Monday, December 5, 2016

Impromptu Steak and Potatoes

My good buddy Joe knows I’m once again dog sitting and bachin-it so on Friday he said he would plan to come over on Sunday, which sounded great to me.  Later that evening he called back to offer a different plan – he and Carol would both come over and bring steaks and salad – for some reason they think I’m a good steak cooker but I don’t think so.

At Carol’s request, my contribution to the meal was to be twice baked potatoes, which is one of my favorites and I was happy to do.  I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe but didn’t follow it too closely.

8 baking potatoes, washed (I used 6 large ones)
3 tablespoons canola oil (use just enough to coat them)
2 sticks salted butter (I used 1½ sticks)
1 cup bacon bits (see note 1 below)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Cheddar or Jack cheese (I used about 1¼ cups cheddar)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons seasoned salt (I used Lawry's)
3 green onions, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

Larry note 1:  Since I didn’t want to trash the cooktop, I diced a pound of bacon into 1/2 “ pieces and cooked them over low heat in a high sided sauce pan until nicely brown.  It takes a while to render enough fat but once the pieces are all submerged, they quickly become a nice crispy golden brown.  Then I removed them with a slotted spoon, drained on paper towels, measured out the needed one cup, and saved the rest.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Rub them with the canola oil and bake for 1 hour, making sure they're sufficiently cooked through.
3. Slice the butter into pats. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the bacon bits and sour cream. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
4. With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl, being careful not to tear the shell. Leave a small rim of potato intact for support. Lay the hollowed out potato shells on a baking sheet. (See note 2)
5. Smash the potatoes into the butter, bacon and sour cream. Add the cheese, milk, seasoned salt, green onions and black pepper to taste and mix together well. (IMPORTANT: If you plan to freeze the twice-baked potatoes, do NOT add the green onions.)
6. Fill the potato shells with the filling. I like to fill the shells so they look abundant and heaping.

Larry note 2:  When my mom made these she did not oil the potatoes and the skins were always crispy and hard to damage, but the oil keeps them pretty tender.  You real cooks likely already know this, but I found that if I went around the potato flesh with the slanted point of the knife, it made the potato scoop out easier and left just the amount of potato I wanted on the inside.   

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Braised Short Ribs Ala Pam

No, I haven't quit blogging, I just haven't had much to write about for a few weeks.

It was time to think about supper (about five minutes after breakfast) and Bev suggested some beef short ribs that were in the freezer and needed to be used.  I thought I had saved a recipe for them and sure enough, I found one from Pam at For The Love Of Cooking.  Rather than recopy it here, please check her site for the recipe and pics.

Ingredient wise, I made it by the recipe except I had only six short ribs or so the package said but I have never seen boneless short ribs.  My guess is they were similar to pork country ribs which are boneless and cut from the shoulder or in the case of beef, from the chuck.  

I made the dish per the recipe except I did not strain or blend up the sauce – just left it chunky and pulled out the bay leaf and any thyme stems I could find.  Rather than baste them half way through the cooking process I just flipped them and at this time, I also added two quartered onions and four potatoes in large chunks.

To serve, we used a fork to mash some potatoes on our plates then topped with some sauce, the meat, and more sauce.

Not much of a presentation or shot (we were hungry) but we all thought this was one of the best meals we have ever cooked and as a bonus, it was made in one pot.  It will definitely be made here again – thanks Pam for a delicious supper.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


11/30/16 event dates

Friday, November 11, 2016

Good Meals While Bev Travels

I’d had a continuing-to-get-worse issue with the first two toes on my left foot growing further away from my big toe which resulted in pain when I walked.  So after getting two new knees last winter, I had this, hopefully final, problem fixed the end of October which means I’ll be in a boot for several weeks.  Since Bev was heading off to Florida for two weeks in mid-November, she cooked me up several dishes to tide me over until she returns.

For each of them, we made enough to eat and enough to freeze often doubling the recipes which can be found via the links.

First up was a big pot of her normal chili - this is an old shot but it still looks just the same and as always we really enjoyed it – especially over some of her Mexican cornbread.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

RV Rally – Maggie Valley, NC – Days 3&4

This is a continuation of our RV rally trip from the previous post - warning lots of pics.

Like many smaller mountain towns, Waynesville, NC has morphed itself into a tourist destination so after a heart healthy, camp cooked breakfast of biscuits & gravy, sausage, ham, and scrambled eggs, we headed into town for a little site seeing and shopping for our initial day-three activity.

Monday, October 24, 2016

RV Rally – Maggie Valley, NC – Days 1&2

I’ve posted before that we are members of the Tennessee Travelers Chapter of FMCA and we recently participated in an RV rally at the Pride RV Resort & Campground in Maggie Valley, NC, located in the Piedmont area of the eastern United States.  The campground is laid out such that a creek runs along the back which is sided by a large gassy area and our sites were in the first two rows facing that direction.  Our coach is on the right in the last shot.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pasta And Cupcakes – Some Good Grub

The daughter of a good friend (also a good friend) recently received her PhD from Purdue and while home for a break, Bev invited her down to do one of her favorite things – make pasta.  They made it using the same recipe and method as a couple of years ago and once again, it turned out very well.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Wrap-Up

The primary reason I wanted to make this summer trip was to go into Rocky Mountain high country for some relief from the east Tennessee summer heat and humidity and as it turned out it was above 90 degrees nearly every day while we were gone.  We ended up spending from Aug 10 through Sep 19 in areas where the temps would occasionally creep above 80 and it was between 45-55 at night and as a bonus the humidity was also low.

On the way to the high country we got to visit with friends in Kansas City and Denver which is always a highlight of our trips.