I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Dutch Food

I also made some Dutch food this weekend. I made sweet and sour meatballs in the Dutch oven. I got the Dutch recipes out of a farming magazine at my great aunt Darlene's house.

Pennsylvania Dutch Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs potatoes
1 c sour cream
6 ounces cream cheese
3 t butter
1 t salt
1 t onion salt
¼ t pepper

Boil potatoes until soft. Mash together with other ingredients. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 until heated through. Sprinkle top with paprika.

Pennsylvania Dutch Sweet and Sour Meatballs

3 eggs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ c dry bread crumbs
1 t salt
2 lb ground beef

Mix it all together, form into meatballs and fry. Or do it like I do, oil a cookie sheet and put the meatballs on the sheet and bake for 1/2 hour at 350.

3 ½ c tomato juice
1 c brown sugar
10 finely crushed ginger snaps
¼ c white vinegar
1 t onion salt.

Put sauce into pan and boil until dissolved. Pour everything together and bake @350 uncovered for 40-45 minutes.

Muriel's Green Beans with Bacon

1 can green beans
2 strips bacon.

Fry bacon in a sauce pan and crumble. Add can of green beans with the liquid and heat.

Vegetable Bread

When I was at U of I, I used to go down to the Student Union (IMU) and get a sandwich now and again. They had a great vegetable bread. I decided to try and copy it. This bread makes great sandwiches.

Vegetable Wheat Bread

Makes 1 loaf

1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 package yeast
1/2 T sugar
1 T dry milk
1 T honey
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients up. It should be about the consistency of pancake batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment for 4 hours.

Then add:

2 cups bread flour
1/2 T sugar
1 3/4 t salt
1 T olive oil
diced green pepper (about 1/4 cup)
diced red pepper (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

Kneed 10 minutes in a mixer. Let rise until double. Punch down and let rise until double again.

Shape the dough into a loaf and put it in a greased loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let it rise until it is about 1 inch above the top of the pan. Brush the top with melted butter and cut a slice down the center of it about 1/2 inch deep. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the top with melted butter again. Let it cool before slicing.

Dutch Oven Enchiladas

I am firmly off night float now. This weekend I wanted to go camping but it is too hot out and there are numerous logistical considerations. Instead I decided to make a few of my favorite camping recipes.

We have a common friend who was named Trig. He is the only person I have ever met with that name and he was as unique as his name. I had the pleasure of camping with him once. He was a true outdoorsman. His specialty was dutch oven chicken enchiladas. He made them and I think they are the best thing ever to come out of a dutch oven. I watched him make them and over the course of the next few months we wrote back and forth with ideas to improve the recipe, making it even more delicious. Unfortunately he was killed in a small plane crash just a few days after he graduated from dental school. He is sorely missed but his memory, and his enchiladas live on.

Trig Style Enchiladas

Makes a hefty 12 inch dutch oven full - enough for 5 to 6 people

Chicken base:
Fry 4 strips of bacon in a cast iron skillet. Remove the bacon, cool and crumble. In the grease saute 1 chopped onion.
Add 1 pound of chicken, cut up into stir fry style pieces. Brown.
Add a can of diced green chilis and their juice
Spice the mixture by adding the following spices:
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
a dash or two of pepper

Next add 1 or 2 chipotle peppers. These come in a can in sauce. Chop them up before adding. Finally add 1 cup sour cream, the crumbled bacon and 1 bunch of green onions, chopped. Stir and cook until combined.

To assemble the enchiladas:
Take 3 tortilla shells and spread them with refried beans like you would peanut butter on a piece of bread. Place them into the dutch oven, covering the bottom. Pour 1/2 of the chicken mixture on top. Add 1/4 of a diced tomato, 1/4 of a small can of drained sliced black olives, 1 handful of shredded velveta cheese and 1 handful of shredded cheddar cheese. Sprinkle 1/4 of a can of old el paso enchilada sauce over, and a few dashes of Pace Picante sauce. Make another layer in exactly the same way. To finish off the dish, place 3 more tortillas spread with the refried beans on top. Pour remaining enchilada sauce, olives and tomato over the top, spreading evenly. Top with enough velveta and cheddar to cover the top layer evenly. Bake in the dutch oven until done. You will know it is done because the cheese will be melted and just starting to brown. Also the top layer of tortillas will just be starting to turn crispy around the edges. Let it sit 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Jalapeno Sauce

I have to be real careful now with making my food too hot because of the baby and all. I had a few jalapenos sitting around and an old jar of pickled jalapenos so I decided to make some jalapeno sauce. It has a nice smokey, tangy flavor and the grilling of the peppers mellows it a bit.

Jalapeno Sauce

6 jalapenos
1/2 of a jar of Old El Paso sliced pickled jalapenos
1/2 small onion
1 t ground oregano
1/4 cup vinegar from the canned jalapenos
salt to taste
2 cloves garlic
a little olive oil

Grill the jalapenos until the skin on the outside is a little blackened and the peppers begin to soften.

Seed the grilled jalapenos and peel off most of the skin while rinsing. Dice up the onion and garlic and saute in olive oil. Dump all of the ingredients into a blender and blend. You will have to add a little water. You want the consistency to be about like a smoothy. Return the blended sauce to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. It should keep just fine in the fridge.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Sometimes you just feel like a good breakfast. My 2 favorite breakfast foods are hashbrown casserole and my Great Grandmother's recipe for buttermilk pancakes. As far as I am concerned, these are the two difinitive recipes for those dishes.

Hash Brown Casserole

a little diced ham
1 can cream of chicken soup
3 T melted butter
1 t salt
½ t black pepper
½ c diced onion
2 c grated colby
2 pounds thawed hash browns
Diced ham (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 pan. Mix everything together and bake uncovered for 35 minutes.

The Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

3 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 T sugar
2 t baking soda
1 pinch salt

Mix everything up. A few lumps is OK and even preferred by some. These are best made with a light coating of bacon grease on the frying pan or griddle. Not too much though, you want pancakes not pan-fried fritters.

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Yesssssssssss. I'm done with nightfloat. Its awesome. Its incredible!

One of my favorite treats is a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. You might have heard of these being one of Elvis' favorite treats. In his cookbook he gives a recipe that involves blending the banana and peanut butter together in a blender. I make them a little different and its a nice easy method.

Peanut Butter and banana Sandwich

2 slices of bread
peanut butter
1 banana sliced

Butter bread on outside. Put down a layer of peanut butter and banana slices. Top with other piece of bread. Grill like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Marinara and Steaks

Over the weekend we rented the first few episodes of the 5th season of Sopranos and I got all hungry for Italian food. When I was at Northwestern I had this old Italian lady as a patient and she gave me this great recipe for marinara sauce. It has a secret ingredient! Besides using San Marzano tomatoes, she told me about cooking the sauce with a pork chop in it. It adds a rich flavor to the sauce that you can't get any other way. I've tried it with different kinds of meats but no other combination works as well as a pork chop.

Marinara Sauce with a Chop

Olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 32 oz cans of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes or some other kind of canned plumb tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pork chop
fresh ground black pepper
ground red pepper
fresh basil leaves or some dried Italian herbs.

Heat the olive oil until it is nice and hot in a sauce pan. Don't get it too hot or it will smoke. Drop in the pork chop and brown it nicely on each side. Remove the pork chop and saute the onions for a little bit. After they start to turn translucent, add in the garlic and saute for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes and either crush them up with your hand or mash them up in the pot with a potato masher. Add the pork chop back in. Add a few dashes of red pepper flakes but not too many, just enough to give it a tiny hint of bite. Grind in a fair amount of black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally for an hour. Add the spices. Taste the sauce and add salt to make it taste right. Cook it for another few minutes, stirring to mix the spices in real well. Remove the pork chops and serve.

You should remove the pork chops when no one is looking. You don't want anyone to figure out what the secret ingredient is. If you find a good recipe you should hog it and hold it over everyone's head. Hehehe. If you want to be really safe you should get rid of the pork chop right way. Give it to a nice dog, but only if she has been very good lately.

With my linguine with marinara I served pan seared steaks. I was also very lucky to find one of my favorite sides in the store - ACORN SQUASH!!

Pan Seared Steaks

2 steaks, your choice
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
olive oil

Preheat your broiler for like a half hour or however long it takes for it to get as hot as it can possibly get. Heat an empty cast iron skillet on the stove to ridiculously hot. It takes about 5 minutes to get mine hot enough on a gas stove. Meanwhile brush your steaks down with a little olive oil. Grind some fresh ground black pepper onto a plate. Add a little sea salt to the fresh ground black pepper. Press each side of the steak down into the pepper on the plate to coat each side. When this is done and your cast iron skillet is obscenely hot, drop the steaks in and sear them on one side, without flipping or messing with them in any way for exactly 5 minutes by the clock. When the time is up flip the steaks and put them under the broiler for 9 minutes by the clock. That amount of time in my oven will make the steaks medium. Put the steaks on the plates and let them rest under aluminum foil for 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of your food to add to the plates.

How I make Acorn Squash

Well here is my method for making acorn squash. My recipe is for 1 squash, which should serve 2 people. I split the squash down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Then I put both halves face down in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Then I poke a few holes in the plastic wrap and put it in the microwave for 15 minutes. Your microwave may cook faster or it may cook slower depending on how strong it is. A good guide is 10 to 20 minutes. You'll know that it is done when it is soft enough to eat. I know some people might consider microwaving food to be a travesty, but it is tough to beat the microwave for cooking acorn squash. It literally steams in its own juices.

Next I preheat the broiler in the oven. While the oven is heating I take 3 tablespoons of butter and put it in a bowl. Add to the bowl 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Then microwave the bowl until the butter is melted. Take that mixture and put some of it into each squash. Then put the squashes face up (you need them to hold the goodies) and put it under the broiler. It will only take a few minutes and you will know it is done when the edges of the squash start to brown a little bit and the brown sugar/butter that has splashed up on top of the squash lip starts to carmelize. Take it out of the oven and serve, but warn people that it will be piping hot. Nothing sucks more than burning the taste off of your tongue.

Red Beans and Rice

I promised to post a real recipe for red beans and rice a while ago. I got this recipe from a guy from New Orleans. He said that they always had it on Mondays. I am guessing that is because they ate ham on Sunday. I have seen a lot of other recipes for red beans and rice. Some of them have green pepper and celery. Some don't. I have had them both ways and I am not sure which I prefer. For the plate shown in the photo below, I used celery and green pepper.

Red Beans and Rice

1 bag dried red beans (about 1 pound)
water to cover
diced ham
Andouille sausage
diced onion
diced green pepper
a few celery stalks, cut up
salt and pepper to taste
Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste

Soak red beans in water overnight. In a big pot, heat oil of your choosing. Brown the ham, sausage, onion, green pepper and celery. Add the beans and water. Bring to a boil and cover. Cook for several hours or until beans are soft, adding water as needed. When the beans are nice and soft add salt and pepper to taste along with hot sauce. Serve over rice.

Swiss Steak

My wife's grandfather was a good cook. One of his best recipes was his recipe for Swiss Steak. I think the time I had it with him he also made cauliflower with cheese sauce and mashed potatoes. It was delicious.

Marv’s Swiss Style Steak

1 package round steaks
1 can tomato sauce or more depending on how many steaks you are making
1 can stewed tomatoes, cut up
1 green pepper, sliced
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, cut up
½ stick butter
Johnny’s Seasoning
Mixed herbs
Bay leaf
3 or 4 beef bouillon cubes

Heat butter in skillet. Drop steaks in hot butter as many as will fit in pan at a time. Sprinkle each side of the steaks with Johnny’s and brown briefly on each side. Remove to a baking dish. On top of the steaks put the rest of the ingredients and the drippings from the pan. Bake covered until meat is falling apart at whatever temperature will achieve those results in the amount of time you have to make the meat. Add water to the baking dish as needed so that meat/vegies don’t dry out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Minute Steaks with Red Beans and Rice

Before I get started, it must be clear that this recipe for red beans and rice is not the 'red beans and rice' you are thinking of. This is the recipe that my mom made when I was growing up. I have eaten the real thing numerous times in New Orleans and I had a lady from New Orleans teach me how to make red beans the right way. Some day soon I will make real red beans and rice and put it on the site.

Tonight we had one of the staples of my diet when I was growing up. We must have eaten minute steaks with red beans and rice at least 3 times a month. Minute steaks are a cheap piece of meat that has been tenderized by a machine. It looks almost like a hamburger but it is a steak. They are tough and gristly and very cheap. Another name for a minute steak is cube steak.

When my mom used to make minute steaks she would coat them in flour and then brown them in the pan. After a while she would add a little more flour and water to make a gravy. I make them a slightly different way. I like to brown them and then simmer them in beef broth for a while. It makes them so tender you can cut them with a fork. The red beans for this recipe are basically the same ones I make to go over burritos with just a couple modifications.

Minute Steaks

1. Season 2 minute steaks with pepper and seasoned salt.
2. Heat a skillet with a little oil in it. Brown the steaks on each side.
3. Add one can of beef broth, a healthy amount of dried minced onions and a 5 or 6 bay leaves.
4. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. A lot of the beef broth will have evaporated and it will be too salty as is.
5. Take 1 cup of water and stir in 2 T flour. Dump this into the pan and heat until it forms a gravy.

Red Beans

1 can red beans, drained
1 can enchilada sauce
1 cup salsa (your choice, I like medium Pace in this)
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 bunch of green onions, diced
Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste - I like a lot.

Pour everything into a sauce pan and simmer for a while until you are ready to serve it. Serve over rice.