Campfire Potatoes Recipe

Along with the Cajun Flank Steak we had for dinner tonight, we made Campfire Potatoes. We found the recipe on the side of the bag of Yukon Gold potatoes. I wasn’t very keen on the onions, but it looked OK otherwise.

Ingredients:

  • 24oz Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat grill to high heat (around 600).
  2. Slice potatoes thin.
  3. Slice onion.
  4. Spread potatoes and onion slices in the pan.
  5. Cut the butter into pieces and spread them out in the pan.
  6. Mix cheddar cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and sprinkle over the potatoes.
  7. Add chicken broth and cover with foil.
  8. Cook on the grill for about 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Campfire Potatoes - Recipe

I had never worked with Yukon Gold potatoes before. I was surprised at how small they are compared to normal baking potatoes.

Campfire Potatoes - Slicing

We sliced the potatoes with a mandolin set at 1/4 inch. That gave us a lot of slices from that one bag of potatoes.

Campfire Potatoes - Prep

Originally we were going to put the potatoes on foil but we found that they were easier to work with in a foil pan we had leftover from our FootBall Food Frenzy.

Campfire Potatoes - Ready to ServeThe potatoes cooked for about 35 minutes and then we let them stand about 5 minutes. They were very tender. It was a little hard to tell that there was any cheddar cheese on them when they cooked.

Cajun Flank Steak with Campfire PotatoesSo I decided it would be a good idea to add a little cheddar on top after everything was plated. The potatoes were very tender, but I didn’t really care for the onion taste they had. I avoided the onion slices themselves. I can’t say I liked them, but I didn’t entirely dislike them either although I didn’t finish them all. I think I might be able to work with these to come up with something I would like better. Linda suggested using a Spanish onion. I might try that as well as adding more cheddar cheese.

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

I’m not a fan of red sauce. Pizza sauce is the only exception. It’s not the same as spaghetti sauce no matter who tries to tell you otherwise. They are seasoned differently. Recently, my wife made spaghetti with turkey meatballs and made her own sauce taking my fussy palate into consideration.

I’m not calling this a recipe, because quite honestly, I don’t know exactly how my wife made it. I do know that she started with tomato sauce and tomato paste. I know she added sugar and a little cinnamon. Beyond that, I’m clueless. I do know that the meatballs were made from 99% lean ground turkey. She didn’t use an onions in them either. Turkey meatballs don’t brown up quite like regular meatballs, but since they’re going in the sauce that doesn’t really matter much anyway.

As you can see from the picture, I didn’t take much spaghetti. The sauce wasn’t as bad as most I’ve tried, I didn’t even scrape it off the meatballs like I usually would. It was passable, but I didn’t enjoy it. The meatballs, however, were quite good and I had several of them. I think next time I might suggest she add more cinnamon to the sauce. It is one of my favorite ingredients, after all.

Burger with Irish Whiskey Onions

Since the onions on the Irish Steak surprised me, I figured I would give them another try, but this time on a burger. My wife, Linda, normally has caramelized onions on her burger and when I said that I wanted to do them up like on the steak, she was more than willing.

I started up the burgers on the grill like I normally would. Meanwhile back inside, I sliced and diced some onions and started them in our cast iron pan. I added a little olive oil and butter, seasoned them with black pepper and salt, and cooked them on medium-high heat for around 10 minutes. Then I turned off the gas and added a little Jameson Irish Whiskey. Turning off the gas is a good idea to prevent anything from flaming up if some of the whiskey splatters or spills.

Unlike the steak, the burgers never cooked in the onion whiskey sauce. I brought them in from the grill when they were cooked to our liking. Linda put a bunch of onions on her burger. I was much more cautious. I only added a little bit. I didn’t want it to ruin my meal if I didn’t care for them. One thing I noticed was that the onion sauce didn’t have quite the same dark color it did with the steak. It was a little dark, but not as much. I think that might be because some of the juices from the steak helped darken it and add flavor to it.

I so had my burger with a little bit of onion sauce, cheese, and ketchup. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. Linda said I should have added more onions to really get the flavor. I might try that next time. Then again, it might be better to cook the burger in the cast iron pan with the onions. I’m not sure either one will make a difference. Burgers might just need to stay the way they are. Some things just shouldn’t be messed with.

Joe’s Crab Shack

Today we were lucky enough to know someone with a reservation to the preview of Joe’s Crab Shack which opens on Monday. They do this so they can make sure everyone is ready for the Grand Opening and take limited reservations usually for friends and family of workers. Our reservation was for noon. As it turns out the woman Linda had been invited to go with was unable to go due to other family commitments so it was just the two of us.

When we went in they greeted us at the door and asked if we had ever been to a Joe’s Crab Shack before. We hadn’t, so they gave us a little bit of a run-down on how things work. They have a roll of paper towels at the table along with a small metal bucket for trash. It’s actually a pretty good idea considering how much of a mess you can make with crabs. They also have sinks at either side of the restaurant so you can wash up.

Our waitress, Paige, was very friendly and a bit bubbly without coming off air-headed. She explained to us how the preview works. They offer a limited menu including one appetizer for the table and a single entree for each person. They did offer drinks but since my wife and I had driven separately (she came from work), we passed – although the Shark Bite looked really good. We both have a very strict policy of not driving if we have had anything to drink.

We ordered the mozzarella sticks even though Linda would have loved to have tried the crab dip.  They came out in a few minutes. While we waited, the wait staff all suddenly broke out in dance. It seems that they do that from time to time as we saw them do so twice while we were there.  The manager had them do the second dance because the 2 year old at the table next to us loved the dancing. Most of the staff seemed to know what they were doing, but I did spot a few guys that looked like they were just kind of faking it and following along with what the girls were doing. Despite that, all of them looked like they really enjoyed working there.

The mozzarella sticks were really good. I wish we had more of them. They were nice and crispy without having the cheese all oozing out of them like some places. Shortly after we finished them our meals arrived. Linda ordered the crab steampot and I went with the seaside platter.

The crab steampot had potatoes and corn in addition to the snow crab. I didn’t have any of her potatoes or corn, although they both looked good and Linda finished them both. I did, however, try a small piece of the crab. I was a little surprised that it doesn’t really taste as bad as the steam coming off the pot when we make them at home. I can’t say I loved them, but I didn’t dislike them either. I will definitely give crabs another try – perhaps king crab next time. I’m not sure if they taste the same or not.

The seaside platter came with fish and chips, which is only partially why I ordered it. I could have gone with the sirloin steak. I wanted to try the scallops and shrimp that came with the platter as well. They were all fried. I didn’t catch which type of fish they used, but it was mild and tasted pretty good. I’m generally fine with a mild fish, especially if it is fried. I have more recently tried tilapia and salmon as well. The scallops were kind of an odd texture which was a little difficult to deal with, but they didn’t taste bad at all. I’m not sure if they were sea scallops or bay scallops. I know one of them is smaller, but I can’t remember which. They were the smaller variety. I think I may try them cooked differently to see if the texture is different to make they easier for me to swallow. The shrimp wasn’t quite what I expected either. I was not as fishy as I guess I kind of expected. They were a little better than the scallops as far as texture, but they still weren’t quite what I like.

Overall, I’d call it a limited success. I would certainly try the scallops, shrimp and crab again. For me, that is HUGE! I’m not quite sure what my aversion to them has been all these years. If anyone has a good recipe, I’d be willing to give it a try.

Oh, here’s perhaps the best thing about these previews – the food is free. That’s partly why I was willing to try something new. However, for those who missed out on the preview, the prices seemed somewhat reasonable. My seafood platter was around $16 and Linda’s crab pot was $22. I’m not really into seafood, but those prices seem typical for a dinner out.

If you haven’t yet been to a Joe’s Crab Shack, I would suggest going. It gets this fussy eater’s approval.

Grilled Zucchini, Squash, and Peppers

Over the holiday weekend, we did a little bit of grilling which is not at all unusual for us (We grill year round and I shovel a path to the grill during the winter). Linda had picked up some zucchini and squash earlier in the week and we grabbed a few peppers at a farm on the way back from a bacon festival we went to in Hudson. They ran out of the specialty bacon stuff by noon. We got there around 1:00 so we didn’t get anything bacon flavored, but at least they didn’t charge admission.

Linda invited her friend Hannah over for dinner and I grilled up some burgers and the veggies. This time we did things a little differently. We basted them with olive oil and then sprinkled them with McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning. I cooked them on one side of the grill in the vegetable tray while the burgers cooked on the other.

I’m not really sure how long vegetables cook on the grill. I’ve done peppers before, but this was my first attempt at zucchini and squash on the grill so I just left them on the whole time the peppers were cooking. I think I overcooked them, but the peppers were done.

We each had a little bit of pepper, zucchini, and squash. My wife also had some tiny sweet tomatoes she wanted me to try. I can’t remember what type they were. I didn’t like it at all. The peppers were OK, but I don’t care for the Montreal Steak seasoning we used. The zucchini and squash were just way too mushy and that turned me off. I’m pretty sure I overcooked them. They were much better on my Aunt’s kabobs the other day. I’ll have to try again with a different seasoning and take them off the grill sooner.

Kabobs with my Aunt and Uncles

Over the holiday weekend, I went out to visit my Aunt Dee and Uncle Brian in Connecticut. My Uncle Peter (Dee’s brother) was playing at a BBQ festival nearby and I wanted to hear him play. I don’t get out to Connecticut often and I have never seen him play before other than at weddings. The band sounded great, but there was absolutely no shade anywhere near the stage area. Although we would have loved for them to stay on longer, we were kind of glad when they finished so we could go move to a cooler place to sit. We stayed there for a bit longer chatting and oddly never actually had any BBQ. Then we left to head back to my Aunt’s house.

Uncle Peter beat us there because the band members all had way more convenient parking than we ended up with. We all just kind of chilled out for a bit before Aunt Dee went to the kitchen to start preparing the kabobs. She had steak, potatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, and squash. I had her leave off the onion on one for me. Meanwhile, my uncles dozed off in the living room. When we had the kabobs all set we woke up Brian so he could fire up the grill.  Before long we had a whole bunch of kabobs and corn on the cob.

 

 

Brian did a great job on the grill. Nothing was burnt and the meat was nicely done. The only thing that surprised me was that they didn’t season any of it. My wife was really surprised to hear me say that. There was a time when I didn’t season anything. I think they might not have seasoned anything because my cousin Eric is even fussier than me in some areas. He didn’t even want his meat touching the onions or peppers. I can identify with that. I used to be the same way when I was younger. Anyway, even without seasoning the peppers, zucchini, and squash weren’t bad. When we’ve made grilled peppers before we always used oil and seasonings which made them a little slimy. I actually finished everything on my kabob. I’ll have to try zucchini and squash again sometime. I didn’t love them, but I can definitely do them again.

I spent a few more hours visiting before I made the two hour trip back to my wife. It was a great time and I’m so glad I finally got to hear my Uncle Peter play with one of the 3 bands he is currently playing with.

New Jersey Wedding Trip

My wife Linda and I went to a wedding in New Jersey over the weekend. It was a lot fun. We don’t really get out a lot so it was nice to get away from the house even for a night. The Days Inn we stayed at could have been better, but it was the closest thing to the wedding so we put up with it.

The wedding was great and they did the food buffet style for the meal during the reception. They had both roast beef and turkey so I was pleased. I did grab some green beans as well. I didn’t go near the pasta since I don’t care for red sauce. Still, there was plenty to eat that I did like.

They had do-it-yourself ice cream sundaes for dessert which was awesome. They had many of my favorite toppings. I didn’t bother with the cake because it had some kind of cream cheese filling, but Linda enjoyed it. It was an early wedding so food was served early afternoon. When we got back to the hotel, we were both feeling a little peckish. We looked around and found that there was an Applebee’s nearby so we decided to head over.

When we got there, we noticed another place nearby that caught our attention and it had Jersey all over it – Joey G’s Bar & Grill. It was a nice place. On the inside, it kind of reminded us of a remodeled Red Lobster – although neither of us could really put into words why. The outside certainly didn’t look like Red Lobster.

Our waitress was nice friendly. She pointed out a few specials and answered a few questions we had. We decided to get a sampler platter of mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and potato skins since we couldn’t quite decide. In case you’re wondering – Linda had the onion rings. I had most of the mozzarella sticks and we shared the potato skins. We also ordered a dish they call Crunch Chicken. It’s chicken fingers made with Cap’N Crunch instead of bread crumbs in the mix. I love Cap’N Crunch cereal so I thought it would be a great dish to try that I could make at home too.

Well, here are words I thought I’d never say – It was a little too sweet for me. They weren’t bad, but it just didn’t seem right. I guess I prefer my fried foods not so sweet. Still, if you have a fussy eater that likes Cap’N Crunch, I’d say give it a try.

The next morning there was no question as to where to eat. We had just one place in mind – IHOP. We spotted one on our way to the wedding so we knew it was close.  Linda had some eggs, bacon and hash browns. I got what I always get at IHOP – chocolate chip pancakes. I was a little surprised that they asked if I wanted chocolate batter as well. Usually that’s how they come at any other IHOP I’ve been to. As expected they were delicious.

We went back to our hotel to pack and let breakfast settle and then we were on our way.

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