are done.  Do not turn them often as you could lose some of the mixture from the side.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A simple summer salad for the backyard parties...

Have you ever been invited to a backyard party and need to come up with a cool summer dish that isn't like all of the others, but you don't have a lot of time to make it?  Here is a simple idea that always gets great reviews for us and is so simple to make.


Broccoli    1 lb
Cauliflower    1 head
Carrots     1 lb
Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Cut the veggies into bite size pieces and mix with the Chipotle Ranch Dressing.  Toss veggies to coat and chill.  It is about as easy as it gets.  The dish has a lot of color and plenty of flavor. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 19th is National Dry Martini Day

This Saturday is National Dry Martini Day.  While a dry martini is simple to make. 

1 2/3 oz gin
1/3 oz dy vermouth
It has become the garnish that has become as much of a decision as what type of gin to use.  The classic garnish is a cocktail olive or a green olive, but what happens when you add stuffed green olives to the mix.  There are varieties of things you can use to stuff an olive with.  Some of them include Bleu Cheese, hot peppers such as habanero or jalapenos, garlic cloves, or nuts such as almonds.  Each of these add a unique flavor to the martini and change the taste. 
For a dirty martini, try adding some of the brine the olives are packed in to the cocktail.  If the olives have been packed in the brine or have set for sufficient time, the brine wil have the flavors of the olives and what they were packed in.  This is especially true for the hot pepper stuffed olives. 
Don't be afraid to experiment and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sweet 'n Hot Wings take 1st Place Again

Over the past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a Fireman's Cooking Contest.  No rules, best entry as chosen by the judges wins.  Sounded like fun.

I decided to make my Sweet 'n Hot Wings and being as it waas a Fireman's Contest, I decided to go a little hotter than usual.


1/4 Cup     Dad's Roadhouse Habanero Hot Sauce
1/4 Cup     Honey
1/4 tsp       Garlic Powder
2 lbs           Chicken wing pieces

Ligltly season the wings with black pepper and garlic powder.  I placed the wings over an indirect heat on the grill with a touch of hickory spread over the coals.  Set the vent to draw the smoke from the hickory into the wings.  Turn the wings after about 7-10 minutes and continue to cook.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  As the wings are finished cooking take them off of the grill and place them directly into the bowl with the sauce.  Toss the wings to coat them completely.  Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5 Amigos Cornbread

Over the past weekend, we were out camping.  I had the opportunity to get out the Dutch Oven and make something good.  After taking a few minutes to clean and oil the pan for the season, I decided to make 5 Amigos Cornbread.

I started the charcoal so it would be ready when the bread was mixed.  Nest was making the batter.  I used a simple cornbread mix - just add water.  Choose your favorite brand.  Mine cost $.058 per package.  I doubled the recipe so we would have more to enjoy.  Next, I added 3/4 cup of 5 Amigos Salsa.   When the batter was mixed, I carefully poured it into the Dutch Oven and headed out to get the coals set up.

I placed about 9 of the charcoals on the ground to heat the bottom.  After placing the Dutch Oven on the coals, I placed about 15 coals on the top of the pot.  Then came the hard part.  Time to wait. 

It cooked for about 40 minutes before we declared it done.   Promptly removing the bread keeps it from continuing to bake.  Let it cool and slice into wedges.  Serve with butter.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Margarita Recipe

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In honor of today's celebration, many Cinco de Mayo parties will be held.  One of the most popular drinks for such a party is a Margarita.  The recipe I use is a simple recipe with a twist.  Ingredients that are all readily available.  Typically I serve this recipe frozen, but it also works well over ice.


2 oz   Tequila
2 oz   Sour Mix
2 oz   Triple Sec
2 oz   7up or lemon lime soda

Mix all ingredients in a blender.  Rim the glass with salt and garnish with a lime slice.  Repeat as necessary.


What is your favorite Margarita recipe?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops in an Herbal Vinegar

The next time you consider grilling pork chops  and are looking for a lighter flavor for them, consider marinating them in an herbal vinegar.  The chops pictured below were marinated in a cranberry & sage vinegar for about 45 minutes and then placed over a medium high heat on the grill. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Planting...

As we get closer to the end of April, and weather begins to get out of the dangers of frost, it is a great time to begin to get your cold weather crops planted.  Radishes, lettuce, onions and potatoes are all things that can begin to grow.  If you plan the space well, you can spread your lettuce out to gros in between rows of other things such as the potatoes that will mature much later.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Herbs

As the weather begins to warm, it is a time for fresh herbs to start in the garden.  We have been luck enough to be able to have some chives growing right outside of our backdoor in a small planter and have been using them in a few things.  One of them is a simple favorite, sliced potatoes in a foil pack. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Grilled Buffalo Shrimp

Buffalo shrimp is a wonderful way to give a new twist to your grilled shrimp.  Take a pound of shelled shrimp and place them onto skewers.  Lubricate your grill grates well as the shrimp will tend to stick.  Place the shrimp over a medium high heat.  These will not take very long at all to cook.  Watch to see the shrimp begin become opaque.  Turn them over and brush the cooked side of the shrimp with a gourmet wing sauce.  Continue to cook the shrimp for about another 3-5 minutes or until done.  Turn the shrimp and brush the other side with additional wing sauce and remove from the heat. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Salsa Chicken

As the weather warms up, so does the grilling season.  The next time you want to try something different on the grill, grab yourself some peach salsa and some chicken pieces and get grilling.

Salt and pepper your chicken.  Place the chicken over a medium hot heat on the grill skin side down.  Cook this way for about 10 minutes.  Turn the chicken pieces and spoon some peach salsa onto each piece.  Let the salsa cook into the chicken and continue to cook until the chicken is done.  Remove from the grill and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Heading South

We will be heading South to Florida to explore a few new ideas and look for some regional dishes to explore.  If you have any suggestions of somewhere in the Orlando - Kissimmee FL area that would be fun to try, leave a comment below.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Planting

Spring has arrived and it may be a great time to begin looking at planting some of your early season crops in the garden.  We had the opportunity to plant some peas in a container that is near our patio.  While the weather is cool and the soil is moist, the seeds take advantage of the moisture and warming temperatures and should begin to germinate fairly soon.  The container will warm up quicker than the ground and is a little bit easier to work with than the soil in the garden.  When it warms some more, I can hardly wait to get additional crops into the ground.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Over the weekend, I had the chance to taste some of the new coffees from LaheLahe.  The coffees were excellent.  If you enjoy a good cup of coffee with regional flair, give them a try.

Over the weekend, they were at the A.A. Stagg Craft Show and featured coffees from numerous countries.  My favorite of this weekend's group was the Sumatra Mandheling Peaberry.  It is a Dark-Medium Roast with a full flavor, but not harsh at all.  Quite a nice cup to start the day, or continue the day, or even finish a day.

Stop by their site and ask them about the new batch of Columbian Coffee they just roasted.  There is currently quite a story to go with it.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Honey and Soy Glazed Salmon

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice  
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
2 6-ounce salmon fillets

In a small bowl whisk together honey, soy sauce, lime juice, mustard, and water.  Place salmon on a medium grill and brush glaze onto salmon.   Cook until done.  Transfer salmon to 2 plates.  Add remaining glaze to skillet and simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Pour glaze over salmon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Guenther House Coffee

Recently, my wife was in San Antonio, TX.  At that time she had the opportunity to visit Guenther House and bring home some of their coffee.

The coffee was a very lightly roasted Guatemalan coffee.  The coffee was very low in bitterness and a very nice aroma.  A nice mild and enjoyable flavor.  They also sell it in their online store.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rough winter weather driving produce prices higher...

As we all watch the weather this winter, what a lot of people have failed to realize is the effect these conditions will have on the produce that was being grown in the warm weather climates that recently suffered snow and cold conditions on these crops. 

The damage that was imposed on these crops is beginning to be felt at your local grocers.  Prices are going up and possibly quality of the produce being offered is less than we would normally expect.  Imported tomatoes are more often not as juicy or it is possible they could come in colors we would not normally expect.

You may begin to see veggies unavailable at restaurants as a way to keep prices from getting out of hand.  Here is an article from ABC News that elaborates on the problems that we could expect.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spaghetti Pie

This is aa recipe for a nice meatless meal.  You can add meat to it  if you should desire to add cooked sausage, hamburger, ground turkey, pepperoni or similar.  Be creative.

1 lb pasta - spaghetti or similar
1 container low fat cottage cheese
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
garlic powder

Cook and drain the pasta. Place into a large casserole dish.  Beat the 2 eggs and pour them over the noodles to bind them together during baking.  Spread the cottage cheese over the noodles.  Mix the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Season to taste with the garlic posder and oregano.  Spread the tomato mixture over the cottage cheese. 

Place into a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  At 30 minutes, place the mozzarella cheese atop the casserole and sprinkle some additional oregano on top.  Continue baking for another 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Remove from the oven and serve in slices like a pie. 

Friday, February 19, 2010


This past week, I had the opportunity to participate in an event at the Copernicus Center in Chicago that was called The Feastival.  The event featured a cooking demonstration by Chef Michael Niksic where he featured a demonstration on how to prepare Drunken Kielbasa. 

1 cup chili sauce
1 cup bourbon
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 pounds sliced kielbassa sausage

Mix first three ingredients together. Pour over thinly sliced sausage in casserole dish. Bake at 300 F, 2-3 hr., until slices are glazed and sauce has thickened. Can also be done in a crock pot.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Refried Beans

I have often used canned beans to get quick and easy refried beans.  Over the weekend, I took the opportunity to try to make my own from scratch.  Here is what I did.


1lb pinto beans
1 small can diced chili peppers drained - can use jalapenos or fresh peppers if you prefer
3 cloves diced garlic
1 can chicken broth

Wash and drain the pinto beans.  Put the beans into a pot of water and simmer them until tender stirring occasionally.  When the beans have softened, drain the beans and place back into the pan.  Place the remaining ingredients into the pot and continue to simmer for about an hour to cook down some of the liquid, but do not eliminate all of it.

At the end of the hour, place the mixture into a food processor and pulse them until you have the desired consistency.  Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nachos Grande

Nachos for everyone?  Very easy and something that everyone can enjoy.  These nachos are cooked in a large casserole dish and served with a spoon to smaller portions.


1 bag Nacho Chips
1 lb hot Italian Sausage
Refried Beans
1 lb Shredded Cheese (Mexican blend or Colby Jack work fine)
Jalapeno Slices
sliced olives
Diced Tomatoes
Sour Cream

In a large casserole dish, layer chips, sausage, beans, cheese and jalapenos.  Repeat this with another layer of the same.

Place the dish into a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Spoon onto smaller plates and garnish with olives, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, guacamole or whatever other ingredients you might enjoy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pesto - What is it?

Pesto, what is it?  Traditionally pesto is a mixture of crushed basil, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese made with a pestle and mortar.  It may contain garlic or limited other ingredients, but not a lot of variation.

According to Wikipedia, the definition for pesto is a little more broad based.  It says "Pesto is a generic term for anything which is made by pounding and there are various other Pestos, some traditional, some modern."  

While basil is the most typical ingredient used, other ingredients are also used to form the base as well.  Roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes as well as other herbs are often used to make pesto.

We have also seen the way pesto at home has changed as well.  We often see the food processor used as opposed to the more traditional mortar and pestle.  It does not get the same texture, but can quickly create the paste that is desired.

Pesto is most often used to flavor pasta, but don't stop there.  Try it as a flavoring for meats.   Use it as a spread on your favorite breads or crackers.  With the expanded definition, we now are finding expanded uses as well.

Let me know how you use your pesto. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Steamed Butterfly Shrimp with Asparagus and Rice

Once again I chose to try a recipe for our rice cooker. Simple, quick and easy recipes are always a hit.


1 lb butterflied shrimp
1 lb asparagus
3/4 cup uncooked rice
1/4 tsp dried chili powder
Old Bay Seasoning

Place the rice and chili powder into the rice cooker. Season the shrimp with Old Bay seasoning. Place the shrimp into the basket along with the asparagus spears. Cook until the rice is done.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

This recipe was made in a rice cooker. If you have not considered one, it might be something you'd like to look into.


2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp habanero hot sauce
1/4 cup bourbon

2 salmon fillets (salmon steaks would be ok)
2 small zucchini squash
2 cups rice

Combine the first 6 ingredients and whisk together. Add in the bourbon. Place fillets into a shallow pan to marinate for 2-3 hours if possible. Slice the zucchini and add into the marinade.

Ad the rice into the rice maker and then in the basket above, place the fillets and zucchini into the basket. Drizzle the remaining marinade onto the zucchini and salmon. Much of it will drain into the rice and flavor the rice as well. Cook until the rice is complete and serve.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Swordfish Fillets

Last night we cooked swordfish fillets in our rice cooker along with white rice and steamed carrots. We used a simple marinade for the fillets and carried the flavor over to the rice by adding the unused rice before the cooking began.

1/8 cup lime juice
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup habanero hot sauce

Mix the ingredients and pour over fillets to coat. Turn the fillets once and add some black pepper onto them.

Place the fillets onto your rice cooker and place remaining marinade into rice and water before cooking. Follow your rice cooker's directions and enjoy!