Leftovers make the best meals

Posted in Recipes & Cooking at 10:15 am by admin

Yesterday morning I made a pot of chicken soup with what remained of the carcass from the roasted chicken from Sunday. There were a few chunks of breast and thigh meat, and I had one slice of grilled chicken breast left over from Daniel’s lunches from last week. I brought the carcass to a boil and then simmered it for an hour while I cut up the left over potatoes, carrots, onions, and apple chunks I had roasted with the chicken. After pouring off the stock I boned the carcass, cut up the meat and added all the ingredients along with more fresh parsley, basil, and rosemary and some dried garlic, sage, and savory along with salt and pepper and the last bit of McCormick’s Chicken Base I had. The stock was already brimming with the herbs I roasted the chicken with, but when I tasted it it seemed to need more. While the soup was simmering, I cooked up some Pennsylvania Dutch fine egg noodles along with a handful of medium egg noodles that I crushed into smaller pieces from a bag that was almost empty. At four minutes the noodles were al dente and after straining off the water I added them to the soup and turned off the heat. Yesterday I had the soup lunch with a roll from Sunday’s baking, and the same will make up my lunches for the next week.

We’re going to have left over Sweet & Spicy Crock pot Pork Roast from New Years for dinner tonight with leftover beans and spaetzle from Monday that I served with grilled bratwurst.

I’m off to work.



Amazon Links added to Home Page & Italian rolls

Posted in Poetry, Recipes & Cooking, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:06 pm by admin

This morning I began to add Amazon.com links to the home page of Touch: The Journal of Healing, but I didn’t like the way the page was laid out. It was very crowded, and Daniel told me it wasn’t balanced. I added the links for two reasons. The first reason is that most of my literature and poetry books purchased over the past two years have come from Amazon. I found it a lot easier to order them online than it to drive the ten miles to the nearest Barnes & Noble or Borders. I’ve gotten some great deals from Amazon, and I wanted my visitors to receive the same benefit. The second reason is, I learned late last summer when someone clicks on a link to Amazon and then purchases something, the owner of the site where the link was posted will earn a small percentage of the sale in the way of a “commission” so to speak. Since August of last year, the fee I’ve received for the link here has come to less than the cost of one month of my website hosting server charge. Now that I’m nearly retired, my income isn’t close to what it used to be, and every little bit helps. I thought if the fee covered the cost of hosting my websites, it would be one less expense I would have to find the money for.

Daniel told me there should be a option in the software to enlarge the dimensions of the website and sure enough it was there. I didn’t realize the software allowed for changes in the dimensions of a page, and I’d been trying to squeeze everything onto a page that was 700 px wide. The new home page is now 1,000 px wide. I may make it larger, but Daniel told me that 1,000 px is a width that most computer screens can display. After enlarging the page, I experimented with placement of the Amazon links and was able to replace the ones I had with vertical links that fit on the far right side.

Several years ago I asked several poets I know which reference books they had in their library. The scroll bar I added includes many of these titles as well as two poetry books written by poets I’ve corresponded with from Poets.org, The Red Light Was My Mind, by Gary Charles Wilkens and Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree by Steve Meador. I also added in a little Ella Fitzgerald and ABBA music to the scroll, an Amazon search tool, and another poetry/poets book widget.

I haven’t decided whether I want to have these links on the page to begin with. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with this idea after seeing what they look like because the links detract from the overall appearance of the page, and they could detract from the whole experience of reading poetry. Also, I don’t remember visiting any online poetry journal where these kinds of links are present. Now that the links are off to the side and at the bottom, they aren’t as distracting as my first attempts were, so I’ll have to think on this a bit.

Italina Sourdough Rolls copyright OPW Fredericks

After frying my brain with web design, I decided to do something therapeutic so this afternoon I began to mix a batch of bread dough with the sourdough sponge I set to proof last evening. Daniel had mentioned rolls earlier in the week and I haven’t baked rolls in years. Half way through the kneading, I decided to give the rolls a try, just to shake things up a little. In the photo above, the rolls on the right are Italian-Honey-Walnut Whole Wheat Sourdough and on the left are Italian-Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough.

Here’s the recipe:

Italian Honey Whole Wheat Rolls


1/2 c. sourdough starter
1/2 c. warm water
1 c. whole wheat flour

Mix above in glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap leaving a little space for gas to vent and place in warm spot over night.

Combine above with:

1 tsp. granular yeast – let sit 15 minutes.


1/2 cup EV olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 c. honey
1 tblsp. barley malt syrup


1 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. unbleached all purpose or bread flour

Combine in electric mixer bowl using dough hook or mix with hands in a large ceramic mixing bowl. Divide dough in half and reserve 1/2 wrapped in plastic wrap.

Add 1/3 c. chopped walnuts to first 1/2 of dough.

Continue to mix or knead first 1/2 of dough adding unbleached or bread flour as needed 1/4 cup at a time until dough is the right consistency then knead until dough is formed. Place in ceramic or glass bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm spot until double in bulk – about 1 hour.

Repeat with reserved 1/2 of dough omitting walnuts.

When dough has risen, remove from bowls deflate and allow it to rest about 10 minutes. Cut palm size pieces from dough and form into rolls. Place on a floured bakers couche or linen towel, cover with floured towels and allow to rise until double in bulk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit with baking stones or tiles covering rack at mid level.

Remove roll dough from couche with a metal turning spatula – like what you would turn hamburgers with – and place in a row of 4, spaced apart along the edge of a long wide thin bread peel – a piece of wood 1/4 inch thick x 14 inches long by 5 inches wide. Transfer to baking tiles starting on the right side of the oven by tilting board and allowing them to slide off. Repeat until the oven is full. Spray interior of oven with water from a spray bottle beneath the rack and repeat this every 3 minutes for the first 9 minutes taking no more than 10 seconds each time.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven to cooling rack.

Repeat until all the rolls are baked.

Store in plastic or paper bags until they’re all gone. This bread remains fresh tasting for one week when stored in plastic or zip lock bags.



I’ll let you know tomorrow how they tasted.



New Project: Online Poetry Journal

Posted in Poetry, Recipes & Cooking at 11:15 pm by admin

I have no excuse for allowing over two months to pass without a single blog entry. Actually, there are many excuses I could use, but none would excuse me from taking a mere ten minutes each day to reflect on something.

I’ve been busy with life. The Poets org Poetry Forum, my private poetry forum and my part-time job in the ER have taken up a good amount of time. I’ve also been cooking large Sunday dinners that consist of pot roasts, roasted chickens, pork roasts, all with with roasted vegetables and pints and pints of gravy; large pots of pasta served with home made sauce; and marinated london broils have kept us pretty well fed through each week. I’ve also been baking different sourdough based breads on Saturdays and/or Thursdays. I use my starter Herman to seed the sponge the morning before I bake which allows it to develop its flavor, and then I begin the process of choosing and assembling the ingredients and mixing the dough around noon the following day. I usually have it in the oven by 4:00 PM which gives it time to bake and cool for our dinner time of 7:00 PM.

I’ve baked batards, braided loaves, loaves in pans, and I’ve risen loaves in round baskets and bowls lined with floured linen towels. When Daniel arrives home from work, the whole house smells like fresh baked bread. I’ve been using a larger percentage of whole wheat flour than I have in the past, and I add any combination of ground nuts, dried fruits, honey, molasses, barley malt syrup, butter or olive oil, herbs and spices, rolled or steel cut oats, corn meal, and different salts and sugars. They’ve all turned out good, but some have been spectacular. The best loaves I’ve made are the Italian herbed, nutted whole wheat, and one loaf of rolled out cinnamon raisin bread which gave it a swirl pattern when sliced with brown sugar baked in. Only one batch didn’t rise well, and I think that was because I forgot I had added the salt and added salt again, but it tasted great. Those loaves I either sliced and toasted with a brushing of olive oil, chopped garlic, Italian herbs and parmesan cheese, sort of like pesto, or I toasted the slices and then we dipped them in small bowls of the oil, herb, garlic, cheese mixture.

All this cooking and baking has allowed me a creative outlet while being cooped up in the house over the winter, and my private poetry forum just finished a 10:10 day poem challenge where collectively we wrote 87 poems between the ten of us who participated which also provided me with a creative outlet. But what’s really got me excited is Daniel and I are in the process of starting an online Poetry Journal.

After experimenting with the software and making many mistakes (my own mistakes that is), but learning along the way, we’ve got it to the point where we’re just about ready to put it online and send out our calls for submissions. The journal reflects a unique combination of our philosophies and we’ve put our Touch on every aspect of its construction. No templates were used so every component you will see we’ve created down to the photographs we’ve taken that are used as background and enhancements.

I’ll post more on the journal once it’s up and running.

That’s it for today.



Bread Therapy inspired by Julia Child & Danielle Forestier

Posted in Recipes & Cooking, Thoughts and Reflections at 10:40 pm by admin

I checked back here this morning in search of my Sweet & Spicy Crock pot Pork Roast recipe, a recipe I created on the fly and couldn’t locate in my cookbook or on my computer. Luckily I posted it here back in September. My brother is down from New York visiting for the holidays and I wanted to make a traditional German New Years Day pork dinner, but with a twist. I’m not a big fan of sauerkraut so the pork roast with sauerkraut and caraway is out.

In the past I’ve baked a ham and served it with coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread, which as far as I’m concerned covers me for the pig and cabbage combination traditional dinner. I checked with Mom about New Years Day dinner and she hadn’t made any plans so I offered to cook and bring the meal to her house.

You might be wondering what the heck New Years Day, pigs, and cabbage have to do with bread therapy, Julia, and Danielle. When I clicked on the link to my blog, I was surprised to find that I haven’t posted anything here in seven weeks. I thought it’s about time I posted something, so here goes.

For the past twenty-eight years, I’ve baked sourdough bread, usually beginning in the fall until the end of the following spring, and sometimes even in the heat of July and August if I really had a “hankerin’ fer it”. I have my own sourdough starter culture, fondly named Herman. I figured Herman is a living being, or more accurately living beings, who has/have brought much joy to my life by way of my taste buds and stomach, and so my sourdough culture deserved a name. I chose Herman after a favorite patient of mine from when I began my nursing career. Herman, the man, was very particular about things and had to have things just right and in a certain order, and he had to be in control of any situation he was in in order for him to exist in this world. He was plump with a bubbly personality, and he had a complexion that reminded me of bread dough. All of his characteristics aptly describe sourdough starter and so Herman, the starter, was born. Herman, the man, was quite amused when I told him of his namesake. Both Hermans died within a month of each other nearly twenty years ago, Herman, the man, followed by Herman, the culture. Herman the man, died from a heart attack, Herman the culture, from an invasion by red mold, something fatal to sourdough starter. I had to start all over to create a new sourdough starter culture, and it took several years before the second generation Herman was up to snuff by way of taste. The spring after both Hermans died, Herman, the man’s wife, became a patient of mine. I told her my little story and also that I named a favorite goldfish I bought that spring after her husband, who swam in my pond and greeted me each morning, the goldfish not the man. She was touched by the gesture. Ok, back to bread therapy.

When Julia Child’s PBS series “Baking with Julia” aired eleven years ago, I was a faithful viewer, and if I didn’t watch the programs when they aired, I taped them to view later in the week. I don’t think I missed a single episode, and I know I actually watched the programs that involved baking anything with yeast when they aired. To this day I vividly remember the episode on french bread. The guest baker, Danielle Forestier, demonstrated the preparation and baking of a traditional french batard, a bread that contains the same amount of dough as a baguette, 12 oz., but isn’t rolled out quite as long. It looks similar though smaller to a loaf of Italian bread you can pick up in any supermarket, but the appearance is where the similarities end. If you’re interested you can view the program via a streaming video by way of your search engine.

During the year “Baking with Julia” aired, and for several years after, I experimented with different ingredients and methods, often combining the ingredients and methods from different episodes or introducing something I picked up somewhere else and from my Mom. Mom is a wonderful baker, who never measures anything, it’s all done by feel. One combination that I found to be a success is Pesto bread. It is very simple to make and requires only a few ingredients. Bread can often be unforgiving if something isn’t done quite right during the preparation, handling, and baking process. This bread I have found is quite forgiving.

During the past two weeks I’ve been baking bread. For me, baking bread is as therapeutic to the soul as it is to the taste buds when eating it. When my brother called several weeks ago, he asked me to bake some bread for Christmas because he doesn’t fancy store bought bread. That evening, I took Herman out of the ‘frig and fed him. Feeding sourdough consists of stirring warm water and flour into the starter and allowing it to become active in a warm place if it’s been stored in the ‘frig. I place the container on the top of the ‘frig over night. By the next morning it’s bubbling and twice the size it was the night before. Here’s my recipe for Sourdough Pesto Bread using a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It will make two batards.

Sourdough Pesto Bread


1/2 cup active starter
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tblsp. honey
2 1/2 – 3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 heaping tblsp. pesto base
1 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil


1. Combine in a nonmetal bowl the starter, 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, and honey. Cover with plastic wrap leaving an edge open and place in a warm place over night to develop the dough sponge.

2. Add remaining water, olive oil, pesto base, and flour (reserving 1/2 cup) to the mixer bowl.

3. Stir the sponge and add it to the mixer bowl. It will be sticky so scrape as much as you can into the mixer bowl.

4. Start the mixer on the slowest speed to combine the ingredients until you can’t tell the difference between the sponge and the added ingredients. Add the remaining flour slowly as needed during the next minute or so until the dough begins to take form. The dough should be firm but not dry. If needed you can add 1 tblsp of water at a time to the dough. Mix the dough for about 8 minutes on the slowest speed.

5. Remove the dough from the mixer, form into a ball, and place in an oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place. Allow to double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

5. Punch the dough down and remove it from the bowl to a floured board. Cut it in half and form each half into a ball. Cover with a floured towel and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.

6. Form each ball into a batard. Watch the video noted above if you don’t know how to do this. Place the batards on a floured Baker’s Couche, cover with a floured towel and allow it to rise in a warm place for about an hour. It should be just about double in size. Placed Baker’s Tiles and a pan for water in the oven. As the dough nears completion add water to the pan and preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.

7. Turn the dough onto a Baker’s Peel and slash the top with a razor blade or sharp knife. Quickly slide the dough into the oven on the hot tiles and bake for 25 – 30 minutes. The internal temperature of the loaves should be 200 degrees fahrenheit when done.

8. Remove the loaves from the oven when done and allow to cool on a rack.

Serve with extra virgin olive oil to which you’ve added your favorite Italian herbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese, and enjoy, Daniel did!



Pork & Creamed Mushroom Gravy

Posted in Recipes & Cooking at 9:05 pm by admin

Today I ran out of ideas for dinner, so I went through my recipes to look for a meal that uses Campbell’s soup. I found a recipe in my cooking folder that I received from my Campbell’s email subscription. It’s very easy and it tastes wonderful. I’ve fiddled with it a little, as I always do, to give it a little bit of a kick.


1/2 lb. frozen green beans
2 carrots peeled and cut into oblong wheels 1/8 inch thick
6 pork cutlets – trimmed
Pam cooking spray
2 cans Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can water
1/4 tsp. dried ground sage leaves
1/4 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
3-4 good dashes Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup dry basmati rice cooked as directed on package


1. Spray frying pan with Pam. Heat pan under medium flame and cook carrots 3 minutes. Turn and add green beans. Cover and cook an additional 5 minutes or until tender crisp. Remove to microwave safe bowl.

2. Brown pork cutlets in pan drippings from vegetables 4 minutes each side until juices run clear. Remove. While cutlets are cooking mix remaining ingredients except rice in a bowl.

3. Pour soup mix into frying pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover an cook for 5 minutes.

4. Return pork cutlets to pan with soup mix and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Warm vegetables in microwave.

5. Serve pork cutlets aside vegetables rice. Use cream mushroom gravy to adorn rice and cutlets.


Beans, beans, are good for your heart …

Posted in Recipes & Cooking, Thoughts and Reflections at 10:31 pm by admin

I called the Vet’s office today and talked to the woman I had spoken with when we found Chester. I explained the situation of Chester and Gizzie, the progress he has made in his behavior, and how his is settling in. She listened to everything I said then told me she’d like to consult with an animal behaviorist she works with to help the animals she rescues adapt to their new homes. She told me once she had some information, she’d call me back. Before we hung up, she said there was a second person she was going to call as well. I remain hopeful that we can make his adoption work.

Just after noon, I assembled the ingredients for my bean soup. I began to soak the beans this past Saturday, just as Hanna began to dump her version of rain on us. I’ll include the recipe below. In the past, I’ve soaked dried beans for a few hours in a large sauce pan and then brought them to a boil, then reduced the heat and allowed them to simmer for about 3 hours before I assemble the ingredients. The trouble with dried beans is that they remain crunchy after cooking in the crock pot for up to 12 hours. It isn’t until the second or third day that they’ve softened. I’ve used canned beans, but they literally fall apart in the soup and there’s a lot of waste when I rinse the beans until the water runs clear before I use them. I rinse them because I can’t stand the smell when I open the cans and it also helps to minimize the associated aftereffects.

Bean soup is a favorite of mine, right up there with split pea and lentil. This time I used four different dried beans, kidney, pinto, navy, and black. I usually use whatever is on hand, but I selected these varieties when I went shopping because of the unique taste and characteristics of each. I want to see how they’ll taste combined. During the first 24 hours I rinsed the beans and changed the water three times. After that, I’ve done this twice a day. I believe this will help with the aforementioned aftereffects and it will help them to soften. On a side note, if I didn’t know better I’d swear Chester has eaten beans every day since we brought him home.

3 day Bean Soup


1/2 cup each – dried kidney, pinto, navy, and black beans – soaked 2 days
1 – large onion cut into small wedges
2 – carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 – stalks celery cut into 1/2 inch pieces – include the leaves, they have the best flavor
1 – large can diced or peeled tomatoes with juice or 2 1/2 lb. tomatoes diced
2 – bay leaves
2 tsp. – fresh ground sage
1 tsp. – fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. – fresh ground lemon pepper
1 tblsp. – fresh ground sea salt
1 tblsp. – McCormick’s Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp – dried chopped rosemary
1 tsp. – ground garlic
2 tsp. – dried chopped garlic
3 hefty dashes of Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce
1/2 tsp – Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp – dried basil
2 cups – cooked diced pork or ham
3-4 cups – water – added as needed to keep the beans submerged.


1 – 5 or 6 qt. crock pot

Start in the afternoon.

Assemble all ingredients except the meat in the crock pot and turn on high until the soup boils, about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to low for 3 hours. Alternate settings between high and low 3 hours each, except over night leave crock pot on low. DON’T LIFT THE LID TO CHECK! – YOU’LL LOSE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF HEAT AND WATER VAPOR.

Only lift the lid to add water as needed to keep the beans submerged.

The next morning, (obviously lift the lid) stir the ingredients and turn crock pot on high the remainder of the day until serving.

6 hours before serving, add the meat and stir again.

Serving Suggestions:

Prepare your favorite garden salad and select your favorite dressing.

Get yourself a nice loaf of crusty bread. Slice bread into 1 inch thick pieces. Drizzle with olive oil or spread with butter. Sprinkle with garlic powder and place in toaster oven until the garlic bubbles and the bread begins to brown.

Serve the soup steaming hot with your salad and garlic bread.




Hanna, you disappointed me, but the pork roast was great!

Posted in Recipes & Cooking, Thoughts and Reflections at 10:05 pm by admin

I prepared for Hanna and her wrath today by draining the pond of about 800 gallons of water, cleaning out the rain gutters and down spouts of leaves, sticks, and walnuts deposited there by squirrels, and by checking the foundation of the house several times during the storm. It was all for naught. When the rain had stopped, I had to top off the pond with the garden hose, there was no deluge to overtax the gutters and down spouts, and the foundation held. The estimate for our area was 3 – 4 inches over the course of 8 – 9 hours. We did get a smidgen of water in the basement, really just a damp spot just inside the bilco doors, (like those that would lead into a storm cellar). We could have done with twice the rain we received. We haven’t had any measurable rain in nearly a month.

Just before the rain arrived, I put together the pork roast in the crock pot. What a treat. It was moist, tender, and just on the sweet side, with just a touch of fire. I modified the recipe I mentioned yesterday, as I always do, and boy-oh-boy am I glad I did. The ingredients make a wonderful spicy-sweet compote that is attractive and goes well served over or beside the meat. With the pork roast I made potato pancakes from a Panni box mix, and french cut green beans. For dessert we had a pint of sliced strawberries that I added 2 teaspoons of sugar to and allowed them to marinate for several hours over Hostess cake cups with fresh whipped cream, Hershey’s syrup, and Daniel put coconut on his serving.

Sweet & Spicy Crock pot Pork Roast

1 – 3 lb. pork roast
1 – can crushed pineapple
1 – c. chopped dried cranberries
1 – tsp. ground sea salt
1/2 – tsp. fresh ground tricolor peppercorns
4 – good dashes Texas Pete Hot Sauce (used 2 if you want a mild tang)
1/4 – tsp. crushed rosemary
1 – tsp. McCormick’s Italian Seasoning
2 – tblsp. soy sauce
1 – tsp. garlic powder
1 – tsp. dried chopped garlic
2 – tsp. dried onion flakes
2 – tblsp. dried parsley flakes
1/2 – tsp. freshly ground sage
1 – tblsp. Mrs. Dash

Place all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 7 hours. Remove roast from pot and allow to stand 15 minutes before cutting. Serve compote over meat slices.

Give this recipe a try. I think you’ll enjoy it.



Propane restocked.

Posted in Recipes & Cooking, Thoughts and Reflections at 11:34 pm by admin

On my way home from work today I stopped and paid to have one of our two propane tanks refilled. Next week I’ll take the other tank to be filled. The two tanks should last us through the winter. From the propane station I drove to the O & A Farms produce stand and picked up a head of Romaine lettuce, a Vidalia onion and some fresh broccoli for Daniel. It’s his favorite vegetable after lima beans and/or succotash. I stopped in at the post office to pick up the mail and then came home. Before I put the car in the garage, I attached the full tank on the grill and lit it to burn off the pieces of hamburger from yesterday. After putting away the produce, sorting the mail, making myself a cup of leftover coffee from this morning, and feeding the cat, I went out the the grill, turned off the gas and “did the dishes.” That wire brush is just the best for cleanup.

On my way back into the house, I turned on the sprinkler attached to the garden hose from the pond pump and watered a dry section of the front yard around the pond. When I returned to the house, I made a batch of cucumber salad, Mom’s recipe, and put on a fresh pot of coffee. Just as I finished, Daniel called to let me know he was on his way home from work. I sat down in front of my computer and checked in on the three poetry forums and read a large percentage of my email. By this time enough water had been drained from the pond to start a water change. We ate dinner while watching some TV. After dinner I fed the fish in the pond. We had quite a smorgasbord of leftovers along with the cucumber salad. As a matter of fact, I put so many things out for the “buffet”, that our plates were full before we were able to sample everything. That’s one great thing about having leftovers, you don’t have to cook tomorrow.

Mom’s Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber sliced paper thin – use a mandolin (no not the musical instrument)
1/4 onion sliced just as thin


3 tblsp. sour cream
2-3 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dill – optional

Mix sugar into sour cream, add lemon juice – mix, then add the remainder of the dressing ingredients. Mix well. Add cucumber and onion and mix. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

This dressing is also a good start for the dressing for cole slaw, but I wouldn’t add the dill.



Hamburgers on the grill.

Posted in Recipes & Cooking, Thoughts and Reflections at 10:01 pm by admin

This morning I posted a notice on my poetry forum and sent an email out to all the members about the new poetry forum model. Other than myself and Daniel, seven members visited the site and a few made a post or sent a PM. I’m going to give it a few days the then we’ll most likely begin the conversion some time over the coming Memorial Day weekend.

I’ve been craving hamburgers for the past two weeks and this morning I decided it was time. I made my “world famous” macaroni salad (I like it anyway) and hamburgers made from 2/3 93% lean ground beef and 1/3 99% lean ground Perdue chicken. I also sliced 1/4 of a Vidalia onion and washed several Romaine lettuce leaves. I usually add fresh diced onion to the mixture, but I’ve found that the burgers tend to fall apart on the grill when I cook them, even if I chill them in the frig ahead of time. Today I tried my recipe without the fresh onion.


2/3 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 lb. ground chicken
2 tblsp. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 tblsp. Italian seasoning
1 tblsp. dried minced onion
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. Bay seasoning
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. Texas Pete Hot Sauce
1 tsp. dried garlic powder
1 egg scrambled
1/2 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Mix ingredients well and divide into 6 portions. Shape into burgers and place on wax paper on a flat baking sheet and freeze (YES FREEZE).

For dinner I cut 1/2 of a yellow zucchini into 8 wedges and grilled them on the top rack of the grill while I cooked the burgers on the lower grill. Don’t you know it, when it was time to turn the burgers, I ran out of friggin’ Propane. After a string of expletives, I removed the burgers and squash from the grill, heated up my largest frying pan and finished the squash in the pan sprayed with a little Pam. Once the squash was slightly blackened on the cut sides, I removed the wedges and cooked the burgers. While I was frying, I made up a small batch of McCormick’s Ranch Dressing to use for dipping for the squash. When everything was ready, I took out all the appropriate condiments and we had a picnic dinner while we watched some TV.

I much prefer to cook on the grill because there is literally no cleanup. When the cooking is done, I turn the grill on high and set out the food like a buffet. After 5 minutes, I go out to the grill, turn it off and scrape the cinders off the grates, dishes done. Tonight I had a greasy frying pan to wash, but it wasn’t so bad. The food was definitely worth the added effort.



Southwest Ranch Chicken Salad with Grilled Zucchini, Cornbread & Tomato Salad side.

Posted in Recipes & Cooking, Thoughts and Reflections at 8:40 pm by admin

Well this is a first, I’m posting twice in one day, but this recipe came out so well I wanted to share it. This afternoon I experimented with a few ingredients. Daniel asked for a “salad meal” and it’s been a while since I made one, so here goes. We’ll have three nights worth of dinners from it.


6 – boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, fat trimmed
1 – head romaine lettuce, washed & cut into 1 inch slices widthwise
1 – large yellow zucchini, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

Tomato Mozzarella Salad:

4 c. – tomatoes, diced
1 – red bell pepper, diced
1/2 – red onion, chopped
1 – cucumber, diced
1/2 c. diced mozzarella cheese
1 tblsp. Italian seasoning
2 tblsp. – fresh chopped basil
1/4 c. tblsp. – balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. tblsp. – olive oil

Mix ingredients and allow to chill for two hours.


1 c – ranch dressing
1 tblsp. – Italian seasoning
1 tsp. – fresh minced rosemary
1 tsp. – dried parsley
1/2 – 1 tsp. – cayenne pepper, depending on your “hot” preference
1/4 tsp. – tabasco sauce, may be omitted if you prefer the mild side
2 tblsp. – cider vinegar
1 tblsp. – lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add chicken and allow to marinate one hour.


Spray your largest deep sided frying pan or a wide base stock pot with Pam Cooking Spray. Heat under medium flame. Add zucchini wedges and brown on cut sides then remove from pan. Cut wedges in half lengthwise. Remove pan from heat and reapply a coating of Pam. Reheat pan and add chicken pieces from marinade with whatever marinade sticks to them. Cook chicken apx. 4 min. each side, but be certain the juices run clear. Add remaining marinade and bring rapidly to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove chicken pieces and cut each into 1 inch strips.

Arrange a serving of romaine lettuce on dinner plates. Place chicken strips from 1 piece on bed of lettuce. Place 4 zucchini half length wedges along side the chicken. Spoon 1/2 c. tomato salad on the other side of the chicken and some of the liquid over the chicken strips. Spoon cooked marinade over chicken. Serve with a wedge of cornbread. The cornbread recipe comes from the Indian Head Stone Ground Yellow Corn Meal bag.

This recipe, which was created on the spot with the ingredients I had on hand, came out exceptionally well. Please try it an let me know what you think.

Oh, and BTW, our internet is working above the “well within normal parameters” of yesterday.