Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fixing an overseasoned dish

Well tonight I did it, added too much salt to dinner. Made steak tacos, and the taco powder was too salty. One old tip is add a potato, which works with soups, but didn't with this. I added some sour cream, diluted it with salsa, and not much help. So after I get home I ask a chef (gotta love twitter), and they suggest adding sugar to balance the flavors, which makes sense to me. So my question to you is what are your tips?

Friday, December 30, 2011

yes 2 posts today.

Seeing as I have a nut allergy (insert joke here........hahah that's a good one) ok now back to this.I eat nuts my throat swells shut, real fun experience. Supposedly the cheap oils used at fast food places are fine (hot pressed is good cold is bad) I have eaten at the chicken place that uses it, and got sick, not as bad, but still a slight reaction. Same thing at the burger place everyone loves spending 15 bucks on a cheap burger and fries. Now my stomach issue may have contributed to my issues. I am also under the opinion that if you are allergic enough to a substance that may kill you, avoid it no matter how much the government says it should be ok. unless you just like playing Russian roulette, sorry not for me, enough food out there that can kill me for sure. How many of you have severe allergies to foods?  

Conecuh Sausage aka the best meat in a tube available

Conecuh is a hickory smoked sausage from a small town down here in Alabama
this is what we use when we say sausage at any time other than breakfast, and even then you are bound to get served some. It has some bite, but not so bad the kids don't eat it. My favorite is red beans and rice (recipe will follow) too bad I can't eat it anymore. It gets used in many dishes here, such as jambalaya, and gumbo, heck I've even had chicken and rice with it just recently. If they made a kielbasa I'd be in heaven, so for that I still have to hunt usually settle for hill shire farms since it's available. Sausage is pretty versatile add it to soups for a little flavor kick. There are other brands that are similar, but around here they all taste  decent, or like bologna. I like the fact that this comes from this area not all over the country, so quality is better. They do sell from their website as well. sorry have to google it since I am not an affiliate with them. Let's hear some of your favorite brands. I bet someone mentions Koegals and if they do, would they please send me a box of franks, and a jar of pickled bologna, I'm having withdrawals.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Years Eve

Living in the south there is a tradition for New Years meals, that if you don't partake, they just may lynch you (you at least hear about it big time). It includes eating greens (supposed to bring you money) and black eyed peas (brings luck) I love black eyed peas, but the greens not so much. I do eat spinach, but hate it cooked. I am going to try some others this year, and figured I'd share a recipe for collards, adapted from Paula Deen.


  • 1/2 pound smoked meat (ham hocks, smoked turkey wings, or smoked neck bones)
  • 1 tablespoon House seasoning (equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon hot  sauce
  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 1 tablespoon butter
In a large pot boil 3 quarts of water, and add meat, seasoning salt, house seasoning, and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for an hour.

Wash the greens, and remove center stem, and slice into 1 inch slices (stack a few and roll them makes it easier) Put in pot, add butter, and cook for about an hour. Salt and pepper to taste.

Black eyed peas are real easy, just cook them like any other bean (I usually use frozen, and cook them like peas in a ton of butter instead though)

Also since we are talking about superstitions and New Years, supposedly you should not eat chicken, or lobster on New Years, as they are bad luck (heck I'm lucky if I get lobster anymore but anyway)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Now that I have a viewership or readership however that works.I am asking the readers about content.

I took an ambien about an hour ago, and so far walking is impaired a bit as is typing. Thankfully I have auto correct. If there are things you would like to see different please tell me, I am a novice, they yell at me on twitter for long Rants so on a blog I rarely need punctuation right? I do try and make it readable. I also understand my natural hair color shows in
My blondness on things. It's a work in progress, and I'd love it to be big and get people to really support the site, and maybe get some training on different cooking, or even food storage. Which is a target I will take on shortly, as I think we all need something, just a storm pack type thing is fine, here on the Gulf Coast we need more since power is out for weeks. What I am asking for is number 1 what changes need to be made, and what articles do readers want done. This can be a fun community thing, and of to scarred to wire tell me I'll right it,if great ill give some credit to you, if bad, well you'll get all of it just like like (I'm kidding)just help me with a direction for this place Money is not a factor yet, I am enjoying the free blog for now, if it starts to get to big I may have to take real ads besides the built in google ones. I'm excited to play with it, and hope others are too.A blog is useless if nobody ready it, so come design it, or give a topic to write about

Buying produce

Last time I was at the grocery store I noticed something about the produce, nothing is from anywhere close to local. The potatoes were from Idaho, but most was Argentina, or if US California. Now I am in Alabama, by way of Michigan. In Michigan many foods were grown there (although that is changing ). Now in order for us to get fresh produce after the truck ride around the world, it has to be picked early, so vitamins are not as prevalent as if they were allowed to ripen naturally, and this doesn't even take into account flavor. If you've ever had fresh picked produce, you will know the flavor is so much better. We are having a large outbreak of severe illnesses, traced to improper handling at a central packing facility. Then it travels all over and gets difficult to track. Something else that happens is once a vegetable is picked, it begins to rot. How long do these things sit in a warehouse, and then a truck, and another warehouse, where it finally gets to the store? No matter what your political view, The First Lady has a great idea, everyone grow a garden. We grew peppers, eggplant, okra, and tomatoes, and did very little work, and spent about as much on plants as one large order of veggies. We plan on expanding next year, but got a late start this year. I really don't like the globalization of our food market, it puts too many hands on stuff, plus it tastes worse than if grown local. How do we fix it? Well small scale, grow a garden, big scale, I have no clue. Plus I don't want to lose my bananas and other tropical fruit. Things were so much better on the farm though

Friday, December 23, 2011

Buying meat

Being raised on a dairy farm, we raised our own meat for the most part, what we didn't raise, we bought from the butcher, all top quality stuff. Today, the stuff we'd have fed dogs seems to be what qualifying as restaurant grade (typically they get the bit between choice and select) I prefer higher end choice, and can't justify the price fore frome unless doing a crown roast (which is mistakenly called prime rib, even if not prime beef, usually are choice or select depending on store, a certain major department store says prime, and then they are select grade, so they are just using the style to tell about the meat, and misleading the customer) Grading is based in the fat content, marbling is good. Best way to tell a good cut is find a real butcher, and ask his opinion, they won't sell you crap, due to pride. Also check the store you buy at, ask if they have someone that can cut you something special in house, a trend started by a big general retailer that really harms quality. Meat is removed from chryosealed packs that have a life of about 30 days, they open them, and slice the parts into take home containers, and seal with a cellophane label. Once removed from chryo quality falls quickly. At one meat market I worked at, we had 3 days to sell it, or it was sent back. Now this all goes on a truck in Arkansas, then travels to you. Comes off the truck goes into a back room. There it may sit 2 -5 days easy based on sales.This doesn't even get into the meds used on the cow at the farm, or how it was fed. Everyone today wants grass fed, growing up, ours at grass, and oats, and the flavor was awesome. Something else with the mass production is quality control is lower, especially at store level. I have seen people with a cart full of perishables over in tv's, and then back swapping out all the stuff that got warm from nice cold stuff. Makes me feel safe. Then they try and tell us it's better priced, but if you look at what you get a filet runs within a few cents of the place that has meat cutters, and some guys who can give clues on cooking that chunk of beef. Talk to the butcher, and ask why they are cut at certain thicknesses, and that tells why it's cooked a certain way too.
If possible buy a side of beef in the chryopack and cut it yourself, you'll save money, and the quality is much better (you may not need all the cuts, but need more burger, just grind what's left into burger. (I have done burgers from a tenderloin when nobody wanted a filet, and it was great, do have to add a little fat though to balance it out) What I am saying is please don't buy at the big box store because it's easy, buy from the local place, that has fresh, and probably a healthier version
. Something else to keep in mind is ask the meat manager what he does with returns, most places assume returns are bad, and send them back. Some say, well it was still cold so we made hamburger from it, and that is where a lot of the contaminated burger came from. As a people we need to be smarter about our purchases. Now I don't say you have to find the butcher that does this out of his barn, some regular supermarkets still cut meat. Some better than others. Just go in and talk to the butcher see what he thinks of what he has available. When I have the chance U buy at Winn-Dixie they started as a meat house, and grew the store around it. I also miss Kroger for the same reason with their meat, the cutters knew their stuff (and ia won't drive 6 hours to buy meat)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mexican chicken

This is a recipe adapted from Rick Bayless's book "Mexican Everyday" it is chicken, caramelized onions, carrots, and jalapenos.

1 Teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground oregano
4 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on preferred (have used boneless with good results)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Large white onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large carrots sliced 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal.
4 cloves garlic peeled, and halved
1/4 cup vinegar
2-4 canned pickled jalapenos
1 cup chicken broth

Combine pepper, allspice, oregano, and a teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle half of mixture on chicken.

In large skillet over medium heat cook chicken skin side down, turning once, until browned about 3 minutes a side. Remove leaving as much oil as possible in pan.

Add onion, and carrots to oil, and cook stirring often, until onion is browned. Add garlic, and stir about 1 minute. Add rest of seasoning, vinegar, and peppers. Place chicken in with skin side up, and cover.Simmer over medium low until chicken is cooked through, roughly 15 minutes.

I like to serve with mashed potatoes, and spoon the juices over chicken, and potatoes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taco soup

Had something the other night that the cook called taco soup. It wasn't bad, but needed something, so I decided to play with it a bit.
1 pound ground beef
1 jar salsa
1 package taco powder
1 cup corn
1 medium onion
2 cups beef stock
water (to fill pot)
1 bag Doritoes chips
shredded cheese
sour cream

Cook meat in large pot with taco powder, and onion. Add salsa, corn, and stock. Add water to bring to soup level, and consistency (still a work in progress so measurements are not the best sorry). Simmer for 30-45 minutes. Serve with chips, cheese, and sour cream

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Learned something

This week we had food brought by our church members, for which I am thankful. One thing I noticed is salt seems to be unheard of to most people, and that people also have no idea how to prepare food for a group of 20 or more. We managed, and I am not really complaining, I mean it was all from the heart, and even if it was roadkill would have been good. Didn't have anything to try and make myself, which bums me out a little, but we all ate well. Now Christmas is a week away, I have a turkey waiting to go, and will figure out what goes with it later.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Going to be a long week

I had a death in the family yesterday, and things have been rough. My ex is constantly crying, my kids don't quite understand, and I am trying not to break down either. We have been blessed that our church is providing food for the week, so I won't be cooking, but sampling what others bring. I hope everyone has a safe and happy week, and remember to hug your family, and tell them how you feel, you never know when you won't have the chance again

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Ok I know everyone can make a burger, but I like to think that these are a little better than a slab of beef on a stale bun.
1 pound ground sirloin
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
handful shredded cheddar jack cheese (I actually like Sargento mexican)
4 slices provolone
4 large kaiser type rolls (I get them at the bakery)
pickle slices
jalapeno slices (optional)

Mix meat, and spices in a bowl. Add shredded cheese, and mix well. Form into patties (usually makes 4 decent sized patties). Cook on hot griddle (medium high). Put a slice of cheese on each patty. Slice rolls, and warm in grease from burgers. Assemble burgers with remaining ingredients.

Friday, December 9, 2011


One of my favorite dishes on the planet, and super simple.

2 pounds boneless chicken breast
2 packages taco powder
1 large jar salsa
10 flour tortillas
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Cook with taco seasoning.
Grease a large baking pan. fill tortillas with chicken and salsa, then roll, and place in pan. Pour remaining salsa over rolled tortillas, and top with cheese. Bake at 350 or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve with sour cream.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Keeping food safe during an emergency

Living on the Gulf Coast I have dealt with power outages from hurricanes when it's hot, and growing up in Michigan, had power outages from storms when it's cold. First and foremost is if you are questioning if it's ok pitch it. Even a standing rib roast is cheaper than a hospital stay from food poisoning. I use restaurants as a guideline. Think about the table at most dinners, there is a bottle of ketchup, mustard, and maybe even some steak sauce, tells me it's probably of if they don't stay below 40 for a day or 2. After a week just start over. You can also use this site to help some too:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mexican Pizza

This is a dish I make that is very filling, and really quick to make.
8 large flour tortillas
1 pound ground beef
1 package taco powder
1 can refried beans
1 teaspoon cumin
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
green onion diced
olive oil for cooking meat

cook meat in large skillet with oil, taco powder and cumin. Warm beans in saucepan.
cover 4 tortillas with beans, place another tortilla on each, and add meat. Top with cheese, and bake at 350 until cheese is melted, and tortillas are slightly crunchy. Remove from oven, and top with green onion, salsa, and sour cream. Serve

Saturday, December 3, 2011


These are my own version of fajitas. I don't care for green peppers so mine doesn't have them.
2 tablespoons fajita seasoning (I have found Badia brand to be the best, and better than any combination I could come up with from my spice cabinet)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin 
1 pound chicken or beef (I love using chicken thighs, and have even used pork)
1 jar salsa (I use a roasted pepper one)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus more for topping
2 tablespoons sour cream plus more for topping
4-6 large tortillas
refried beans for topping (optional)

Cut meat into bite size pieces.
Put meat in large skillet with olive oil, add fajita seasoning, and cumin, and cook until done. Add salsa and simmer until slightly thickened, add cheese and sour cream, and mix.
Heat tortillas on a hot griddle pan (I use a crepe pan)
fill with meat, cheese, sour cream, and beans, and enjoy

Friday, December 2, 2011

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Made these tonight, and they were a hit.
10-12 small potatoes (your favorite)
house seasoning (garlic powder, salt, and pepper in equal amounts)
3 cloves garlic sliced
Olive oil
cut potatoes into quarters and sprinkle generously with house seasoning. Coat with oil, and place on well greased cookie sheet. Roast at 425 turning once until browned about 30-45 minutes. Salt to taste

Shepherd's Pie

This is my ex-wife's version of shepherd's pie. She uses ground beef instead of lamb just because it's easier to get here.
1 pound ground beef
4 potatoes mashed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup peas
1 package worth (she uses packaged, I make my own both work fine) taco powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook meat with taco powder, and drain. Mix in peas, and spread into backing dish. Top with potatoes, and cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese melts, and browns slightly (about 30-45 minutes) let sit for 5 minutes and serve.
Simple dish that lends itself to changes well, and inexpensive way to feed a group (this feeds about 4 we double it to feed 7)