Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

The theme: As chosen by my nearly 11-yo daughter: "Pumpkin Spice"


The menu:

Roast turkey with bacon weave:

Instant mashed potatoes (no pic)

My cornbread stuffing with apples, pecans, and bacon:

Roasted pumpkin spice sweet potatoes:

Cranberry sauce with port wine:

Roasted asparagus with lemon and parmesan:

Hawaiian sweet bread rolls (from the store) with fresh-churned butter

Cheese & sausage tray:

Crudite tray:

Relish tray:

Pumpkin cheesecake with bourbon-butter sauce:

Pumpkin pie (from the store for the finicky) - no pic

An' a ton of booze, pumpkin spice and other. Not pictured: Pomegranate mead, pomegranate mimosas, assorted beers.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Chicken, Sausage, and Ham Jambalaya

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
2 lbs andouille, kielbasa, or other smoked sausage
1 lb ham
2 cups chopped onions
1-2 cups chopped green peppers
1 cup chopped celery
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups long-grain white rice
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
16 oz dark beer (or substitute 2 more cups chicken broth)

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
2. Working in batches, cook the chicken (3-5 minutes per batch).
3. Working in batches, lightly brown the sausage and ham (3 minutes per batch)
4. Saute the onions, peppers, and celery, adding more oil if needed, for 4 minutes. Add the garlic the spices (chili powder through cayenne pepper) and saute for 1 more minute.
5. Add the rice and stir to coat. add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and, if using, beer. Mix completely.
6. Return the chicken, ham, and sausage to the pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
7. Remove bay leaves and serve hot with additional hot sauce to taste.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

This can also be made as a green salad, just replace the cooked pasta with your favorite salad greens. Or make it a side dish by omitting the chicken. If I'm feeling the need for vegetables I sometimes add diced celery or bell peppers as well.

12 oz pasta - mini farfalle and rotini work well
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, thighs, or tenders, diced
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled, or 2-3 oz package precooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
1 15-oz can black beans
1 15-oz can corn
8 oz Cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well but don't rinse.
2. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly, 5 minutes or so.
3. In large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, bacon, black beans, corn, cheddar cheese, and barbecue sauce. Mix to combine well.
4. Serve pasta salad. Top each serving with some of the chopped tomato. Drizzle with additional barbecue sauce and/or ranch dressing to taste.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Potluck beans

When I need to whip up a quick side dish, like for a potluck, this is my standby. It's crazy simple - so simple, in fact, that you don't need a recipe. What you do need:

1 lb hamburger, pulled pork, ground turkey, whatever you have or want to put in
1 lb bacon, I use pre-cooked that I just dice up
Coupla big cans, or several smaller cans, of canned beans of whatever type/flavor you want
About a cup of sauce: ketchup, BBQ sauce, whatever fits.
A diced onion, some diced chiles, etc. whatever you want.

1. Open all the cans
2. Cook the stuff that needs cooking (i.e. hamburger, onion)
3. Mix it all together and simmer for 10-15 min
4. Eat!

Obviously you can doll these up with additional seasonings, spices, etc. to make it your own. Point is that with pre-canned, pre-seasoned beans, I can go from zero to hero in probably 10 minutes.

Here are some pretty common variations I make all the time:

  • Barbecue beans: For the first protein, use BBQ beef/pork/chicken, some brisket, whatever BBQ-type meat you have. For the beans use plain, maple, brown sugar, or BBQ flavor. For the sauce, your preferred BBQ sauce. Yes onion, no chiles generally. 
  • Salsa beans.Use hamburger, chorizo, taco meat, fajita meat, whatever. Bacon or not, I usually skip. Some sort of spicy seasoned beans. For the sauce I'd use either el Pato spicy tomato sauce or whatever salsa I have in the house. Definitely on the onion and chiles. If this sounds like chili, well yeah :)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Johnny Marzetti (aka American goulash)

I make this recipe several times a year. It's a great way to use up leftover spaghetti sauce, especially if I put hamburger or meatballs in it. It makes a ton, but I'll eat it all day long. Note: If I have kids over eating this, I use plain tomato sauce and no cayenne and simply serve it with hot sauce - Louisiana Hot Sauce is a great, not-too-spicy option.


1 lb ground chuck or hamburger, lean OK
1 onion, diced
1 green or other bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 24-oz jars spaghetti sauce (preferably with vegetables)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce, plain or spicy
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
8 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 15-oz. can pinto, kidney, or black beans, drained and rinsed

1. Heat large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook hamburger for 5 minutes or until mostly brown but still slightly pink. Add onion and green pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse, then return to pan.
2. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add remaining ingredients to pan and mix thoroughly. Simmer 10 minutes and serve.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Superbowl 51 Menu - 2017

This year's Big Game Superbowl features the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, playing in Houston. My Superbowl party will feature foods from Atlanta and New England and, because I can't get any Atlanta beer in Denver, beer from Houston. I'll also toss in a couple of old favorites. Will link to recipes where applicable and will post pix as I make em.

New England
B&M Canned Brown Bread

Boston baked beans (recipe)

Bourbon & brown sugar steak tips (recipe)

Sweet chili wings (apparently a fave of the team) Note: pretty spicy recipe. You've been warned.

Chicken &waffle bites

Pimento cheese

Peach cobbler and peach parfaits for the kids

Old favorites
Cilantro cream dip (recipe)

"Salsa-maker salsa". Recipe was included in the salsa maker and it makes a great pico-style fresh salsa.

Queso (no recipe, c'mon. Velveeta, hamburger, cumin, salsa. Heat & eat.)

Li'l Smokies in BBQ sauce (no recipe)

Beer: Shiner Bock and a 12-pack of assorted Shiner offerings.

Friday, November 18, 2016

An Azerothian Thanksgiving

Every year I host Thanksgiving for the extended family, and every year I have a theme. I also play a lot of World of Warcraft, and there is an analogous holiday in-game, Pilgrim's Bounty. This year, Blizzard Entertainment released an official WoW Cookbook, which includes five themed foods that players cook as part of PB:

Slow Roasted Turkey

Spice Bread Stuffing

Candied Sweet Potatoes

And pumpkin pie, which I don't have patience for. But I will make the brown sugar whipped cream from that recipe for my pies.

Hence my theme, and the title of this post, "An Azerothian Thanksgiving". Now, my menu generally has more to it that those 5 dishes, so I have scoured the cookable recipes in-game as well as foods that can be bought or harvested. To those above I add the following:

Conjured Croissants - Pillsbury croissants. <shrug> But I pair them with freshly churned I Can't Believe It's Butter.

Sauteed Carrots - recipe from WoW cookbook

Crudite tray

Relish tray

  • Store-bought pumpkin pie
  • Store-bought apple pie