This recipe was originally featured in a McDonell-Rickards 20th Family Reunion Cookbook. I received a copy of the cookbook from my mother-in-law. My father-in-law (whose mother was a McDonell/Rickards) was friends with one of John Wayne’s stunt doubles and I’m told that’s how we got the recipe. I think John Wayne must have given it out to a lot of folks, as I’ve seen it featured in several other cookbooks and recipe collections throughout the years.
I’ve altered it slightly from the original recipe, and it is one of my husband’s favorite dishes. He requested it this year for his birthday and since it is fresh in my mind I decided it was a blog-worthy recipe to share with y’all. It is a little bit time consuming to make with fresh chilies, but they are a must if you want your casserole to pop with flavor! We like the spicy chilies the best!!!!!!!!
18-20 fresh Anaheim or Fresno (or New Mexico – Hatch) green chilies
1 stick of butter
1 very large white or yellow onion, chopped
3 8-oz packages of pepper-jack Cheese, shredded
10 large eggs
½ cup of flour (seasoned)
1 tsp salt (and ground black pepper to taste)
Fresh salsa (or warm Ranchero sauce)
Chopped green onion
I start by roasting my chilies with a propane flame torch in our fire pit. I lay all my chilies out on the rack and then light the gas torch and run it up and down each chili until the skins start popping and blistering and turn black all over. Then I use BBQ tongs to turn the chilies over and roast them on the other side. When I’m done I gather them up into a plastic bag and let them steam in the bag for about an hour. I sometimes grow my own chilies in my garden, and don’t always get very many at each picking. So after roasting and steaming the few that I’ve picked, I put them in my freezer to keep until I have enough to make my casserole. This is a great way to keep your chilies also if you buy in bulk and want to have them all winter for recipes. Don’t peel them until you’re ready to use.
Next, I melt a stick of butter in my frying pan and chop up a very large white or yellow onion. I turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, and let it sauté over medium (to low) heat until the onions are completely caramelized.
Meanwhile, while the onions are cooking I peel the green chilies at the sink. I pull off the stems, swipe out all the seeds, and stack the split and flattened chilies on a plate. This is the worst part of the prep. The chilies often cause choking – (If you are sensitive you could wear a mask). Be careful also that you wash your hands really well afterward and don’t touch your eye or something. The residue on your fingers can cause irritation.
When my onions are ready then I am ready to begin assembly. Preheat oven to 350*F.
Drizzle melted butter (from the onions) onto the bottom of an oblong glass casserole dish. Use approximately 6 chilies to cover the bottom of the dish from side to side and end to end. Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded cheese over the chilies, and then spoon about 1/3 of the caramelized onions around on the cheese. Repeat with a layer of about 6 chilies, another 1/3 of the cheese, and some more onions. Finish with a final layer of chilies, cheese, and the onions.
Break eggs into a large bowl. Add half-and-half, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the seasoned flour (I like the Louisiana brand Fried Chicken Batter mix, but if you don’t have any just add a generous teaspoon of Cajun seasoning – like Slap Yo Mama to your plain white flour). Whip with a whisk until fully combined, and then pour this mixture over the chilies in the casserole dish. Place spoonfuls of salsa here and there on the top of the casserole. Place in preheated oven and cover with a piece of aluminum foil that’s been wadded up and flattened back out again and then tented over the casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and jostle dish a little bit to make sure the egg has set and is cooked in the middle. If unsure you can remove the casserole and insert a knife in the center pulling it apart slightly to see if it is set up or still runny. If still runny, let it bake another 10 minutes and check again.
Let rest a few moments before slicing. I like to serve it with some fresh salsa (or Ranchero) drizzled on top, and also a dollop of ®Daisy! Sliced green onions and some minced cilantro are also wonderful for garnishes.
TIP: When serving, be careful not to dump your son-in-law’s portion all over the front of him in a fit of clumsiness! Wow! Besides being burning hot like molten lava to his flesh, it makes a terrible, horrible mess, ruins his favorite golf shirt, and is impossible to get out of the cracks of the furniture. Hey, I’ve invented the shirt plate! OMG, yes, this happened!
I was channel surfing a while back and happened upon a show (on the Travel Network I believe it was) all about famous sandwiches in America. The host, the lucky dog, got to run around the country and sample all the most celebrated sandwiches. Of course I drooled and dreamed of how fun it would be to have such an awesome job – although I may not be able to afford the damage to my mid-section. At any rate, it got me thinking, sandwiches are the perfect summertime food. No slaving over a hot stove or hot oven, hallelujah! In fact, I could serve them once a week, even make a special day for it – like “Sandwich Sunday” (sort of like “Taco Tuesday” and “Meatless Monday”). I’m really kinda digging this idea. I think my Dagwood husband would be rather pleased with the idea as well! He’s such a sandwich guy. 😉
Grilled Cheese (served with Tomato Soup of course)
Does anyone ever out-grow grilled cheese? Honestly, my sixty-something man is still tickled when I set a grilled cheese sammy and a cup of tomato soup in front of him. Great inexpensive meal that’s easy to whip up for the two of us!!!! He likes his grilled cheese ooey gooey with white American and spicy Pepper Jack cheeses on buttered sour dough. It has to be real butter though, and real sour dough. Sometimes I use Texas Toast, and that is satisfactory to him. If I tuck a slice of grilled ham in the center with the cheeses, and a few slices of pickled jalapeno he becomes especially giddy. And it’s even better with a little sprinkle of garlic powder on the buttered side of the bread. Mmm mmm good!
Our favorite prepared tomato soup is La Madeleine’s, which comes in a jar and is creamy and delicious. We also like Amy’s. They are both really good mixed together, creamy + chunky and with a garnish of fresh Basil ribbons from my garden! YUM!!!
NOTE: Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Asiago, Fontina, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Muenster, blue cheese, and soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert also melt well, Remember to remove the rind if using a cheese with one.
Grilled Cheese kicked up a notch: lightly toast 4 pieces of sour dough bread and butter them lavishly on one side. Lay the slices buttered side down on a cookie sheet. Lay a thick slice of Gruyère on each piece of toast and set under the broiler until the cheese is just melted. Lay two or three pieces of crispy fried bacon on top of the melted cheese. Toast four more slices of sour dough bread and butter them on one side. Spread a layer of chunky apple butter or fig jam on the unbuttered side and place them jam side down on top of the bacon. Blue cheese, bacon, and fig preserves is a great flavor combination, and so is Gruyère with crispy bacon and blackberry jam. Re-create the taste of French onion soup by layering sweet, soft caramelized onions with nutty Gruyère cheese on toasted sour dough. Craving a bite that’s both sweet and savory? Try combining indulgent Camembert with crisp apple slices and caramel sauce. Or try Monterey jack cheese layered with roasted poblanos and a splash of Adobo on a nice buttery egg bread. See other suggestions at Food Network.com.
PBJ (served with a big fat dill pickle and salty Potato chips)
I’ve been a “choosy mothers choose Jiff” kind of gal, on soft white bread, and with the traditional strawberry jam or grape jelly, or sometimes with creamy honeycomb honey spread over buttered bread for as long as I can remember. The sandwich in my photo above was made with crunchy Peter Pan and my own homemade Texas grape jelly. I wish you could taste how delicious it is. Best grape jelly I’ve ever had in my life!!!!! I’m telling you, that sandwich barely made it through the photography session. I couldn’t wait to lick the drizzle dripping down the front. This is a picture of my wonderful grape harvesting experience. You can’t tell in the photo, but it was about 107 degrees that day, which made picking a pretty sweaty experience. It was so worth the trouble though. Oooo man.
Okay, now the great debate: What sides go with a PBJ? Well, the old stand-bys when I was a kid were Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, potato chips, dill pickle, fruit, or raw veggies. What were yours?
And then came the day that I thought to myself, like all the great thinkers before me, “What if…” and so I tried a PBJ HOT, and you know what? Not bad. Pretty darn delicious really, and kind of like stuffed French toast! I used my sandwich maker. Remember those? Do they still make them???
MrsH’s PBJ Stuffed French Toast
Preheat sandwich maker. Dot each cavity of the sandwich maker with butter just before placing sandwich on it. Make a peanut butter sandwich exactly the way you normally would with your favorite jam (I make a lot of homemade jams or fruit compotes and some of my favorites have been South Texas Grape jelly, Bourbon Habanero Apricot, Strawberry Rhubarb, Spicy Peach, Pecan Fig with lemon rind, Crab Apple Butter, Blueberry Lemon, and these wonderful bitter little kumquat type fruits that grow on a tree in my daughter’s yard made into marmalade – with a hint of vanilla bean – oh my it’s delicious).
Use a pastry brush to spread your egg/milk (French Toast) mixture on one side of your sandwiches and then lay them in the sandwich maker. Quickly brush on egg/milk mixture on the top slices of bread, dot with a little pat of butter, and close the lid over on the sandwiches and snap it closed. Cook as directed in the owner’s manual. *The reason I don’t dip my bread in the egg/milk mixture is that I think it makes the bread too soggy.
This is an open-faced sandwich made famous for being served at the Kentucky Derby. Start with Texas toast, then layer on slices of turkey. Cover with a peppered white cheddar cheese sauce. Sprinkle with cheddar and parmesan cheese (broil to melt). Lay two slices of fresh heirloom tomato, two slices of crispy fried bacon, and finally garnish with sliced green onion and chopped parsley.
We’ve all made these, but how do you like yours? My dad liked his plain Jane: leftover yeast roll spread with butter, turkey, salt and pepper. The end!
I always liked to add some lettuce to mine. Then as I grew up I realized this sandwich could be a mini feast on bread, starting with soft wheat bread, lavished with mayo, a thin layer of stuffing, a chopped up jalapeno popper, sliced or pulled turkey (salt & pepper), maybe a thin slice of ham, a little spread of cranberry sauce, some sliced onion, and romaine lettuce. Tah-dah!
This is just as yummy on a hogie roll, or stuffed inside a pita as it is on nice soft wheat bread lightly toasted. Mayo, lettuce, onion, tomato, turkey, turkey bacon (fried crispy) and then repeat layers. Dagwood would approve!
Hot Ham & Cheese
In Paris Croque Monsieur is sold from pushcarts on streets all over the city. Croque Monsieur is a classic French ham and cheese, straight from the streets of France. Savory sliced smoked ham and Swiss with a garlic cream Béchamel sauce and baked on fresh wheatberry bread. Bake this sandwich in the oven until it is hot, the cheese is melted, and the top is golden brown. Below a hot ham and cheese on rye is shown with a bowl of Polish Sichi.
A deep-fried ham and cheese sandwich, often served with a sweet jam dip. This looks like a pretty awesome recipe from Ashlee Marie!
MrsH’s Ham Salad (Deviled Ham) Sandwiches
I usually always make this sandwich filling with leftover Easter ham (glazed spiral cut smoked ham). I have an old meat grinder that my mother-in-law gave to me, which works perfectly for grinding the ham into the perfect texture. To the ham I add mayo, mustard, horseradish, minced onion, pickle relish, and spices (cloves, pumpkin spice, allspice). These have been popular sandwiches for my Bowling League pot lucks, church pot lucks, Bunco, tea parties, baby showers, and so many other parties. My husband loves when I make a big batch of these, cut them into small triangles, stack them on a tray, wrap them up, and put them in his man-cave fridge so he can snack on them for several days. Don’t tell him but I often sneak out and steal one or two or three before they’re gone.
Click HERE for recipe from mrshlovesjesus.wordpress.com, Easter Dinner Cookbook
Chicken & Waffles
First you must have freshly made Belgian type waffles (the real authentic ones are made with yeast and pearl sugar – if you can find the pearl sugar please let me know where you got it in the US). You can add bacon and cheddar or chopped pecans to the waffle batter before making them. Season the flour for chicken breast pieces either with a Kentucky blend of traditional spices (oregano, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and paprika), or a spicy Cajun blend (basically the same but add cayenne powder and a little brown sugar). Brine your chicken breasts in a salt-water brine for a day, then cut the breasts into tenders. Dip each piece in a buttermilk egg wash and then dredge in seasoned flour mixed with a TBSP of cornstarch, and drop into hot oil in a cast iron skillet until crispy golden. Lay a waffle square on a plate and butter it. Lay three tenders on top and drizzle the whole mess with a honey maple butter dressing of one part melted butter, one part maple syrup, and one part Dijon mustard. Or serve with a Redeye gravy made with coffee, Jim Beam, and bacon. Sprinkle some chopped chives for garnish.
Click here for my recipe for this mouth watering, highly sought after recipe that will have your bowling league, your Bunco party, your Bridge Club, or the election judges and clerks you work at the next elections begging for the recipe!!!!! >>>>>>>> MrsH’s Chicken Salad for a Crowd!!!!!! Serve with a raw veggie medley (carrot, celery, cucumber slices), or seasoned cottage cheese, or your favorite chips (I am a Sun Chips gal from waaaaay back), or all three…plus a nice iced Chai latte to wash it all down!
The Yard Bird
This famous sandwich from Slows BBQ restaurant in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Smoked pulled chicken breast mixed with some mustard based BBQ sauce and sautéed mushrooms, then piled on a buttered and toasted hamburger bun that’s been spread with a little mayo, topped with 2 pieces of almost crispy Applewood bacon and some shredded cheddar cheese. Slap on the top half of the bun and there you have it! The only thing to make this sandwich better is a Faygo and a bag of Better Made. Who you lookin’ at?
Hot-off-the grill marinated chicken is tucked into thick, soft pitas, along with lots of bold but mellow garlic sauce, and freshly sliced tomato and romaine.
Italian Bread Crumbs mixed with an equal portion of Panko Bread Crumbs
Dip chicken breasts in egg, then toss in bread crumbs until coated. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or fry in oil in frying pan until golden on both sides. If baking, top each chicken patty with a slice of mozzarella cheese and keep in oven until cheese melts. If frying, place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each piece about 4 minutes before removing from pan. Remove to paper toweling.
Butter and toast Kaiser rolls in the oven or on griddle. Place a chicken patty on the bottom piece of each roll. Spoon a generous portion of warm marinara sauce on top of each, possibly some basil leaves and mozzerella and/or parmesan cheese and broil it to melt the cheese. Place the top portion of the roll on top and serve.
I make a Rosemary mayo for my BLT’s (Mayo and chopped rosemary, salt, pepper), and sometimes lay a ring or two of red onion, and slice or two of avocado on mine. I like the hardwood smoked bacon the best, fresh romaine lettuce, and black heirloom tomatoes. I prefer it on lightly toasted wheat bread, but have also made it like a giant sub using a fresh french loaf from the bakery. Good way to feed a crowd for family supper night. This is possibly my very favorite sandwich of all time. I tend to make a pig of myself with these!!!! LOL
P.S. I was in a pinch one day a couple years ago with two hungry men and nothing to feed them as I hadn’t gone to the store. I searched my pantry for edibles I could throw together quickly and ended up with a can of Bacon flavor Spam in my hand. I cut it into fairly thin slices, maybe 1/4″ and fried it crispy on both sides and made BLT’s Spam-L-T’s with it. The men loved it. They loved it so much that I make it for them fairly regular now.
Smoked Sausage (Kielbasa) Sandwich
Start with a wide loaf of pumpernickel bread sliced thin and lightly toasted. split kielbasa in half lengthwise and then into lengths that match the width of the bread longways. Lay a slice of provolone cheese on the bread, and then squirt with a spicy course mustard, honey mustard, or mustard based BBQ sauce, then layer on a pile of squeezed dry sauerkraut – preferably a German variety. Top that with two or three pieces of keilbasa that has been fried crispy. Place another slice of cheese and then bread, then butter and grill like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.
Does anybody really have a recipe for this? Honestly, I just dump everything in a bowl and mix it up. I start with tuna packed in water. I drain off all the water and sprinkle on some dill weed and cracked pepper and then drench the tuna in lemon juice and let it sit while I chop up all the other ingredients. I chop up about half a small white onion, add to the onion about 2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish and 2 tablespoons of dill pickle relish. I chop up a rib of celery, half of a bell pepper or jalapeno, and maybe 2 radishes. I then mix about a tsp of lemon pepper into a half cup of mayo and add the drained tuna, and then stir everything together. If it doesn’t seem creamy enough I add a little bit more mayo. Here is shown my tuna salad on a tomato, sprinkled with a little fresh dill weed, but it is lovely on bread with a leaf of romaine.
I have also been known to lightly toast a bagel and then quickly lay a slice of swiss or provolone on the halves while they are still hot from the toaster, let the cheese melt, and then top each with a heap of tuna salad, for an open-faced tuna salad sandwich.
Aaaaaand I’ve also grilled tuna salad between slices of sour dough or wheatberry with swiss or provolone. If you like pasta salads, I’ve also mixed my tuna salad with macaroni or skinny ziti and served it with tomato, lettuce, cucumbers and a slice of toast. It’s all good!
(This is NanaBread’s Muffuletta Sandwich recipe, since she is Cajun and I am not)
1 round sourdough bread boule
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound thin-sliced deli ham (not a sweet one; use old-fashioned baked ham) (The traditional has ham, mortadella, and salami)
4 slices of provolone cheese
1/3 cup of mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip, people; use the good stuff)
1 small can of chopped black olives (4.25 ozs.; you only need half of the can)
24 small pimento-stuffed green olives
2 Tbsp. of juice from the green olive jar (trust me)
3 Tbsp. Italian Olive Salad Mix (optional, but use it if you can find it)
– – – – – – –
Start by slicing your sourdough boule horizontally; you’ll want the bottom to be about 1″ thick. Using your fingers or a spoon, remove some of the excess bread from the top, leaving a deep indentation in the dome of your boule. Drizzle one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil over each half of the bread. If you need to, use your fingers to work the oil out to the edges and into the nooks and crannies. Place both halves oiled side down on a griddle until the bread is a beautiful golden brown. (If you don’t have a griddle, a non-stick skillet works just as well.) I also like to weigh down the top so the surface is pressed down onto the griddle.
While the bread is toasting, chop the green olives, open the can of black olives, and spoon out 3 tablespoons of Italian Olive Salad mix; set aside. One quick side note about the Italian Olive Salad: you may be wondering why I use olives AND an olive salad mix together. The answer is that the olive salad mix also contains a mouth-watering mix of other vegetables (cauliflower, peppers, carrots, celery) and spices preserved in olive oil. Do you have to use it? No. But if you can find it, the olive salad will add another extraordinary layer of flavor. Trust me.
There is a recipe on the jar and it is a little different than Nana’s
Once your bread is toasted to a beautiful, crispy golden brown, remove it from the griddle and place both sides face up on a cutting board. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and olive juice and blend until smooth (it will be a little on the thin side). Dress each half of the bread with the mayonnaise mixture. Make sure you spread it all the way out to the edges. It’s imperative. Okay, really it’s just so all the olives stick. Next, sprinkle your green olives and olive salad on the top half, and the black olives on the bottom half. Don’t fret about separating friends. They’re all coming to the party in the end. You’ll see.
Layer your thin-sliced ham over the top of your black olives, making sure the ham goes all the way out to the edges again. (Remember – no honey or maple glazed ham, please! It will ruin the flavor of the sandwich. You really just need a simple old-fashioned or baked deli ham here.) Arrange your provolone cheese slices over the top of your green olives. Place both halves face-up on a baking sheet and toast them under the broiler until the ham warms and the cheese turns into this gooey, gorgeous golden hue. Remove from the broiler.
Using a spatula, flip the top half onto the bottom half to bring your sandwich together. Everyone is at the party now, and they are all getting along famously. It’s world peace in a sourdough boule. Allow your muffuletta to rest for at least 5 minutes before you cut it. It will be hard. It may even seem impossible. If you need a distraction, grab an Abita Beer, a bag of Zapp’s Cajun Crawtator chips, and a handful of napkins. Once you’re ready, grab a serrated bread knife and cut the muffuletta into wedges, like you’re slicing a pie. Mmmmm….pie.
Don’t get fancy here and attempt to serve it on a real plate. This is bar hopping food. You want to slap that sucker on a paper plate or wrap it in a little butcher paper. Then settle in with your muffuletta, your cold Abita beer, that bag of zesty, crunchy Cajun crawtators and let your mind slip away to an enchanted land of live oaks, Spanish moss, warm breezes, hot beignets and hotter jazz. Oh, New Orleans…you are unforgettable. Happy Mardi Gras, y’all.
Basically this is a juicy pork roast, ham, and Swiss cheese sandwich with butter pickles, and Dijon mustard, on a Cuban roll that is smash grilled to perfection. You can serve it with a cup of some of the braising liquid to dip the sandwich in while you eat it, and definitely it needs to be served with a side of fried plantains sprinkled with salt.
My twist on this Kentucky Favorite (recipe found here) is the addition of very thinly sliced radishes, minced sweet onion, and a little cluster of lovely alfalfa sprouts. Otherwise it is basically a shredded cucumber sandwich. I also like to use the veggie cream cheese that comes in the small tub to spread the bread with. Oooooo fancy!
2 cups dried chick peas, soaked in water overnight
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chick pea flour, if needed
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, for searing
4 Mediterranean flatbreads (like Naan)
Arugula, for garnish
Cherry tomatoes, halved, for garnish
Red onion, sliced thin, for garnish
Smokey Tahini Sauce, for garnish, recipe follows
Smoky Tahini Sauce:
1/2 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
Heat a grill pan until hot.
In a bowl, whisk all ingredients until a creamy consistency is reached.
For the Falafel:
Drain the chick peas. Place in food processor along with cilantro, parsley, onion, cumin, cayenne, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Pulse until well blended. Consistency should be in the form of a paste. Place mixture in a bowl and form into 2-inch patties.
*Cook’s Note: If dry add 1 tablespoon water. If too wet, add chick pea flour.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add grapeseed oil. Add patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined platter to drain. Set aside and keep warm.
To assemble sandwiches: Add flatbread to a hot grill pan, to mark and warm on each side for 1 minute. Remove. Add 2 to 3 patties to each warm flatbread. Top with some arugula, tomato, onion and Smoky Tahini Sauce
Watch Big Daddy make this great Falafel Sandwich HERE
Grilled Portobello Sandwich
The best Portobello sandwich I ever had was from Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside, California.
I tried hard to duplicate it for a mother’s day luncheon at my house several years later. Good gracious it was delicious. I am pretty sure I found the copy cat recipe in one of those women’s magazines from the 90’s.
Make the dressing first so it will have time to cool.
Dressing: Place 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium, stirring until vinegar has reduced, for about 5 minutes. Toss in 1 small minced garlic clove and then remove from heat. Allow to cool. Add ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and about a heaping ¼ tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Dressing may be placed in a dressing carafe to make it easier to shake and pour.
This sandwich is constructed in layers. Start by slicing sandwich size pieces of ciabatta bread (separating top crust from the bottom crust), cleaning the mushrooms, and slicing the onions. Lay the bread on a cookie sheet (crust sides down) and drizzle with olive oil. Preheat broiler (oven) and outdoor grill. Place the veggies on the grill and sear for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side until heated through. Meanwhile, place the bread under the broiler in the oven until lightly toasted. Remove bread from oven and veggies from the grill. Leave the bottom halves of bread on the cookie sheet, and the leave broiler on.
Lay a Portobello mushroom cap on top of each bottom slice of bread
Place a red onion slice on top of each mushroom
Place a slice of fontina cheese on top of each slice of onion.
Place in oven under the broiler until cheese is melted.
Arrange one or two basil leaves on top of the melted cheese
And top each sandwich with a tomato slice.
You could also certainly add roasted red pepper and avacado.
Drizzle each with a balsamic dressing (make sure to shake well for each sandwich).
Lean the top half of Ciabatta bread against the stack to serve, or place it on top and fasten with sandwich toothpicks, then slice each sandwich in half, corner to corner.
Colleen’s Pimento Cheese Salad
This is another one of those recipes I just make without measuring anything. So, here we go. To a small bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese I add about 1/2 cup of Mayo, 1 Tbsp of sweet pickle relish, 1 Tbsp of minced onion, and 1 Tbsp of pimentos from a jar. Mix it up until fully incorporated. Taste to make sure it is good. If a creamier consistency is desired add a little more mayo until it’s just right. Spread on white or wheat bread and serve with a nice tomato, onion, and cucumber salad.
Start by drizzling the flatbread or Naan with olive oil and grilling it on a hot preheated grill on both sides just until it is lightly toasted. Spread the bread with cream cheese (plain, chive, olive, or veggie flavors all work well), and then top with your favorite veggies: sliced cherry tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, arugula, green or black olives, thin sliced zucchini, thin sliced red bell peppers, chopped green onions, sliced marinated mushrooms, baby spinach, thin sliced cucumbers, sliced radishes, sliced broccoli, carrot ribbons, cauliflower, etc. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a garlic infused olive oil. Enjoy!!!!!
My Egg Salad is a LOT like my deviled eggs as far as they both have virtually identical ingredients. I have a girlfriend who puts chopped up black olives in hers. She says that’s the way her husband’s mom used to make them, and the way he likes them.
Simple enough. A fried egg, maybe some cheese, on buttered toast. Wooooooo! Makes your tummy stop growling anyways. 🙂
I think that about covers it. Can you think of any sandwiches I’ve missed? Hope your summer is carefree and delicious!!! Happy sandwiching y’all!!!!
“If you’re so hungry that you can’t wait to be served, go home and get a sandwich. But by no means risk turning this Meal (communion) into an eating and drinking binge or a family squabble. It is a spiritual meal – a love feast. The other things you asked about, I’ll respond to in person when I make my next visit.”
I grew up in a small town where there wasn’t a lot for kids to do but just be kids and play in the great outdoors. That was plenty enough though, believe me. My sisters and I made dirt houses lined with pebbles, floors swept down to the hard dirt, rocks and logs for furniture, and we served each other our fancy mud pie concoctions. We played secret maze games between the sheets hanging on the line until we got hollered at to get away with our unclean hands. We climbed Tank Hill just for something to do, and then tried to RUN down it without stumbling. Sometimes we took a picnic lunch up there and ate it overlooking the town where we could watch all the goings on. One time I climbed the tank – which was a mistake. I guess I’m a little afraid of heights I found out. My grandpa had to come and rescue me, and right after he called a welder to cut off the ladder so it couldn’t ever be climbed up by a kid again. Oh dear!
We had bikes and rode them all over a whole vast network of oilfield roads, to secret places – under bridges, the old electric plant, and to the pond to catch frogs and salamanders and horny toads by the dozens, but hopefully not see any snakes – ’causeewwww, girls don’t like snakes! We all played ball or watched the games, and we all sat on the fences at the ranch rodeos and watched the cowboys do their stuff. Sometimes they even let us run the hot-shot on the steers in the shoots, and open the shoot gates for the ropers.
Our little oilfield community had the first lighted baseball field, and the first lighted football field in the whole state. We had a bowling alley, and a swimming pool, and in the winter we had a frozen pond to ice skate on. They say we even had a golf course, but it wasn’t like any golf course you’ve ever seen – just dirt and rocks and prairie, with flags stuck in holes here and there. The clubhouse was just a corregated tin outbuilding, but it was something to do for those that are into that stuff!
If there was nothing else to do it was always fun to watch dad tinker with something in his shop, or tag along with him to his work. I got to tag along once to the Blue Creek Ranch out by Kaycee, and they let me ride an old nag of horse all day long while dad fixed whatever it was they needed him to fix. And my grandpa could be found in his massive garden most all summer. It was fun to pick and eat peas while he watered and weeded. I sometimes took my matchbook cars and made trails along the rows of corn. I accidentally sat in an ant pile once though, and that wasn’t so much fun! My grandma was always in the kitchen sowing or cooking. And when me and my sisters stayed at her house, it was fun to play secretary with pens and notebooks in the garage. Sometimes we’d nap with grandpa in the afternoons on the bed they kept out there, where the cool breezes blew through.
There was always a lady in town that taught piano lessons, and occasionally someone would travel through with gymnastics or dance classes, and our families all went camping and to the lake as often as we could. My folks had a motorcycle and a scooter and we went for rides as a family, sometimes be gone all day! And everyone in town met at the sand rocks to shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July – all of the families, and we shared our snacks and our fireworks with each other. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? It was!
We had a Girl Scouts troop and a Boy Scouts troop, and even a Boy Scouts camp on the Pine Ridge. What in the world else does a kid need? It was a wonderful life!
Girl Scouts was one of my fondest childhood memories. I remember getting to go to summer camp (Camp Sacajawea) on Casper Mountain one year. I got to ride on a bus up the mountain with a whole bunch of really nice bigger girls, singing old hippy songs all the way, and coolest of all, it was an over-nighter. We made ditty bags out of bandanas and tied them to a stick (I’ve still got one of the nicer ditty bags we were given – shown in the photo below). We filled them with snacks and water, and one of the days we used the ditty bag sticks as walking sticks and hiked to a really cool waterfall that flowed over a rock that we could walk behind (just like in the movie The Last of the Mohicans). That’s the way I remember it anyway! 🙂 I remember doing crafts and selling cookies. I remember one year being really ambitious to sell those cookies! I ❤ed Girl Scouts!
This is a throw back meal from when I was a Girl Scout at Camp Sacajawea. Very easy to make and I think it is delicious! Of course we made S’mores for dessert – I’m pretty sure that was another Girl Scouts invention too! 😉
This recipe feeds 4 to 6 people.
Peel and chop several cloves of garlic. I did a whole bulb’s worth.
Wash a small bag of yellow potatoes, and a small bag of carrots, peel the carrots and then slice both into bite-size pieces (figure on about 2 small potatoes and 1 whole large carrot per person)
Peel a yellow onion, cut in half, and slice it into quarter inch slices
Place all veggies in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, and then drizzle generously with olive oil, toss to coat evenly, set aside
Mix 2 lbs of hamburger with 2 packages of dry onion soup mix, and a small minced jalapeno, a little salt and pepper, and mix well, then form into patties
Place a heaping ladle full of veggies into the center of a generous sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil
Lay a hamburger patty on top of veggies
Top with a spoonful of mushroom soup
Bring both ends of foil up and fold together to seal well on top, and then do the same on both sides. Repeat making foil packets until all veggies and burger patties are used up.
Preheat BBQ grill, or campfire (or 350 *F oven), and when coals are hot and gray lay the packets on a grate about 6 to 8 inches above them
Let packets cook for 15 to 20 minutes and then carefully and gently flip and rearrange the packets so they can cook evenly on the other side for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Open one packet and test the veggies for doneness
When done, remove the packets and serve one packet per person.
“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the way of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgement. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.”
Where were you when you first experienced fish tacos? Can you remember the day, the place, and the time? Did the world stop spinning for just a moment as your tongue delighted in their savory goodness? Were yours as life changing for you as mine were for me? LOL!
Well, I first experienced FISH TACOS when we visited our daughter in Seattle. She took us to the Experience Music Project, and during our tour there we decided to eat lunch in the little restaurant downstairs of that massive building. It was a foodie little haven with a modest but eclectic menu.
I was a little sceptical about “fish tacos” when I first heard of them, having only an image of beef tacos in my head – with taco seasonings, lettuce, and cheese, but everyone I knew simply raved about them. So, I decided to put my mommy money where my mommy mouth was and actually taste them before I judged them. Best decision ever!!!! They were out of this world, my new favorite food, and I’ve been just a little bit obsessed about them ever since.
They are easy to make from scratch, but now that I am cooking for two I often make them from doggie-bag catfish from our favorite local restaurant.
For the Fish
Fish, just about any mild white fish works (Cod, Barramundi, Red Fish, Tilapia, etc.) about 1 nice sized piece per taco, so about 12 to 15 pieces (and at 3 tacos apiece, this recipe will feed about 4 or 5 people)
Seasoned Flour (to 1 1/2 cups flour add about 1/2 tsp of each: garlic powder, paprika, ground oregano, onion powder, ground cumin, salt, sugar, and cayenne powder) (or you can cheat and use a preseasoned fish fry coating, or a cajun spice in place of the individual seasonings)
Beer or Dry White Wine (or water will also work in a pinch)
Hot oil to fry the fish in
For the Slaw
1/2 of a red cabbage
1/2 of a green cabbage
1/2 of a large white onion
3 red radishes
1/2 cup cilantro
Juice of 1 or 2 limes (2 if they are small)
For the Sauce
2/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Mayo
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup cilantro, very finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno (or serrano), very finely minced
Dash of Sriracha, to taste
Pinch of Kosher salt, to taste
Also need about 12 to 15 white corn tortillas and a little oil to soften them in
As a time saver, you can make the slaw and the sauce ahead of time – early in the day, and keep them in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Shred the cabbages into thin strips and then give them a rough chop, cut the onion into the same size thin strips, slice the radishes into slices and then cut them into thin strips, and chop the cilantro. Toss all together in a bowl and squeeze lime juice over. Toss again to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge.
For the sauce, mash the avacados with a fork until smooth. Add to sour cream and mayo. Stir in cilantro, garlic, and as much of the jalapeno or serrano as you prefer. Squeeze lime juice in and stir. Add Sriracha and salt to taste. To make it really smooth you can whirl it in a food processor for a few moments. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until ready to assemble.
Add a little vegetable oil to a skillet and place on medium high heat. Add one tortilla at a time and soften by frying it briefly on each side and then removing to a paper towel lined plate. Add oil to the pan as needed after several tortillas have been fried. Cover tortillas with foil and place in a warm place until ready to assemble.
Now, you can prepare the fish however you prefer. If you like it grilled, you can season the pieces with a mixture of the same spices that are listed for the flour, and then just grill each piece a few moments on each side on an outdoor grill or indoor grill until it flakes easily.
If you like it fried, you can rinse the pieces off with cold water and then toss them in the seasoned flour to coat, and then fry them in hot oil (the same frying pan that you used for the tortillas) for a few minutes on each side until when tested they flake easily.
Or, if you like them batter fried (my fav), place peanut oil in a dutch oven or deep fryer enough so that the fish pieces will be completely covered, but make sure your pot is large enough that it won’t boil over when the fish are added a few pieces at a time. Heat and keep the oil temp between 350 to 375 degrees F. You can add beer or white wine to the seasoned flour (about an equal portion 1 to 1) and stir. Add more liquid until it is about the consistency of a thin pancake batter, then dip your rinsed and patted dry pieces of fish in the batter and drop in hot oil and fry until when tested it flakes easily.
Or, if you have a mess of catfish that have been cornmeal battered and fried, the leftovers make excellent tacos. I actually do this quite often.
BTW: I have some nifty taco plates that are awesome for taco assembly:
Lay one (or two small) piece(s) of fish in the center of each tortilla, and then add a small mound of slaw, and finally top with a nice dallop of sauce. Fold in half and enjoy. Mmmmmm! Just let your eyes roll back into your head while your tongue finds its happy place. Wipe mouth and repeat, repeat, repeat.
“Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.”
And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”John 21:5-6 (NKJV)
Get ready for TACO TUESDAY!!!!!! This might be one of the more coveted recipes in my collection. I am often asked how I make my tacos. It is also a frequent request for Family Supper night by daughter, son-in-law, and the grandkids. It’s one of my husband’s favorite dinners, and really one of my favorites too!!!! Quick and easy!!!!
Let’s start with the meat…
I use 2 lb. of quality ground beef (to feed 4 adults and 2 kids) – a good organic, grass fed, angus beef. I break it apart in a frying pan and toss while cooking over medium high heat until browned. Drain off and discard the fat . I then sprinkle 2 packets of Lawry’s Taco Seasoning Mix over the meat, and then I fill the empty packets with water and pour the water over the seasoning and stir it well into the meat, with the heat turned down to medium low. To this I add about a half cup of salsa (fresh or canned) and stir that altogether. I then let the meat simmer on low heat until the tacos are ready to assemble.
The meat will become drier the longer it simmers. I personally like it dry so that it doesn’t make the bottom of my tacos soggy. I don’t like when they fall apart and all the stuffing falls out.
Pico de gallo
I use about 1 1/2 cup of chopped sweet cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped fresh jalapenos, and 1 cup chopped green onions (or a small sweet white onion if I don’t have green onions on hand), then add about 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 2 cloves of garlic minced, the juice of two limes, and a sprinkle of salt to taste. If the jalapenos are really mild, I sometimes add a pinch of cayenne for some kick.
I chop one whole bunch of Romaine lettuce into small shreds.
I like to shred my own cheese (pepper jack) when I’m feeling ambitious, but often use a Mexican cheese blend that is pre-shredded already.
I buy the small Old El Paso brand taco shells (2 pkgs to feed my family of 4 adults and 2 kids because the men will easily eat 6 tacos apiece or more).
I preheat my oven to 360*F, and set the shells in a baking pan. When the oven is ready I pop the pan of shells in for about 6 minutes, or whatever time is recommended on the package. This is an important step because it makes the shells nice and crispy!!!
I actually use a variety of sauces. I like to try new ones. The green tomatillo Herdez or La Costena hot sauces (medium) are both really good standbys. I like the Taco Bell hot sauce (Diablo), and the DelPrimo sauces are all good. But my favorite of recent is El Gallo flame roasted Jalapeno. It comes in a bag with a little screw top spout (medium).
To assemble the tacos I remove the shells from the oven and quickly fill them with meat, dispersing it evenly among the shells. I sprinkle cheese over the meat in each shell, and then add the lettuce. They each then get a spoonful of my fresh Pico and a generous pour of tomatillo taco sauce. That’s it! Mmmmmm…. let’s eat!!!!!!
Now some people might like to add chopped black olives, maybe some sour cream, possibly some sliced avacado, and that’s all good, but personally, I can’t bear to mess with perfection.
If you’d like to add a couple of sides, I love charros or refries and Mexican Rice. And you can never go wrong with Sopapilla Cheesecake for dessert!!!!! Hubby washes his meal down with a good Modelo cerveza! I just like iced tea. Gracee will take a Margarita, if I make her one, and the kids like horchata.
Hey, while we are enjoying our Family Supper, may I share with you from the book One Year of Dinner Table Devotions & Discussion starters by Nancy Guthrie (published by Tyndale)?
In case you missed this recipe, featured recently in A Native Thanksgiving, here’s a re-run of it all by itself, because it is just too delicious to miss.
There are several ways to make the fry bread. My grandmother used her homemade yeast bread recipe and then divided it into dinner roll size pieces. She pulled those into little robe shapes and gave them a little twist before frying. She called it “Squaw Bread” and I could have honestly eaten the whole stinking batch every time she made it. Nothing better than hot fried bread, unless of course it is hot fried bread rolled in cinnamon and sugar, which she also sometimes did.
You can save yourself a lot of work by just using Rhodes Yeast Rolls that come frozen in the grocery store. Thaw them and then fry them. It’s that easy!
The Native way is also very easy and delicious. This is the recipe:
This recipe makes 7-8 small ones
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Deep hot fat in fry pan or fryer
Sift dry ingredients. Stir in milk. Kneed and work the dough on a floured board with floured hands until smooth. Divide the dough into eight pieces and shape into flat disk shapes, with a depression in the center. Fry in deep fat (about 375°) until golden and done on both sides, about 5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper.
INDIAN FRYBREAD TACOS
Frybread tacos are very much like the Elephant Ear tacos that we used to get at the carnival when the rodeo was in town. Very easy and one of my favorite things to eat. If I have leftover homemade chili I use it in place of the meat recipe here. And when I can’t find Anasazi beans, and I’m in a hurry, I just substitute canned pintos.
6 pieces Indian Frybread — about 6” in diameter
1 lb hamburger
1 big can tomatoes (I used Rotel)
2 Tbsp homemade chile powder (or your favorite packet of Chili seasoning)
salt, pepper to taste
Fry hamburger broken up loose until cooked, then drain fat. Sprinkle some salt and chile powder over it (or use a Chili seasoning packet). Add tomatoes and their juice — break up tomatoes and stir it around. Simmer till meat tender and sauce is thick, 30 – 40 minutes.
1/2 lb cheese grated coarse (Colby/Jack)
1 1/2 c Dried anasazi beans, cooked
1 1/2 c Mache or arugula, washed & stemmed (I substitute Cilantro, chopped)
1 pkg sweet cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 ea Ripe avocados, halved & sliced
1 sm red onion, thinly sliced and diced
1 bunch red radishes, sliced
1 container Golden yellow cherry tomatoes diced
3 ea Green Anaheim (New Mexico) chiles, prepared (I’ve sometimes substituted Poblanos when Anaheims are out of season or unavailable)
1 lg Red bell pepper
To prepare the anasazi beans, soak overnight in water to cover. The next day, drain the beans and place them in a saucepan with fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the beans simmer until the skins break, about 3 hours. It may be necessary to add water as the beans cook to prevent them from burning and sticking. After the beans are cooked, remove from the heat and set aside. You should have about 3 cups cooked beans.
While the beans are cooking, roast, seed, and de-vein the chiles and the bell pepper, and chop each of the veggies. I usually do this early in the day, place each in a ziploc sandwich baggie, and store together in the fridge until I’m ready to serve.
Prepare the Native recipe fry bread while the meat (chili) is cooking.
To Assemble the tacos, place 1/2 cup cooked beans on each piece of frybread, then a layer of meat mixture, then your choice of the vegetables (I like all of them). Finish with a little Mexican Crema (sour cream), some bottled hot sauce (salsa) on top, and finally a little sprinkle of cheese.
You’ll need a fork and knife to eat this marvelous creation!
It’s funny, the seasons of life, how things have a way of making it around full circle to the exact same place where they started. For instance, we start off life as little pudgy babies, unable to talk, unable to walk, getting shots, getting sick, wearing diapers, being told what to do, and existing on a mostly liquid diet; and for all the progress we make in our lifetime, we end up right back where we started, in diapers, drinking Ensure, eating mushy stuff, taking meds, being told what to do, and wheeled around wherever we have to go.
It’s similar in a marriage. First I learned to cook for two, and then to prepare meals for a whole family, and now here we are back at just two again. I’m finding it a bit of a challenge to learn to scale things back so I don’t waste food, or blow the budget, trying to keep it healthy, but still tasting good! I don’t want to feed us Lean Cuisines, or fast food, or frozen pizza every meal, but at the same time, I don’t have the energy or ambition to stand on my feet for hours chopping, measuring, peeling, blanching, boiling, broiling, and then washing, wiping, scouring, scrubbing, and putting back together a totally destroyed kitchen…everyday….for just the two of us. <sigh>
So I find myself making things like quesadillas out of leftover fill-in-the-blank meat, cheese, and hot peppers; or fish tacos from doggie bag catfish gotten at a local restaurant the night before and some sort of cabbage slaw; or crispy fried SPAM-L-T’s (because I usually have Spam in the pantry and I don’t always have bacon) with a side of raw veggies (because that is healthier than chips, but a lot of times, honestly, it is chips); or this wonderful biscuits and gravy meal I recently came up with. It’s super easy if you roast your chilies one day, toss them in a bag and into the fridge, and then peel and seed them the next day.
I’m sharing it because Husband said this is the best gravy he’s ever had, and at 61 I guess that’s saying something. However, it could be that he has just totally forgotten what the best gravy was he had before this. Which is kind of a perk, the memory loss thing, it can really work to an old lady’s advantage sometimes! Ha! But I did also feed it to my daughter, the sweet young thing with a chipper young mind, and she concurred, so there you go, for what that’s worth.
Anyway, this gravy isn’t just good on biscuits. It would be fantastic on Chicken Fried Steak, pepper steak, mashed potatoes, as a dip for Waffle Fries, Chicken strips, or even just toast, if that’s all you have. I fried up some bacon (in the oven) and chopped up a couple dozen fresh okra from my garden, along with a cold, leftover baked potato, coated the pieces in cornmeal and then fried them in oil, as sides to our supper. Perhaps this sounds like “jail food” to you? Well, wait until you’re my age honey. You’ll be a LOT less picky. Hubby and I thought it was GOOD EATS!!!!
Creamy Poblano Gravy
¾ of a stick of butter
2 TBSP bacon drippings
¾ cup flour
¼ tsp Salt Lick dry rub seasoning (which is basically cayenne powder and black pepper)
Melt butter in frying pan, add bacon fat, flour, and seasoning. Stir to combine, then cook, stirring continuously, over medium high heat for a few minutes. To this rue add:
1 tsp. chopped jalapeno or serrano (or both if you like it spicy)
2 roasted, peeled, and seeded Poblano Peppers, chopped
4 cups of whole milk, or Half-and-Half
Water (as desired)
Stir until thick and bubbly. Add water to thin the gravy to your desired thickness. Salt and pepper to taste.
The title is kind of a guffaw, actually, and the reason I grin-and-bare that is that when hubby and I first moved to south Texas, and specifically the little town that we’re in, there wasn’t a chili relleno to be had on a single menu; not in a single restaurant in our town. And when I asked for “green chili” on an omelet for the first time I was met with a puzzled look and a question, “Do you mean Tomatillo sauce?” Um, no.
Needless to say, we were terribly disappointed, and bewildered. How could this be? Is it that green chilies only migrated north and west from New Mexico and not east? Maybe they aren’t a Mexican food at all? Perhaps it was my ignorance that green chilies and Tex-Mex were synonymous? 😞
I’m happy to report that just a couple of years later Hatch green chilies started making an appearance in these parts, and when they did, they made a big appearance. There are still no Chili Rellenos on the menus in our town, but at least this girl can get the ingredients in our local grocery to make them now, and that’s really all that matters.
And in all fairness, not all of South Texas is a dry Rellenos area; we’ve had them in a few San Antonio restaurants, even though they only barely resemble the authentic Rellenos that first stole my heart.
And, please pardon if I don’t make mine like you do. This is the way I personally like them. I’m sure I would love yours, unless you make them with ground beef filling, and then I’ll have to reserve my judgement until I’ve tasted them. Husband likes the beef filled rellenos, but I dream about cheese filled rellenos and am content to eat those for the rest of my days.
I got my Ranchera Sauce recipe from a gal I stopped in the middle of HEB not long back. She works in a local restaurant, so I knew she would steer me straight, at least as much of it as I could remember as she rattled her recipe off to me in the midst of my gathering ingredients. Ha! I hope I’m making it right. It’s sure tasty, so I’m sticking with it. 😆
First we start with the Ranchera Sauce
Place a stick of butter into a heavy pan and on medium high heat begin melting. As soon as it is melted add one whole large chopped onion (white or yellow). Saute the onion until it is translucent, turn heat down to medium and continue sautéing until the onions are caramelized. This will take quite a while.
Chop 2 jalapenos (stems discarded), and about 6 large plum tomatoes into chunks. Add them to the caramelized onions and let them cook until softened. Add a 14-oz can of tomato sauce to the mixture, stir, place a lid, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook until you are ready to batter and fry the rellenos. I have had the Ranchera sauce served to me chunky several times, so I presume that is the authentic way, but I use a Braun Wand blender tool to whirl the Ranchera into a smooth sauce with no large chunks.
Now, the preparation of the green chilies…
Pick the largest, firmest ones you can find at your grocery. Bring them home and wash them, and then dry them. I like the spicy ones. You might prefer the milder ones.
I have a propane flame torch which works pretty darn slick for roasting chilies. I lay my chilies out on the rack of my outdoor patio firepit, light my torch, and run the flame up and down each chile until they are blistered and black, then I flip the chilies over with tongs and roast the other sides. Once they are all well blistered on all sides I gather them into a plastic zip bag, seal it, and let the chilies steam inside for about half an hour or so.
If you don’t have one of these nifty little propane gadgets, the oven will work just fine. Move an oven rack up to the highest level of your oven. Preheat your oven broiler. Place your washed chilies on a cookie sheet and slide them onto that top rack in the oven.
Close the oven door (I prop my door open slightly with a wooden spoon – I like to hear my chilies popping and crackling).
Let the chilies broil on one side long enough for them to become charred and blistered.
Use tongs to roll them a quarter turn and return to broiler. Check them often for doneness. Continue turning and broiling until the chilies skins are blistered and charred all the way around.
Quickly remove them from the cookie sheet and place them into a large Ziploc freezer bag, and seal it.
Allow chilies to steam inside the bag for about half an hour, while you prepare the rest of the meal.
NOTE: I like to serve my Rellenos with homemade refried beans and a cheesy green chili rice. See those recipes below. Hint: this would be a great time to start making them now. This is also a good time to blend your Ranchera sauce and make is smooth. Keep it simmering on a back burner until ready to serve.
Start about 2 inches of oil getting hot in a deep sided frying pan (…just hot enough that a droplet of water makes it pop and fizzle. Not hot enough to be smoking. If you are seeing streaks/waves in your oil, it may be too hot. Either drop your heat, or add a little more oil to cool it down a bit before adding your chilies). The pan you use should be large enough that two chilies will fit without touching the sides or each other.
As soon as the green chilies have cooled enough to handle take them to the sink and begin removing the skins. They should slide right off easily. If not, be careful not to tear the chili, as it will be hard to keep the filling inside while you are battering it.
Once the chilies are skinned, make a slight slit along the side near the top stem of each.
Only make it big enough to slide the pieces of cheese inside. If you wish to remove some of the seeds you may do that also. I push the seeds out through the slit. I don’t mind a few seeds in my rellenos though. I use Pepper-Jack Cheese. For 8 to 10 chilies you will need about 1 1/2 8-oz blocks, which I cut into quarter-inch slices and then into quarter inch strips.
Begin stuffing your chilies with strips of cheese, about 5 or so strips per chili. Dust the outsides with flour and lay them on a paper towel as you prepare them. Once all the chilies have been stuffed and floured, you are ready to make your batter.
I beat two eggs and add about a cup of water to them…
…and then I whisk in some seasoned beer batter mix (part of one bag) until the consistency is about that of thin pancake batter. The batter should stick to your chilies, but just leave a fairly thin film. Hold the chili by the stem and dip it into the batter. Use a fork to sweep batter over the top of the chili and then gently lift the chili out of the batter, with the fork. Slide it into the hot oil and let it begin frying. Add another chili and let the two fry together.
Allow the chilies to fry for a few minutes and then use tongs to turn. The batter should turn a golden color. Scoop the chilies out of the oil and place on paper towels for a moment to absorb the oil. Quickly plate them and cover them with simmering Ranchera Sauce.
Oh my how I love them!!!!! Now if I could figure out how to feed a crowd all at the same time I’d be in business. I only know how to make Rellenos for one person at a time. Hot and fresh.
Mama’s Refried Beans
If you’ve made a pot of pinto beans and have leftovers, by all means use them for this. If not, look for these varieties at your local grocery store. I used 2 cans of Charro and 1 can of Barracho (which means drunken – notice that they use Shiner beer for this).
First I drained my beans of all the liquid (don’t rinse them). I melted about 2 Tablespoons of rendered pork fat (you can use lard, or if you have leftover bacon grease that’s actually preferred) in a sauce pan on the stove, and then I added my beans. I let them just bubble and cook on medium low heat until I was almost ready to serve my meal. Moments before I was ready to serve I took a potato masher and mashed the beans until they were the desired consistence. They may be served with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and some chopped green onion if you like.
NOTE: This also makes a wonderful bean dip, served with tortilla chips for a snack.
Cheesy Green Chili Rice
First I sautéed my rice (1 cup) in about 1/2 a stick of butter in a small sauce pot, on high heat. After about a minute of continuous stirring, I added 2 cups of hot chicken broth (water and boullion cubes work fine), 1 can of diced green chilies, and a grind of sea salt (you might hold off on this if using boullion). When the liquid boils, place a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Lift the lid and lay several thin slices of pepper jack cheese (about 1/3 cup shredded) or cream cheese on top of the rice. Replace the lid and leave covered about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Lift lid and fluff rice with a fork, incorporating the cheese throughout. If you like it just a little creamier, you may add a splash of Crema, heavy cream, or sour cream, and a sprinkle of cayenne.
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.” Acts 2:46
My husband and I discovered a little burger joint soon after moving to south Texas. It’s not a fancy place. In fact it’s kind of grimey looking on the outside. A regular person might even drive right past it and not think twice about it. It’s just a little dive of a place really, along the side of the road in Hondo, TX, but one day the old man and I cowboyed up and gave it a try … and I tell you … we absolutely fell in love with the Santa Fe burger that we ordered that first day. We love it so much it’s all we can ever think about when we drive by. We stop in regularly, on our way through town, just to indulge in its deliciousness. We love it so much we haven’t even ever tried anything else on the menu. You ever find a restaurant like that? They are real sweet about adding a few extra things to our burgers, which is what puts the Santa Fe right over the top. The next thing we know we’ve got it dripping down our arms, not saying a word, chewing as fast as we can to make our nagging tongues happy.
So, because of the couple of little extras I always ask for, I feel like its okay to give you my take on Billy Bobs lovely little sandwich of deliciousness. My version by no means replaces theirs, but it’s a nice little appetizer between trips. I’ll warn you up front that It’s a little bit of work to make, but baby it’s worth it!!!! At least in my book.
Prepare the Green Chilies
For this recipe you’ll need about two green chilies per person, so about eight should do. I pick out the biggest and most firm Anaheim (Hatch, Fresno, New Mexico) green chilies available at the market (I also grow them in my garden).
Wash them and dry them off, and then lay them out on a cookie sheet.
Raise one of the oven racks to its highest position in the oven and turn the oven on to BROIL. Allow the oven to warm up, and then put the cookie sheet of chilies in, just under the top heating element.
I usually prop a wooden spoon in the door to hold it open a tad, so I can hear the chilies popping and crackling.
I keep an eye on them, as it doesn’t take long. When I see that they are pretty popped and blistered, and burned on that top side, I open the oven, slide the rack out, and use tongs to turn the chilies a quarter of a turn, and then put them back under the heat. I continue broiling and turning until the chilies are popped and blistered, and charred on all sides.
Quickly remove the chilies from the oven with tongs and immediately place them into a plastic Ziploc freezer back. As soon as all the chilies are inside the bag, zip it up, and then let them sit and steam for several minutes, while you work on the rest of your meal.
Back in Wyoming there was a certain time in the summer when the green chile trucks would show up in parking lots around town with heaping baskets full of green chilies and a barrel-type roaster that rotated over an open fire. We could buy the amount of chilies we wanted and they would roast them, and then package them up for us to take home. I often bought large amounts of those chilies, took them home and repackaged them (about six chilies to a bag) into plastic zip bags, with their blistered skins left on, but all the air squeezed out, and put them straight into my freezer. Whenever I wanted to make something with green chilies I’d grab a bag and let it thaw for a little bit on the kitchen counter, peel the skins off in the sink, and sometimes remove the seeds and stems (depending upon what I was making), and either use them whole or chop them into pieces for whatever recipe I was doing. SOooooo many ways to use green chilies!!!!
Its unfortunate, but we don’t get those trucks in the little Texas town where I live now, and perhaps not where you live either. The BBQ grill works, but I’m not a fan of standing over a hot grill to babysit chilies on a hot south Texas day. But, in this instance, you’ll be grilling burgers out there anyways, so you may prefer just to do it all on the grill. And maybe you have a hubby who is all about the grill and happy to do them for you! Knuckle bump!!!!
UPDATE: Since first posting this blog I got myself a neat little propane weed burner torch for burning those dadgum, infernal sticker burr weeds that grow up in the lawn down here in south Texas around labor day and Valentine’s Day, and I tell you what, it works pretty darn good for that, but it works slicker than snot for roasting chilies outside on the patio firepit on a gorgeous fall afternoon.
The Beef Patties
1 (1-pound) pkg of high quality ground beef plus 1 (1-pound) pkg of ground bison
1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeds and flesh chopped finely
1/2 of a small red onion, chopped finely
1 tsp Salt Lick dry rub seasoning (this is mostly just cayenne and ground black pepper)
Sliced Pepper Jack cheese – to be placed on burgers at the end of grilling
Hamburger buns of choice (Sometimes all I can find are the regular, sesame seed buns, but when I can find a good, soft, ciabatta-type bun, I use that).
Mix together gently and form into four or five good-sized patties. Set aside while you prepare the following ingredients, and then grill the burgers over hot coals on the BBQ. Add the cheese during the last minute or so of grilling.
Bacon (2 slices per burger), the best is the thicker sliced applewood bacon, fried crispy…
(but if I’m in a hurry and don’t have leftover bacon from breakfast, I’ll use the precooked bacon available at the grocery store and go with 3 or 4 slices per burger)
Peel the skins off the green chilies, and remove seeds and stems, but leave whole
Sliced red onion
Sliced heirloom tomatoes
Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
Dill pickle slices
Garlic Mayonaise (mash 1 clove of garlic and mix into 2/3 cup of mayo, I often add a sprinkle of chili powder and a squeeze of lime, and sometimes some minced cilantro)
To Assemble the Burger
Some like their buns toasted
Spread some mayo over the bun halves
Squirt on some mustard
Lay a whole slice of red onion down
Place a few slices of jalapeno on top of the onion
Then a freshly cooked beef pattie with melted cheese
Layer on two Green Chilies, two slices of cooked bacon, a slice of tomato, a folded leaf of lettuce, (and a couple slices of dill pickle if desired)
Place the top of bun in place
Mash down so you can fit it in your mouth and ENJOY!!!!!
6 large red potatoes cooked until tender and cubed, skins on or off as preferred
4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and chopped
1/2 large red onion diced
3 stalks of celery chopped
2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 small sprig of dill weed, chopped
1 bunch of green onions chopped
1 or 2 large jalapenos, seeds and stems removed, diced
1 cups Mayonnaise (plus more or less, as you like it)
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Sea Salt (plus more as desired)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground pepper
Put first eight ingredients in a very large bowl. Mix up sauce ingredients and pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Add a half-cup of blue cheese crumbles and a quarter cup of crispy crumbled bacon as a garnish on top of potato salad.
Colleen’s Mexican Street Corn
8 ears fresh sweet corn (leave the husks and stems on)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Mexican crema (my grocer carries two types, a sweet cream type,which tastes like heavy whipping cream, and a sour cream kind. Both have a slightly thicker consistency than whipping cream)
1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija or Queso Fresco cheese
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I make my own blend, see recipe below)
1 medium clove garlic, mashed and finely minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 or 5 limes, cut into wedges
I grilled my corn in the husks on the grill, turning about every 5 minutes until charred on all sides, and then I pulled the husks down over the stems (using oven mitt to protect my hands from burning) and returned the corn to the grill for a short time (about 3 minutes) to give the kernels that charred effect. What works even better though is that nifty little propane torch I told you about above. I left the husks attached for a decorative effect, but now as I look at these photos I’m thinking they might have been even cuter if I had tied something around each husk, like a piece of raffia or something, to bundle them together and anchor them to the stems, turning them into decorative “handles.” NOTE: The corn can also be shucked and “grilled” in the oven at 425 degrees F, turning about every 7 minutes or so until cooked all the way around. Once it is cooked on all sides and has some charred spots it’s time to dress it up.
While the corn is grilling, mix together the mayo (please don’t use the fat-free stuff. I know it may be healthier for you, but really, you must live a little!!! At this just this one meal in your lifetime!), crema, garlic, and add about 1/4 tsp of the chili powder. Juice and zest a couple of the limes and then add the juice and zest to the mayo mixture. Toss in about half of the crumbled cotija (Queso Fresco). Mix well and keep in fridge until ready to use. Cut the remaining limes into wedges and save for serving.
As soon as the corn is grilled, spread each cob with a generous amount of the mayo mix on all sides. Don’t be chincy. Follow with a sprinkling all around of chili powder, and then cheese crumbles. Sprinkle some cilantro on top, and a few extra sprinkles of the cheese. Serve immediately with a wedge of lime for each cob!
You’ve died and gone to heaven, right? I’m there with ya!!!!!!
Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder
3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
1 Tablespoon hot Paprika
Chili Pequin to taste (I sometimes crush these little guys separately and only add it to single portions, as it really brings the heat)
Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely. Once cool, place in a blender, along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Use for making chili, to season corn, or in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.
“Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, [and] anoint the shield…” Isaiah 21:5
I’ve never considered myself a good cook, just a gal with a collection of pretty good recipes that manage to turn out decently every so often. Many times, in despiration, I’ve invented things based upon the contents of my cupboards and refrigerator, and predictably crashed and burned with many EPIC failures over the years, but once in a great great while even a blind squirrel gets a nut, and here’s the nut I ended up with recently.
I’d fretted all busy day about what to make for supper. Opened the fridge in between loads of laundry and errands. Surveyed the cupboards between mowing and paying bills. Inspected the freezer between my shower and mopping the floors. Nothing was jumping out at me. Whatever plan I had come up with before my last trip to the grocery store a few days ago was totally escaping my memory. The whole day had now passed and here I was AT crunch time, almost in a panic, hubbie about to walk through the door, and me with still not a clue what to make. The only thing jumping out at me from the fridge was the tube of crescent rolls I’d bought to make sopapilla cheesecake.
I sat down for a quick read of my devotional and there found offered below the scripture, commentary, and prayer, a recipe for “Meatball Sandwiches” … Hmmm… ?
I had a package of Italian meatballs buried in the bottom of my freezer. I had purchased them to make Zuppa Toscano soup a few months ago, but then never made it, because hot summer weather and soup just never seemed to trip my trigger. And niether did speghetti.
What if I used those meatballs and the crescent rolls to make some kind of Italian Beerrocks?
1 pkg Spicy Italian Meatballs
2 sticks of mozzerella string cheese (the ones I had were “Hot Habanero”)
1 tube refrigerator crescent rolls
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
minced serrano chile
1. First I cooked the meatballs according to package instructions, in the oven on 375*F, but for only 20 of the 30 minutes recommended.
2. While they cooked, I opened the tube of Crescent Rolls (gosh I hate that – gives me heart failure every time), and laid them out on my work surface and separated the sections. Then I sprinkled each triangle with garlic powder, and some Italian Seasonings.
3. Next I made my marinara sauce, since I didn’t have any jarred speghetti sauce or Butoni in the fridge. I poured two cans of crushed tomatoes into a sauce pot and whirled them with my Braun-wand-thingy until there were no chunks. Then I added about a tablespoon and a half of some Pizza spice I had in my cupboard and about a tsp of Italian Seasonings. And because I like things a little on the spicy side, I added a little bit of minced serrano chile that I had in the fridge. I set the pot on the stove and turned the burner to medium and let the sauce come to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
4. When the meatballs were cooked I removed them from the oven and sliced them part-way with a knife to make room for a piece of string cheese.
5. I placed a spoonful of marinara onto each dough triangle, then put a little pile of shredded parmesan (about a tablespoon worth) on top of each spoonful of sauce.
6. I cut my string cheese sticks into 4 pieces and placed a piece into each meatball, and set a meatball on top of each pile of sauce and parmesan, on each dough triangle as shown in the illustration.
7. I rolled each triangle up tightly, by first pulling the corners up and over the meatball, and then rolling it towards the far corner as shown here:
…And when I had formed nice tight balls, I pinched all the open places closed, and laid each ball on my cookie sheet, about 4″ away from each other to give them room to expand. (NOTE: 1 tube of dough makes 8 rolls. To make the meatballs and dough come out equal, you would need 3 tubes of dough and two 1-doz. pkgs of meatballs. Or, if you just want to make 8, you could cut the remaining meatballs in half and add half to each bun before rolling them up).
8. I placed the cookie sheet into the oven (350*F still warm from cooking the meatballs) and baked them as directed on the dough packaging – about 13 to 15 minutes.
This is what they looked like when they were done baking.
I served my little Beerrocks with a cup of warmed marinara to dip them in. They were delicious. Hubby even thought so. And, because they got the seal of approval from him, I thought I would share them with y’all … just in case you are in a pinch over what to have for supper, and happen to have all these same ingredients tucked away in your cupboards! 🙂
Note: These are only as good as the meatballs you make them with. Not all meatballs are created equal. I can totally vouch for this HEB brand, found in the meat section of the supermarket, or you can make your own if you have a terrific recipe.
Suggestion: Serve with a side Caesar Salad, or a nice cucumber salad (cucumber slices, red onion slices, bell pepper slices, and split cherry tomatoes in a sweet vinegar and oil sauce), or some cottage cheese and fruit, or just some carrot and celery sticks. The kids will love them too!
“Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14, KJV
((( P.S. Thanks Ms. Karen for the inspiration!!!!! )))
2 Serrano Chiles, stems removed, minced (mince the seeds also for heat, or discard)
1 7-oz can chopped Hatch Green Chiles (mild)
1 cup whole milk
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 8-oz pkg Shredded Cheese (*Mexican Blend), plus ADD an extra 1/2 cup of Pepper-Jack Cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400*F.
In a large pot, boil water and cook macaroni to “al dente” as instructed on the package. Drain off the water and place macaroni in a buttered baking dish large enough to fit, or use two baking dishes (one for enjoying shortly and one that you can freeze for later, or one you can give away to your busy daughter, a sick friend, or the elderly gentleman next door). Set macaroni aside while you make the sauce.
In a large saucepan on medium high heat, place the stick of butter and let it melt. Add the flour and whisk together until blended. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Add the onion, Serrano, and green chiles. Let cook until onion is tender. Add milk and chicken broth, whisking to make sure it doesn’t have any lumps. Let it cook a few minutes to thicken and then remove from heat. Add the *cheese and stir to blend. (* I like the HEB Mi Comida Mexican Cheese blend with Cotija, Manchego, Asadero, Muenster, Oaxaca, and Quesadilla cheeses, and then I add a little pepper-jack as well.)
Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and use your spoon to make sure it completely seeps down into the macaroni, every last millimeter of it.
Lay a piece of foil loosely over the top and place the dish in preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes. Adjust cooking time if using two pans – it won’t need to bake as long. Make sure it is bubbling all around the outsides and a little bit in the center, that’s when it’s done!
Goes very well with a nice crock pot roast (I like to make two – one to eat right away and one to freeze and use for other dishes later, like Stroganoff, Roast Beef Hash Casserole, Beef Quesadillas, Veg Beef Soup, BBQ Beef Sandwiches, SOS, Loaded Baked Potatoes, etc.). I like to pull mine so it soaks in all the juices.
Pot Roast and Mac & Cheese make just a Jim Dandy plateful of down home comfort food on a busy back-to-school night! Just add whatever vegetable you wish. I’m a big fan of Butter Beans, which are super easy-peasy. Just pour the frozen baby lima beans (the little green ones that come in a bag in the frozen section) into a pan of about 2 or 3 inches of boiling, salted water. Let the beans cook, covered for a few minutes in the rapidly boiling water until tender (the instructions are probably on the package, I’ve just never looked). As soon as they are just tender (I don’t like them mushy), drain them and toss a half a stick of butter in with them and let it melt and soak in. That’s it. That’s the way I like them. They can keep warm on a low burner of the stove, swimming in that creamy butter for a little while, if you like. Grind a little pepper melange on top and serve when you’re other dishes are ready.
“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.” Genesis 9:3
I’m not a big breakfast person – making it anyway. I am a huge, hUgE, HUGE fan of eating breakfast…out! Especially on the weekends. Cracker Barrel…. I-HOP…. Denny’s….. Jims…. that little mom-and-pop joint at the end of the street, here I come!!!!
I guess it is the mess that gets me. It is usually a collection of elements (eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, toast, pancakes, hash browns, oatmeal, grits, coffee, orange juice) that all need to come together at the same time and be served hot and fresh — oh the stress! And after that, all those dirty pots and pans. UGH! Not my favorite way to start the day.
Wait…did you hear that? Shhh. It’s the dusty, far off shuffle of our ancestors collectively rolling over in their graves and huffing – women in aprons and hair buns, wiping sweat from their brows and grumbling, “Grind the coffee, pick the berries, make the jam, mill the flour, churn the butter, reap the oats, tap out the maple syrup, squeeze the oranges, stand over an old iron stove in an un-airconditioned house, and get back to us!” Bow-legged, hunched-over men mumbling in their deep voices, “Butcher the pig, dig the potatoes, chop the wood, start the fire in the stove, and get back to us!” And sleepy-eyed little children sniffling, “Milk the cow, collect the eggs, get a bucket and go fetch water from the river to wash those dishes, and get back to us!” — Wow, I’ve got it pretty easy. I feeling pretty guilty now! 😛
Soooo, uh-hem, back to my easy Sunday morning breakfast.
Did I mention that I (((L❤VE))) Migas!!! Mind you, this recipe is not intended to be authentic. It’s just the way like and make mine. My Migas are easy easy easy peasy, and they are yummy! 🙂
Ingredients & Instructions
((( This recipe serves two)))
2 Tablespoons butter
3 corn tortillas
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 pepper of choice, diced (I use jalapeno, or poblano, but some of my fam can’t handle heat, so bell pepper works great for them)
1 serrano chili, diced (if you like it spicy! – I do!!!!!)
Melt the butter in a frying pan on the stovetop on medium high heat. Slice the tortillas into strips, then cut the strips in half. Toss them in the pan with the melted butter and let them fry on medium heat, flipping and tossing occasionally until they are golden and crispy (I like mine very crispy). After the last flip add a little more butter and then toss in the onions, poblano/jalapeno, and serrano and let it all saute together, just until tender.
4 large eggs, broken into a bowl and mixed with a fork
1/4 cup of cooked chorizo (or crumbled bacon, or chopped deli ham, or smoked sausage, whatever you have on hand – no meat is fine too)
1/2 cup grated cheese (I like the Mi Comida cheeses that they have at my local HEB grocery, but you can use colby, cheddar, muenster, gouda, pepper jack, whatever you have – and no cheese if fine too)
Once the tortillas are nice and crispy and the onions and peppers are tender, push them to the outsides of the pan, add a little more butter to the center of the pan and then pour in the eggs.
Stir the eggs with spatula as they cook and then gently fold them with the peppers and tortillas and mix everything together.
Add the cooked meat (if desired – honestly sometimes I don’t add any meat) and cheese (sometimes I don’t add the cheese either) and toss around to mix together.
Let the dish finish cooking another half minute or so.
Season to taste with ground sea salt and cracked black pepper. Remove from heat and serve with homemade Salsa Verde! Count yourself lucky if you have a friendly neighbor who makes her own Salsa Verde and shares it with you!!!!!!!!
Mmmmm…mmm…mmm!!! Grab a fork baby and dig in!!!!! (Oooops, after the blessing, of course).
NOTE: You can dress yours up any old fancy way you want it. Add a slice of avacado, give it a splash of green or red salsa, toss a sprinkle of chopped cilantro on top, serve it with freshly friend and buttered gorditas or a side of Indian fry bread and honey, or some crispy hash browns, even a little dallop of sour cream, if that’s what trips your trigger. And if you are feeling especially ambitious they are off the chain with a side of fried potatoes!
Thank you Father for providing this food! Bless it to our bodies for health and strength. Be present at our table Lord, be here and everywhere adored. These morsels bless, and grant that we, may feast in Paradise with Thee. Be honored in our hearts and homes this beautiful day. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
This is the number one requested supper of my son-in-law. I make it every year for his birthday. I kind of almost reinvent it every time I make it – making it mostly from memory, and really don’t measure anything – but he says it is always good, even it if is just a little different each time. I make mine with bacon and BBQ sauce and am pretty sure that’s what makes it better than your average meatloaf. Sometimes I add diced celery or grated carrot to the meat, not a lot, just a little. Maybe a half a cup or so? Sometimes I can’t find ground buffalo and so I have to make it all beef – And I prefer using a good quality ground sirloin, organic if I can find it. Often times I add a jalapeno or Serrano from my garden, minced, sometimes I give it a couple squirts of Worcestershire sauce. I rarely repeat a BBQ sauce, and that is really what makes it different every time, but the boy insists that no matter how it turns out it is always his favorite. He makes me want to spoil him rotten – or fatten him up, one!!!!
If you can’t find the Salt Lick dry rub, basically all it is is about 1/2 tsp of cayenne powder, 1 tsp of ground black pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt. It might have a sprinkle of garlic powder in it too.
I wrap my meatloaf with bacon, and I’ve discovered that a bacon lattice is the best way to go. I didn’t always do this, as you’ll see in some of the photos here, but trust me, it is the best way, because the bacon stays in place when it cooks and when you slice it to serve. I like a thin sliced applewood smoked bacon the best!!!
First, I lay out a sheet of aluminum foil and then lay slices of bacon across it, about the length of my baking dish. Then I weave another set of bacon strips into the first strips like a lattice pie crust.
Next I take my mixed up meatloaf and pat it into an oblong tube shape and lay it down the center of the bacon weave. Finally, I pull the sides of the foil tightly up and around the meatloaf and press the bacon against the meatloaf. I then unwrap the foil and pull the bacon until the ends meet and the meatloaf is fully covered, and then I roll the meatloaf over and place it seam side down in the baking dish.
I use an oblong glass baking pan. I then like to season the bacon with steak seasoning and coarse ground black pepper. I put it into a 325*F oven and let it bake for about an hour and 20 minutes before I put the BBQ sauce on. This way the bacon gets crispy. Check the internal temp of the meatloaf. It should be 160*F when it is done. When it is nearing this, that’s when I start the BBQ sauce process. I don’t have a favorite brand of BBQ sauce. I use all kinds. But I prefer the sweet and spicy types (Sweet Baby Rays Honey Hot, Famous Dave’s Devil’s Spit, etc.) that are thick, not runny! Part of the fun for me is experimenting with new BBQ sauces.
After I put the BBQ sauce on, I put the meatloaf back in the oven and turn up the heat to broil. I let the sauce cook until it almost burns, and then I add another layer of it and return it to the broiler, making sure the sauce gets good and carmelized on top.
And then I take it out and let it sit for a few minutes on the stove top before I slice it. While it is cooling I use a turkey baster to syphon off all the grease out of the pan.
That’s it! That’s my most special meatloaf. But wait…
The last time I made it for my son-in-law I added a treat to it. As soon as we finished dinner my husband’s exact words were, “Wow! Just when I thought your meatloaf couldn’t get any better, you go and kick it up a notch! That was freaking fantastic, wife!” Wow, he makes me blush. So, what did I do?
Well, I had some herb, garlic, blue cheese butter wrapped in plastic in my fridge that I’d whipped up for our grilled steaks a little while back. I thought it might be good on meatloaf, and would be a great way to use up those leftovers. I gotta tell you, it was not only great, it was freaking incredible. The BBQ sauce, bacon, beef, jalapeno, herb, garlic, blue cheese thing just WORKS!!!!! Oh my goodness!!!!!
INSTRUCTIONS: mince the herbs and garlic and add to room temp butter in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Crumble the blue cheese and mix in with the herb butter. Spoon onto plastic wrap and roll into a tube shape, covering it completely with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and allow to harden. Slice into half-inch thick slices and lay a slice onto a hot-off-the-grill steak, or a slice of fresh-out-ot-the-oven meatloaf. YUM!
And (drum-roll please) my latest tweak… smoked meatloaf! Instead of baking it in the oven I asked my son to grill it on his Pit Boss. It turned out freaking amazing!
No, this is not health food. This is that one cheat meal that you get to have once every 364 days! I served my latest meatloaf with Mexican Street Corn-in-a-cup and a baked potato, but it is good with any sides really. I love loaded up green beans! I love loaded up brussels sprouts! I love cream corn (cream cheese and butter) with a can of green chiles added. I love mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and potato casserole.
Maybe you like sweet potatoes? My son-in-law loves his mashed with brown sugar (or maple syrup) and butter, crushed up pecans, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a few mini-marshmallows – basically like a sweet potato casserole.
I also found a yummy recipe for Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes that’s a nice change of pace from the usual marshmallow or pecan varieties. It has fresh crushed pineapple, a firm (green) banana chopped fine, melted butter, fresh lime juice and coconut syrup for sweetness, and then garnished with shredded coconut and crushed salted macadamia nuts. Delish!
Instead of baked potatoes, you can make a loaded mashed potato casserole, with butter, sour cream, and cheddar cheese mixed in, and garnished with green onions and crispy bacon.
Wrap up your leftovers (if you can manage to keep some back), and make yourself a jim-dandy meatloaf sandwich the next day!!!!! .
Mmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm, here’s how I like ’em: .
Whole Wheat bread
Course Ground Mustard
About 1/4 inch thick slices of cold meatloaf
a nice thick slice of sweet, white onion
Lots of Romaine Lettuce
and sometimes a slice of dill pickle .
Come for Supper?
“She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; She has also set her table” – Proverbs 9:2
Duuuuude! …Ranch that is. When I think of a backyard barbeque I think of the time that I was a guest at my girlfriend’s ranch when the hands threw a BBQ feast that would knock you right out of the saddle. I was the only dude; everybody else was the real deal. Weeeeee doggies! I loved when I got to stay the weekends with her. Her life was so much different from mine. I was a city girl – well, if you want to call the thriving metropolis of Edgerton, Wyoming a “city” (population 150). Wilma, on the other hand, was a country girl through and through who lived on a ranch clear out in the middle of nowhere, where the deer and the antelope roam. She had two older brothers and her dad was as close to John Wayne as you could get without cloning. He sat tall in the saddle on his giant horse, Keno. Keno was a plow horse with a shiny black coat and giant hooves. Looking back, he was probably a clydesdale or something kin to it. Wilma’s mom was the craftiest lady I knew. She was always dressed so nice in her country western flare. She made all sorts of grub from milk products and her summertime garden and all that a working ranch has to offer. Her house was immaculate and decorated with stretched animal skins backed by layered, pinking-sheared felt, and Indian blankets hanging on the walls.
She also made jewelry out of porcupine quills. Porcupine quills? Well, here’s the story that I got. Wilma’s brothers were coming home kind of late one night and hit a fat and waddling porcupine in the road. When they saw her in their headlights they swerved left and right, dust flying everywhere, but they couldn’t get the old Ford shut down in time. Thump! They bailed out to see if she was okay and saw that she was dead. She was so big that they knew she was pregnant, so they did a prairie style emergency cesarean section on her and brought the little dickens home to mom to see if she could keep it alive. Mom nursed the little critter with a tiny baby bottle, and not only did the tiny beast live, it became a family pet. She plucked its quills to make her jewelry. She made beautiful things from those quills.
Wilma had a bedroom in the ranch house, but her brothers all slept in the bunkhouse with the other ranch hands (probably why the house was always so clean). We never saw much of them. Our days were spent riding her horse bareback all around the ranch, and sometimes following her dad on his rounds. Sometimes we’d pack up her record player and her Tanya Tucker, Dolly Pardon, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn records (…yes records – I know, this dates me. If you don’t know what records are, ask your mom…) and we’d haul them up to the attic of the barn. We’d push the hay bales around to make a stage, and then we’d string an extension cord, plug the record player in, and take turns pretending to be Country Western stars at the Grand Ole Opry. “Stand by yer man…doot doo dooo…” She knew all the words to all the songs, I just lip-sinked and pretended until I learned them. See the thing about that kind of music is nobody listened to twangy Country Western in my house in the city. But by the third sleep-over with Wilma I could cut loose at the top of my lungs with the best of them. That’s also the beauty of living in the boondocks – nobody can hear you. You know, I can still smell the barn in my memories. Wood, leather tack, and hay —aaahhhchoooo— God bless me!
I always got a kick out of the phone thing too. At Wilma’s house the phone was on a “party line,” and they had a special ring to let them know when the call was for them. If you picked up the phone to make a call you might hear people talking, and if you lacked manners you’d listen in to see what they were saying – but everyone in Wilma’s house was polite not to, at least when I was there anyways. And at night after we cleared away the supper dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, Wilma, her mom, and I, we’d gather around the CB and listen to the trucker’s conversations as they cruised by on the nearby highway. Wilma’s mom even let me make up a “handle” so I could hold that microphone and push the button and say, “Breaker, breaker, one-nine,” and hopefully snag a passerby into a mini-chat. What was my handle? It was pretty corny – Capricorny! The conversations were never too intelligent either.
Okay, so getting back to where I started…there was one weekend that I stayed over when the whole ranch had a barbeque planned. My gosh it was a big to-do. Wilma’s mom had made several salads and a big pot of ranch style baked beans, and several desserts. There were a bunch of bow-legged cowboys hootin’ and hollerin’ in the back yard, some standing around the cook, others trying out their rope tricks on a saw-horse bull’s head, and another gang tossing horseshoes – clank! The BBQ stove was made from a big barrel cut in half lengthwise with welded-on hinges and a vent pipe sticking out the top. It was filled to capacity with ashen charcoals. It was also big enough to cook a couple dozen steaks at a time, and you could feel the heat of it from three bunkhouses away. The smoke from that iron trench rose to the heavens and made a big old cloud in the back yard. It smelled sooooo good, as only charring, perfectly seasoned, aged bovine can smell.
They asked me how I liked my steak and I said, “Well done, please!” In just three shakes of a lamb’s tale (that’s a nano-second to you and me) here it came. I looked at it like a beginner climber might look at Mount Everest. It wasn’t like any steak I’d ever seen before – it was a ROAST, that could have fed my whole family. I weighed in at about a buck o-five, this steak was just under that. It took up my whole plate at an inch and a half thick. The crimson juices ran all over the plate until they were spilling over the sides. When I stuck my fork in, it wiggled a little and let out a moo. I asked, sheepishly, if my side-of-beef could smolder just a smidgen longer on the hot coals until it was dead, dead, dead. They gave me heck and teased me for a stretch, but obliged me. When I got’er back I worked on that thing most of the night trying to git’er done, but it was mission impossible. I rolled around in bed that night with a belly full of cow that would last me the rest of my life. Okay, maybe not that long. Yeehaw! I am a Wyoming girl after all.
So, for my backyard BBQ I’m gon’na play on my memories of this grand little shindig and add a little dude to it, ’cause I really don’t know no better (and yes, I know that was not proper English).
Here’s what I’m thinking for my City Slicker Cowboy BBQ party:
Set up several bench type picnic tables in the backyard. Cover them with red and white check tablecloths. Set up a CD player with my favorite Country Western tunes, or set it on a good Country Western radio station – Sirius Satellite if you have it.
In the invitation ask guests to dress up in western apparel: cowboy boots, cowboy hats, button up shirts with tight Levis and big belt buckles, or women’s shirts and skirts with Cadillac Cowgirl accessories.
Come ‘n Get It MENU
Marinated and grilled Tri-tip
Corn on the cob
Boston Baked Beans
By the way, isn’t this a cute idea for napkin holders? I found a motherlode of bluejeans pockets at my local antique mall a while back and this is how I decided to put them to good use:
MARINATED AND GRILLED TRI-TIP (Serves approximately 8)
1 cup lemon juice 1 cup soybean oil 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup soy sauce 1/2 cup black pepper 1/2 cup garlic salt (recommended: Lawry’s) 1/2 cup chopped garlic 1/2 cup chopped dried onions
2 (4-pound) tri-tips, trimmed
To make the marinade, mix all of the ingredients except for the beef in a large mixing bowl. Place the trimmed tri-tips in a plastic container and pour the marinade over. Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
Heat grill to medium temperature.
Place tri-tips on grill at a 45 degree angle to establish grill marks and cook about 35 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness. Remove the tri-tips from the grill and let rest about 2 to 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with your favorite side dishes.
CORN ON THE COB
As many ears of sweet corn on the cob as number of guests
Butter (lots and lots of it)
Cajun Seasoned Salt, like Slap Ya’ Mama (or another favorite of mine is the wonderful Hatch Chili seasoning from Urban Accents that I got at Central Market in San Antonio, TX)
Leave the corn in the husks and grill on the grill, about five to eight minutes per side until all sides are burned. Remove from grill and keep warm in oven on low (170 degree) heat. When ready to serve cut the stem ends off completely about 1/4″ up the cob. Let your guests peel the husks off by loosening the husks from the corn where the cob was cut. Grab the silks end firmly and pull the husk off the cob. The silks should slide out with the husks and you should be left with a nice clean cob of corn.
Now I have some dandy little plastic corn cups that fit a cob of corn perfectly. Place a couple pats of butter in each dish and then about a teaspoon of seasoning sprinkled all down the length of it. Lay the hot cobs of corn on top and roll them around until they are covered with seasoning and melted butter. Offer little cob forks to make them easier to hold onto.
POTATO SALAD (serves approximately 20)
12 large red potatoes cooked until tender and cubed, skins on or off as preferred
6 hard boiled eggs, cooled and chopped
1 large red onion diced
6 stalks of celery chopped
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 small sprig of dill weed, chopped
1 bunch of green onions chopped
1 or 2 large jalapenos, seeds and stems removed, diced
2 ½ cups Mayonnaise (more or less, as you like it)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tsp Iodized Sea Salt
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp pepper
Put first eight ingredients in a very large bowl. Mix up sauce ingredients and pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Add 2 Tablespoons of mustard to finished potato salad.
Add a half-cup of blue cheese crumbles and a quarter cup of crispy crumbled bacon as a garnish on top of potato salad.
BOSTON BAKED BEANS (serves approximately 8)
1 large package dried navy beans (or 6 cups)
2 bay leaves
1 large white onion, peeled
1 cup molasses
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons iodized sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups boiling water
1 lb of salt pork
Rinse the beans and soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans again. Put in a large kettle and cover with fresh water to about ½ inch above the beans. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 2 hours. Drain. Place into a casserole dish.
Poke the cloves into the onion and add it to the beans. Mix together the molasses, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the boiling water and stir to blend thoroughly. Pour over the beans, adding more water if needed to almost cover the beans with liquid.
Push the piece of salt pork down into the beans until it disappears. Cover beans and bake in a 275 degree oven for about 4 ½ hours. Uncover and continue to bake another half hour. Take the pork rind out and chop up into bite-sized pieces and return to casserole. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. May also be served cold by allowing to cool and refrigerating overnight.
1 head of green cabbage, shredded (approx. 8 cups)
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 cup grated celery
2 Fuji apples peeled, cored, and chopped
½ of a small white onion finely sliced
1 green bell pepper thinly sliced
3/4 cup of white raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Optional: caraway seed, ground (’cause that’s how my grandma made it)
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup lemon juice, or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Place the first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together sauce ingredients and pour over veggies. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until chilled and ready to serve. Just before serving sprinkle with slivered almonds and ground caraway seeds. Serve within 2 hours for a crispier salad. The salad will become more wilted the longer it marinates.
2 boxes Krusteaz Honey Cornbread mix
1 1/3 cup of milk
1 (16 oz) can of creamed corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons diced jalapenos
2 green onions chopped finely
Prepare 1 large 9 x 16-inch baking pan by lightly greasing with shortening or cooking spray.
In a large bowl blend all the batter ingredients until just moistened. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden on top and springs back when touched.
PEACH COBBLER (serves approx. 6)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon ground mace
½ cup brown sugar
4 cups sliced peaches (fresh or frozen)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon butter
1 ¼ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Baking powder
¼ cup butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
sugar cinnamon mixture
Put first 6 ingredients in a saucepan and cook until thickened. Add another Tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 3 Tablespoons water if needed for thickening. Fresh and frozen peaches produce moisture. If using canned peaches, drained, you won’t need any extra cornstarch.
Pour peach mixture into an oblong glass dish 8 x 12-inch that has been lightly greased with butter.
Place all topping ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Dough should be very much like biscuit dough.
Topping can be added to the peach mixture one of two ways. Some like a peach cobbler with a topping that looks a lot like drop biscuits. Others like a cobbler with a lattice topping like pie. If you like the drop biscuit type then just take small spoonfuls of the batter and slide them off onto the peaches with your finger or a knife, dropping a small pile about ½-inch apart all over the top until all the batter is used up.
If you like the lattice top, sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and pat out the dough with your hands, flipping to coat with flour. With a floured rolling pin roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the dough into strips. Lay one set of strips horizontally across the top of the peaches about an inch apart. Pull every other strip back and lay in a vertical strip. Lay the pulled back strips over it and pull back every other of the other strips. Lay another strip in and lay the pulled back strips over it. Repeat until you have a lattice pattern over the peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes for drop biscuit topping, less for latice top, or until the crust is just golden and the filling is bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
I’ve heard that in the olden days the cowboys would dump the grounds in with the water and set the pot on the fire to cook. When the coffee was made they’d break an egg into the pot to round up the grounds. Let’s be honest… that’s got’ta be the nastiest cuppa-joe on the planet. We’re not doing that. We’re just gon’na brew it in the old Mr. Coffee machine (or Keurig). And since we’re sissy city slickers anyway let’s splurge and have some creamer – flavored creamer if you are one of those. Serve it in little tin cups for looks.
I personally like the frozen Minute Maid concentrates the best. I mix them up with twice as water as directed and then slice up several lemons and float the slices in the lemonade. It will probably need some more sugar (try 1 cup to start). I like the pink lemonade with pulp. And when I’m feeling really fancy, I add a bag of frozen strawberries (or raspberries, blackberries, even blue berries) to the pitcher.
If you are feeling really really fancy you can make Fruity Lemonade: Fill a glass with a chunk or two each of the following fruits: Watermelon slice, pineapple chunk, frozen strawberry, maraschino cherry, orange slice, lemon slice, lime slice, raspberries and a mint leaf. Mingle the fruits with ice cubes and pour the lemonade over the top. Serve with a striped straw. When you are done drinking you have a nice little fruit salad to munch on.
For another change of pace I make Limeade from frozen concentrate, use club soda for the liquid – a little more than called for, add some sliced limes, just like I do for the lemonade. Plus, I add a jar or two of drained maraschino cherries to the pitcher. Lip smackin’ good!
1 gallon of fresh tap water
1 Family Size tea bag
sugar or other sweetener
I brew my tea in the sunshine. I fill my freshly scoured sun tea jar with cold tap water and hang a Family-size Lipton teabag in it (folding the corner over the lip of the jar and holding it in place with the lid), screwing that lid on snuggly. Then I set the whole business out on the back patio until the sun brews it a nice dark golden brown all the way to the bottom. I hurry and bring it in and pull that teabag out, and since I like mine sort of sweet I add about a cup of sugar and stir it in while the tea is hot. Ten I set the jar in the refrigerator to get cold. I like my tea over a tall glass heaping with ice cubes. Mmmm… mmmm…. mmmm, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Unless of course it’s…
MRS. H’S TEA
Not me, Mrs. H., but by BFF Treva’s mom, Mrs. H. — Mrs. Hendrickson. She was bar-Nunn the best cook of the prairie. Treva’s mom had a gallon container of this concoction in the fridge at all times when we were kids. It was the number one requested beverage of all gatherings of kids in our school for all time. It was always the first beverage to run out, and believe you me the party was over when that happened.
In a one-gallon pitcher add:
1 small can (6-oz) frozen lemonade concentrate (or spoon out half of a large can)
Stir until mixed. Mrs. H. always poured hers into a clean gallon-sized plastic container like what distilled water and drinking water comes in, so she could cap it and store it in the fridge. I always use a gallon size bottle of drinking water to make my tea, so I will have the container to make my tea – just like Treva’s mom had. This tea just goes with everything. You’re gon’na love it.
Now, what to do after grub time…
Set up a “stage” using bales of hay, and after dinner let your guests have a go at some Country Western Karaoke.
Ask your guests to do a little research before the party and round up some cowboy poetry. Perhaps your guests are poets-and-didn’t-know-its and would care to take a dare and write some lines of rhymes on their own times and bring ’em. Gather everyone around the fire pit or bonfire and let him or her take turns sharing the funniest and cleverest. Roast marshmallows and invite your guitar-playing buddy to lead the gang in some prairie tunes, like Home, Home on the Range. It will be a little like camping. 🙂
Cowboy Poetry, by Hal Cannon
Cowboy Poetry Classics, by Various Artists (Audio CD – Sep 13, 2005)
Coyote Cowboy Poetry, by Baxter Black (Hardcover – Oct 1, 1986)
Elko! A Cowboy’s Gathering, by Various Artists (Audio CD – Jan 25, 2005)
Cactus Tracks and Cowboy Philosophy, by Baxter F. Black (Paperback – Oct 1, 1998)
Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion, by Charlie Seemann and Virginia Bennett (Paperback – Jan 20, 2004)
(And there are tons of others. Type “Cowboy Poetry” into the search box at Amazon.com)
We are lucky in our family that we have Harold. He’s my cousin-in-law who dabbles a bit in cowboy poetry, among his many other talents. He wrote a poem once about MUSTANGS that I just love. It’s actually best when he tells it, live and sitting around a campfire. I’ve lost my copy that Sonya sent one Christmas and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. We got together for a family reunion a couple summers ago and he told of few of his poems while we were all sitting around after dinner. Darn-it, where’s a video camera when you need one?
MUSTANGS by Harold Anderson
Horseshoes & Steer Roping
Definitely set up a horseshoe pit (see Family Reunion chapter for how to set up a horseshoe pit), and even a sawhorse mounted steer head for some roping practice.
Target Practice and Knife Throwing
Set up a target strapped to a tree for knife throwing competitions, or line the fence with pop cans for some target practice. If you live in the city use rubber band guns or a Red Ryder BB gun. It will be a hoot, I promise!
Be sure and pick up some gunnysacks for races at your local farm and ranch store (like Murdocks), and maybe even a small horse trough filled with water and a half a box of apples, so the kids can bob for apples.
Needle in a Haystack
Make a big haystack and hide some treasures in it for the kids to find.
This is a team relay race so divide your group into however many teams of equal number and be prepared with a stopwatch to time them. At the starting line is a giant stick horse, a cowboy hat, and a neckerchief. At the whistle the first person on the team has to put on the gear and ride the stick horse through the rodeo arena. First they’ll zigzag through the pole bending, at the end of the poles are the barrels, which they must circle each one without knocking ’em over. They’ll ride from the last barrel to the waiting rider, hopping and kicking like they’re on a bucking bronc to the finish line. The next rider has to put on the gear and repeat the process (in reverse) to the waiting team member at the other end. Whichever team finishes in the quickest time wins.
Square Dancing or Line Dancing
Remember when we all had to learn to square dance in P.E. class at school when we were kids? You always wondered where in the world you would ever use that in life – well…right here, at your Cowboy BBQ, that’s where. Clear an area for the Square Dance and see how much you remember. Get a Square Dance CD to refresh your memory if it has faded over the years from lack of use. Or, if you’d rather, learn a couple of line dances and teach them to your guests. There is a wonderful line dance video out there that you can use to teach yourself and your guests.
Square Dance Fun for Everyone (2 CDs and Booklet) – Kimbo; Audio CD
Let’s All Square Dance – Various Artists; Audio CD
A Quick Start Guide to Line Dancing (Shawn Trautman’s Learn to Dance Series) – Shawn Trautman; DVD
Give each guest a harmonica and give everyone time to pick out a tune… then have a contest and pick the winner of the best tune.
Play Harmonica in One Hour, Featuring Bobby Joe Holman by Bobby Joe Holman (DVD – Nov 29, 2005)
After dinner, how about a nice outdoor movie under the stars? Drag the TV outside on the patio. Gather all the lawn chairs around it. Wrap everybody up in a saddle blanket or sleeping bag, and let’s watch an old western. Pick a movie, any movie:
The Shootist Tombstone Silverado Quigley Down Under
The Cowboys Tom Horn Open Range The Quick and the Dead
True Grit Bite the Bullet Wyatt Earp The Sons of Katie Elder
Pale Rider El Dorado Nevada Smith Long Riders
Paint Your Wagon Outlaw Josey Wales Once Upon a Time in the West
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Young Guns The Magnificent Seven
Maverick Urban Cowboy 8 Seconds Unforgiven
Pure Country Lonesome Dove (ummm… that’s a little bit long to watch in a night)
And when we’re done with that, how about sitting around a campfire and telling stories, roasting marshmallows, or singing to the guitar until everyone is snoring?
Stories for Around the Campfire, by Ray Harriot (Paperback – Dec 1986)
More Stories for Around the Campfire, by Ray Harriot (Paperback – Dec 1986)
The Kids Campfire Book: Official Book of Campfire Fun (Family Fun), by Jane Drake, Ann Love, and Heather Collins (Paperback – Jun 12, 2001)
I personally love Patrick McManus
Here is the short list of some “Cowboy” themed board and card games if you’d like to give them a try. Look for them online at Board Game Revolution and Amazon.com.
Cowboys: The Way of the Gun
Wyatt Earp (card game)
Snorta! New Edition from MATTEL (I hear this one is hysterically fun)
The Farming Game by Weekend Farmer
Racing ‘N Rodeo Board Game, by Weekend Farmer
Late for the Sky Rodeo-Opoly, by Late for the Sky
Life on the Farm, by WeRfun.com
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Well, partner, I reckon I better run off now and git something done with myself. Been sittin’ here at this dern computer most of the morning. Can’t wait to get this party started with you. Happy Trails!!!
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“Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.”