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.

Cajun Flank Steak Recipe

Book - The New Way to Cook Light

This Christmas, my wife got a great new cookbook “The New Way to Cook Light”. Up till now we hadn’t tried any of the recipes. This afternoon we were looking it over and found one that seemed interesting – Cajun Flank Steak.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak (we used 1.5)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper (we used 1/4)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (we used 1/4)

Directions:

  1. Combine seasoning in a storage bag and mix.
  2. Season both sides of the flank steak.
  3. Heat grill to high heat (around 600).
  4. Grill each side for about 8-10 minutes depending on how you like your steak.
  5. Let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Cut steak diagonally into thin strips.

Cajun Flank Steak - Seasoned

One of the things I like about flank steak is that it is so lean. I hardly had to cut anything off it before it was ready to grill. Try to season it as evenly as possible. If you have a shaker you can use, that might help. I found it a little tough to season evenly.

Cajun Flank Steak - Off the Grill

 

I cut the steak once after I brought it in to make sure it was done properly. My wife likes it a little more rare than I do. This looked pretty good so we let it stand before cutting the rest.

Cajun Flank Steak - Ready to ServeOnce it was all cut I could tell that some of it was a little less done than I like. Linda took the rare portions and I took the meat that was just pink. As you can see it was quite juicy.Cajun Flank Steak with Campfire Potatoes

We made Campfire Potatoes to go along with the steak. I was a bit unsure of them so I added some additional cheddar on top. The Cajun Flank Steak was delicious. It definitely had some kick to it. Between the two of us we finished it off. I will probably try this seasoning again on other cuts of steak as it was really flavorful. I was even bold enough to actually include the garlic powder when I made it. All in all, this steak gets the fussy eater stamp of approval.

 

Alton Brown Turkey Brine Recipe

We decided to try things a little different this Thanksgiving. My wife found this interesting brine recipe for turkey and it looked good enough to give a try. It’s good for a bird 14-16 pounds, although I’m sure it could be adjusted for other sizes as needed. You’ll need your turkey thawed at least a day or two before roasting to give it time to marinate in the brine.

Brine Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

Aromatic Ingredients:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil

Directions:

  1. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, black pepper, allspice, and ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
  4. Combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon pot. Place the thawed turkey with innards removed breast side down in brine.
  5. Cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
  6. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  7. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water, discarding the brine.
  8. Place the bird on roasting rack and pat dry with paper towels.
  9. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
  10. Add steeped aromatics to the turkeys cavity along with the rosemary and sage.
  11. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
  12. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  13. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F for approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting until the internal temperature reaches 161 degrees F.
  14. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

via Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe : Alton Brown : Recipes : Food Network.

We made a few changes to the original recipe due to some ingredients we couldn’t find. We used black pepper instead of black peppercorns, ground allspice instead of allspice berries, and ground ginger instead of chopped candied ginger. We also allowed it to marinate for 24 hours or so before cooking.

The brine had a really nice smell while it was cooking on the stove top. That gave me a lot of hope that the turkey would come out tasty. We used a big lobster pot so we could cook, cool, and marinate in the same pot.

After we let it boil, we set it aside for a few hours to cool. We let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next morning we added the ice water to it.

The recipe calls for getting the whole turkey submerged, but that just wasn’t possible. We just made sure to flip the turkey in the brine so it all was covered at some point.

When we were ready to cook the turkey, we removed it from the brine and patted it dry. Then we coated it with canola oil. This was a big change for us. Usually my wife slices just under the skin and puts butter underneath. To our surprise, the turkey gets very golden brown using the canola oil.

This was by far the best looking turkey we have cooked. We were all commenting on how it was so golden brown that it looked fake – like some picture you’d see in a food magazine. After letting it sit while we finished up some side dished, I started slicing the turkey. I think we left it in a little bit long. It wasn’t as juicy as I would have liked.

Overall, I’d call this recipe a success. The skin wasn’t salty or over seasoned.  The flavor really seemed to get cooked thru the whole bird. This certainly isn’t a last minute recipe, but if you’ve got the time for it, the results are well worth it.

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.

Chicken Marsala Recipe

A few years back, we were visiting my brother and his wife and they made Chicken Marsala for dinner. Since then, we have found it to be a bit of a welcome change from our typical chicken dishes. Naturally, we have adapted the recipe a little bit to suit our tastes and the seasonings we have on hand. The best part is that it is relatively simple and quick to make, yet looks and tastes like you’ve been slaving over a hot stove all afternoon.

Ingredients:

  • Several pieces of chicken breast
  • Marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Panko chips
  • 1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 can Sliced Mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Trim the chicken breasts and pound them flat.
  2. In a gallon food storage bag, mix dry ingredients. I typically use approximately equal parts flour, panko chips, and bread crumbs and then add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Sprinkle some pepper on the chicken and then add it to the bag. Shake until thoroughly coated.
  4. Melt butter in a frying pan. Use one with a lid – you’ll need it later.
  5. Add chicken to the pan and cook both sides just long enough to get a nice golden color.
  6. Add mushrooms and let them fry up just a little bit.
  7. Add Marsala wine till it covers about half the chicken.
  8. Reduce the heat and cover the pan.
  9. Flip the chicken every 5 minutes.
  10. Continue to cook until the Marsala has reduced and thickened.
  11. Server over pasta and enjoy.

 

You don’t need to add the mushrooms until you add the Marsala wine, but my wife figured that getting them a little fried might keep the texture from turning me off. If you don’t mid the mushrooms a little more soft and squishy, you can add them later.

 

You don’t need to cover the chicken completely with the Marsala wine. If you do, then you might not need to flip the chicken. However, you will have to wait a lot longer for it to reduce. Through trial and error, we have found that half covered reduced down to a nice thickens without having to wait too long. Depending on how you like the sauce you may want to experiment with how much Marsala you use.

 

It’s a little difficult to tell how thick the sauce is from the picture. I’d say it’s about the consistency of a thick  gravy. We served it over a nice wheat spaghetti.  Adding pepper to the chicken before it gets coated with the mix really spices it up a bit. I did even try a few mushrooms although I always made sure to get one with a bite of chicken and maybe some pasta. I never did try any on their own. They weren’t as bad as I thought they could be, but the texture was still a little unpleasant. I probably will try them again. The rest of the Chicken Marsala was delicious.

Parmesan Chicken with Pasta and Peas

Since the number of things I’ll eat is a bit more limited than it is for most people, I try to find ways to prepare things I like in different combinations so I don’t get bored having the same basic thing week after week. I often make sauteed chicken with pasta. That can get a little old after a while. To change things up, I will sometimes add a vegetable in to add a little flavor and color.

We had some extra chicken thawed out from when we made the citrus garlic tacos that I didn’t care for. I sauteed that up in a pan and seasoned it with black pepper. Then I started some wheat pasta. I’ve switched to wheat pasta within the past year to try to make my meals a little more healthy. I usually use Rotini, but you can use whatever pasta you like – it doesn’t have to be wheat either. When the chicken and pasta are almost done, I toss some peas in the microwave.

After I strain the pasta, I add in a generous helping of Parmesan cheese. Then I stir in the chicken and the peas. It makes for a quick, healthy meal that even a fussy eater can enjoy. If they don’t like peas, you can substitute a vegetable that they do like. I will sometimes use broccoli that I cut up into very small bits so it makes them easier to mix and eat.

Parmesan Chicken and Gnocchi

My wife and I have been trying to find some healthy new alternatives to things we eat. Often times,when I saute chicken, I’ll have it with egg noodles and Parmesan cheese. A few weeks ago, my wife picked up some gnocchi and we hadn’t used it yet, so we decided to try that instead this time. I think it comes in different varieties, but I’m not sure since my wife picked it up. If it matters, the one we used was a whole wheat gnocchi with sweet potato.

I was really impressed with how quick and easy it is to prepare. It says right on the front label that it cooks in 2-3 minutes and that really is about all there is to it. Boil some water and toss the gnocchi in for 2-3 minutes. I think I went with closer to 3 minutes. Basically they say once it floats, it’s pretty much done – except for straining out the water.

I had sauteed some chicken (which was the longest part of preparation time) a few minutes earlier. I use just a little bit of olive oil in the pan and season with black pepper. Once the chicken and gnocchi were done, I tossed them both in my bowl and added some shredded Parmesan cheese over the top. In a second bowl, I added pesto instead of Parmesan cheese since Linda doesn’t care for the cheese.

I tried a bite of hers with pesto. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t exactly like it either. For now I’m going to call it food I don’t like since I wasn’t even willing to take a second bite, but I may revisit it at a later date to see if things have changed.

My Parmesan chicken with gnocchi was delicious. The gnocchi is definitely a different taste than the pasta I usually use, but it was quite workable and also seemed a little more filling than regular pasta. I really like that it cooks quicker than pasta too.

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