Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Weather Outside is Frightful

...frightfully HOT that is!! So why is it that I've been craving chili? And why is it that when I ask Mark what he wants for dinner it's -- CHILI? Isn't this winter food? Of course it is but given the fact that we haven't a proper winter in a few years -- why wait for something that may or may not happen.

Sorry - no measurements again.


1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 onion chopped

Cook together until meat is done. Add -

1 large can of crushed tomato
1 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomato
1 can of medium chili beans
2 pkgs of chili seasoning mix
some garlic powder
some chili powder
crushed red pepper flakes
some sugar
some crystals hot sauce
Let this all bubble away on the stove until the flavors marry. Add more chili powder and hot sauce as it's needed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ham and Beans

To use the ham bone that's been in the freezer since Easter, I decided on ham and beans. This was absolutely delicious. I've got half in the freezer for another meal.

Yankee Beans

1 pound dried great Northern beans, soaked overnight
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 small can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 ham bone with some meat
3 cups boiling water, or as needed
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes to the skillet, and cook for a minute to blend flavors.

Place the soaked beans in the dutch oven. Stir in the brown sugar, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder. Bury the ham bone in the beans, and fill the pot with enough hot water to cover the beans. Add bay leaves to the top.

Cover and cook for medium low for about 5 hours. Take off lid and remove bone picking off the meat and putting back in pot. Cook another hour or so until it thickens slightly. Remove bay leaves, and season with vinegar, hot sauce, salt and pepper before serving.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Comfort Food

Every week I ask Mark what he would like for dinner over the weekend. He usually says he doesn't care. This week he was very specific -- spaghetti on one night and meatloaf the other. So here goes another recipe that doesn't get measured --

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

1 pkg onion soup mix -- mixed with a bit of water

1 egg

Some breadcrumbs

Garlic powder

Healthy squirt of ketchup

10 shakes of worchestire sauce

Smear some ketchup over the top of it!!

Form and bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour and half. Or until it's done.... I'll serve it tonight with some mashed potatoes and roasted carrots.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

Basic Sauce -- everything is to taste, no real measurements

Chop one onion fine. Saute with meat in olive oil -- throw in some chopped garlic. Last night I used hot italian sausage.

Add --

1 large can of tomato juice
2 large cans of tomato paste
1 can (tomato paste) red wine
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning mix
2 large bay leaves
Chopped dried basil
Crushed red pepper flakes

Let this bubble away for about 3 hours. I'm telling ya, it's good enough to put in a bowl and eat as soup!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Redneck Sangria

My brother and I were laughing over our versions of Sangria this weekend. We basically take a bottle of cheap (CHEAP, kick your ass in the morning with a pounding headache) red wine, mix it with some fruit, 7-Up, OJ and maybe a bit of brandy. My bro puts in a touch of cinnamon, too. There is no measurement -- just mix, stir and sip; mix, stir and sip....

I made copious amounts when Mark and I went camping recently. Sure did taste good in the hot sun!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"There's lemon shrimp, bbq shrimp, boiled shrimp..."

Gotta say..... I love Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. Mark and I have eaten at the one in Chicago, Gatlinburgh, TN and now the one at Universal Studios in Orlando. Each time I leave there wanting MORE! We always start (because I insist upon it) with the Shrimp Net Catch appetizer with cajun seasoning. It's hot (temperature) steamed peel and eat shrimp with the most amazing flavor and seasonings. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

This last time we went with Megan and Mike. Meg had a pass to Universal that she got for Teacher Appreciation Week (hey! how about a raise instead for those poor teachers!!) and Mark, Mike and I had only a month left on our annual passes so we picked Meg up in Tampa and Mike met us there. Our plan was to get through Islands of Adventure, eat lunch, and then Mike would have to leave to go to work, but then we would go to Universal Studios.

We began of course with our usual appetizer but added the hush puppies with the chunks of mahi-mahi in them. I didn't have any but the other three said they were delish (and they were gone so I believe them). Megan and I decided to order the Shrimp Platter -- I'm sure there is a cute name to it, I just don't know what it is.... we got a sampling of fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, coconut shrimp, and shrimp tempura (in my head, I'm saying this in Bubba's voice...ha). Mike got a BBQ pork sandwich that he took half of it home with him, and Mark had the shrimp po' boy with the best remoulade sauce ever.

It was good fun. The waiter came by with some trivia questions about Forrest Gump. I told him you better make them hard because the twins have seen the movie about 50 times ( least!). They answered things I never would have known the answer to! Only one or two that they didn't know! Very impressive. In fact, I didn't think the waiter would ever leave. I think he was determined to stump us!

And of course you can't leave without having your picture taken on the bench with the candy and Forrests' shoes.....

Monday, July 7, 2008

Starfish Seafood Company

Today we finally got to try out the Starfish Seafood Company for lunch. It's just an outside deck overlooking the docks and fishing boats -- with only 10 tables or so. You wait in line at the bar to place your order, TRY and find a seat and then your food is brought to you in a white box. After waiting in line for about 15 minutes to place our order we were resigned to the fact that we would probably be taking our meal home to eat because the place was packed. Right when it was our turn to place our order, two seats opened at the bar. And it was perfect - it was hot out but the fans made it pleasant to sit there. Mark had a sampler plate (or box, if you will....) of fried shrimp, scallops, grouper and oysters. Now when I say fried - it's not like Red Lobster fried. It's so lightly breaded you can barely see it. The seafood is fresh and is caught locally. He had an order of cheese grits with his meal and cole slaw. I had a shrimp po' boy sandwich that was delish. Next time I plan on getting the shrimp by themselves or even a crab cake!

Seemed like there were a number of tourists there STILL. How do they find this place??

After lunch we went into the fish market (which is why we went there to begin with) and bought some fresh mullet so Mark could smoke it. They clean it while you watch. Can't get any fresher than that!