Friday, October 29, 2021

John Wayne Casserole

This dish had been on my radar since Pam posted it back in February on her now closed Pam’s Midwest Kitchen Korner blog.  With a dish named after a big favorite of mine and with fall weather here, it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try.  Pam’s post also included some interesting info about “The Duke” as well as pics of the dish.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

A Trip Down To Blue Ridge, GA

In my role as Wagonmaster (Activity Coordinator), my job is to make the social events happen for our local chapter of the FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association).  Our main events are rallies where we gather at a campground for several days for exploration and socializing.  While we sometimes go to a campground without seeing it first-hand we usually like to have seen it first either by me or the person hosting the rally (Rally Master).

In beginning to put our plans together for 2022, I thought I might like to be the Rally Master for a trip to Blue Ridge, Ga.  It is a nice small town in the North GA mountains with plenty of things to do and places to eat – our two main activities - and since it’s only a two-hour drive, we decided to make a day trip to look at two potential campgrounds, meet some other club members for lunch, look around town, and visit the local apple orchard.  Here is an aerial view of town from the web.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Pork Chops With Peppercorn Sauce Ala Pam

I like pork chops and I like peppercorn sauce so when I saw this recipe from Pam on her For The Love Of Cooking blog, I knew it had to be made.  I considered grilling the chops but then Bev said her favorite chops have always been “like Mama made” – floured and pan fried - so I stuck with Pam’s version.  Her recipe is for two chops but I had ten, so I amended the amounts to get the ingredients below plus I didn’t use the oven to cook them.  You can click on the above link for the original recipe and Pam’s great presentation pics.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A Couple Of Good Meals – Rellenos & Chicken Parm

I didn’t want to do a separate post for these two dishes, but I still wanted them documented so I combined into a short post about each.

Chille Rellenos

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Cajun Parmesan Salmon

I’ve had this recipe on my radar since seeing it on Theffeed and when Bev brought home a fillet of wild caught Sockeye salmon, I decided to give it a go.  I followed the recipe as written with just a small change. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Chicken Piccata & Concert On The Lawn

Bev suggested Chicken Piccata for supper and I recalled Trisha’s recipe for it on her Saving Room For Dessert Blog.  We had used the recipe for pork in the past but not for chicken and I modified it some to get the recipe below.  You can get the original recipe by clicking on the above link along with some of her great pics like this one of her delicious looking dish.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Bean With Bacon Soup

Based upon reading about the healthy Mediterranean diet in the past, we continue to try to eat plenty of beans so when I saw the recipe forSlow Simmered Bean with Bacon Soup on Pam’s For The Love Of Cooking blog, I knew it needed to be tried.  I followed the recipe as written and shown below, but you can visit her blog for some of her always good pics.

Friday, October 8, 2021

My Smokers Over Time

I’ve mentioned my new Masterbuilt Electric Smoker a couple of times lately and it got me thinking about those I have owned over the years so I decided to post about them.  I decided to get into barbequing after I retired because I could not buy a really good version locally and after eating some excellent BBQ around the country, I knew what I was looking for but I knew nothing about barbequing or what equipment to get.

My first smoker was a cheap offset unit bought from a big box store fired by either wood or charcoal and it looked similar to this one.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Smoked Turkey Breast

For the second use of my new Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, I opted to cook a turkey breast and use the recipe from The Cookie Rookie for the brine and herb butter. I changed the ingredients for the butter a little and cooked it a little differently as well.  The original recipe with several pics can be found by clicking on the above link.

Smoked Turkey BreastAdapted from the Cookie Rookie


For the Brine:

3 quarts cold water or enough to cover the breast

½ cup kosher salt

¼ cup brown sugar

For the Turkey and Herb Butter:

5-7 pounds natural, unbrined whole turkey breast (not Butterball- style (boneless or bone-in)

9 tablespoons unsalted butter softened

2 cloves garlic minced

1/3 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


For the Brining the Turkey:

1. Add two cups of water to a sauce pan over medium high heat and stir in the salt and sugar until it is completely dissolved - let cool to room temperature.

2. Put the turkey in a very large container, add the brine and a few cups of ice, then enough water to submerge all of the breast meat and refrigerate 8-12 hours (I brined for 6 hours).

3. Remove the turkey from the fridge 45 minutes before cooking, rinse, and pat it dry (inside & out with paper towels).

For the Herb Butter:

4. In a small mixing bowl, combine butter, garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, mustard, salt, and pepper.

5. Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the breast from the meat underneath.

6. Spread 3 tablespoons herb butter under the skin of each breast and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over the outside of the breasts. Use 2-3 toothpicks per breast to secure the skin to the breast (along the edge of the breast). Securing the skin with toothpicks prevents the skin from shrinking during cooking.

I forgot to get this pic

7. Preheat the smoker to 275F (or lower if you want a longer cooking time) and soak the wood chips (apple) in water for 30 minutes while waiting for the smoker to heat.

8. Put a wire grate on the top of an aluminum foil pan and add a cup of water or apple juice. 

I forgot this shot too.

9. When the smoker is at temp, put the turkey in the middle shelf and insert a remote probe thermometer in the thickest part of the breast.

10. Cook according to smoker directions.

11. When the desired internal temp is reached (2½ hours for this cook), remove the breast from the smoker, wrap tightly in heavy duty foil and rest in a prewarmed cooler covered by a towel or a 160F toaster oven until ready to serve.

12. Remove a breast from the carcass (Bev is stealing a bite) and slice against the grain.

We served it with gravy, baked sweet potatoes , and Malibu green beans.

The Verdict:

The turkey was very good with an excellent flavor and it was moist and tender but the skin was a little salty so I’ll rinse it next time, which I added to the directions.  We wrapped the sweet potatoes in foil and tossed them in the smoker to cook but we all agreed, we prefer them baked bare.  The green beans cooked with a ham hock were very good so it was a pretty darn good meal.  The beans and potatoes were from the Tellico Plains Mennonite Market which we have decided is closer than our normal one in Englewood.  The remaining turkey will become turkey salad which is a favorite of mine.

I believe it will be salmon or a brisket next for the smoker – I continue to be pleased with it's performance.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

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


10/03/21 event date