Friday, July 27, 2012


I had a very busy week at work with lots of overtime. That is why I am writing this blog on Friday and not Wednesday. I even had to go to work on Sunday, which I'll tell you about in a minute. Saturday was a pretty good day. Even though it was raining off and on all day I grilled twice. After Isabella got up from nap, I made smores on the grill!
     We put the chocolate between the graham crackers with a marshmallow on all but one. The last one we used marshmallow cream because it doesn't have gelatin in it. Isabella is a allergic to beef and most gelatin is made from cow. The completed smores were put in the Pampered Chef flexible grilling basket.  
Next they got grilled for a few minutes on medium heat. I kept rotating them to heat evenly. I grilled them till the marshmallow and cracker started to get toastly. 

Isabella likes to eat her's deconstructed
MMM! Yummy!

 We definitely will be making smores that way more often. For dinner, I grilled various vegetables. I skewered some onion slices and grilled them with salt and pepper. A sweet potato and a couple russet potatoes got cut into slices. The slices were tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I grilled them on the grill till they were a nice golden color.

 I also cut a zucchini lengthwise and grilled it with salt and pepper. We enjoy grilled mini sweet peppers and so I skewered and grilled them.

The veggies got mixed together in a bowl when they were done.
To go along with the veggies, I made bruschetta. I took some bread out of the freezer and sliced it. I buttered both sides of bread. On each slice, I put a piece of turkey lunchmeat and cheese. It then got grilled until the bread was toasted and the cheese melty. 

Lastly, I cut up some plums and tossed with sugar and cinnamon. The plums were grilled on each side for a few minutes. 

 Sunday, we got the bathtub ready for Isabella to take her first bath in just the tub. Up to this point she has just taken baths in little kid tubs. As we were finishing that up, I got a call from one of the companies I work for. They needed me to come fix a plane and since I am director of maintenance, I had to go. Stacy and I decided to make it a family trip. So we loaded Isabella up and drove the almost 90 miles to Talkeetna. I was able to fix the plane. Isabella was a good helper. She had so much fun and didn't want to leave when it was time to come home.

I hope everybody was a good week! I'll catch you all next time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grilled Meatballs!

This weekend was a good one. We were just busy enough and had fun. Saturday, we went to a garden fair in Palmer. That was fun. We walked around looking at all the plants and art that people had for sale. They had live music and we sat and listened to a summer youth band. Isabella and I split a blueberry and strawberry shortcake. Then we went to a booth that was a kids farmers market. The lady running the booth read a story about where soup comes from. Then she gave all the kids $5 in play money to spend at the market. Isabella picked what she wanted. We got 5 potatoes, a bunch of radishes, bunch of green onions, celery, a zucchini, and 2 small cups of cherry tomatoes.  It was nice getting all those fresh Alaska grown veggies for free.
      While Isabella napped, I made pulled pork nachos. I took some pulled pork out of the freezer that I had made before. The pork went on top of tortilla chips with green onions, grilled corn, and cheese. The whole thing went in the oven till the cheese was melted and the pork heated up. I also made a cherry blueberry pie filling using frozen cherries and blueberries. I used this recipe for the filling and substituted refrigerated pie crusts for the crust. I added about a cup of frozen blueberries, the zest and juice of a clementine orange, and the zest of half a lemon to the filling also.  I put the bottom crust in a buttered cast iron skillet, poured the filling on top, and put the top crust on. The top crust was sprinkled with sugar before I put it in the oven. The pie came out nice and golden brown and the filling was gelled.

For dinner I grilled quesadillas. I put 2 cans of drained red beans, minced garlic, salsa, taco seasoning, sweet onion, and sweet pepper in the food processor and processed till smooth. Then I cooked the bean mixture for a bit.  Next, I spread the bean mixture onto tortillas and added cheese. I grilled them over medium heat and gave them a quarter turn before flipping them. I grilled them till they had nice grill marks and were crispy.

 Sunday morning, I mixed up some ciabatta  bread dough to let it rise for dinner. Here is the super easy recipe. Stacy had made a coffee cake for breakfast so I put the bread dough in the warm oven to rise all day. To cook it, I put the dough in my buttered cast iron skillet and threw it on the grill at low heat. The bread got cooked till it was a golden color.

During Isabella's nap, I made meatballs. I mixed mild Italian sausage, eggs, Italian bread crumbs, sweet peppers, parmesean cheese, minced garlic, and pepper. I formed them into balls and froze them for a couple hours till it was time to grill them. I grilled the meatballs on my Pampered Chef Roasting Pan and Can Holder Pan. I use this pan almost every weekend and is one of my favorites. I grilled the meatballs over medium heat and turned them a few times. I left them alone too long a few times so they got a little dark. We really liked them though.

The spaghetti sauce was a combination of homemade and canned. I can't ever just use a spaghetti sauce straight out of the can or jar. I started out by sauteing onions, peppers, and carrots in olive oil for about 10 minutes. I salt and peppered the veggies at this time. Then I added a can of diced tomatoes and cooked for a few more minutes on medium heat. After that, I added a can and half a jar of sauce and parmasean  cheese and simmered on low for at least half an hour or more. The pasta which was linguine and elbows was cooked and added to the sauce.
Here is Isabella's plate of noodles and meatball!
 Finally as a side dish, I grilled sweet peppers and radishes. We wanted a way to use the radishes that we got at the farmers market that wasn't eating them raw. I found various recipes for grilled radishes and picked one I liked. The radishes got sliced and added to a foil packet with the peppers. To the veggies, I added salt and pepper and olive oil. The packet then got grilled for about 25 minutes. We all liked the radishes, even Stacy who normally doesn't like them.

Well that's all for this week. I hope everybody has a good week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


   I hope everybody had a good week. It was pretty busy with work, but I was home at a normal time Friday night. Saturday was a busy filled with lots of monthly shopping and errands. I even got my hair cut. It was time, since the last time was February or March. We took advantage of a good special and picked up a pizza for dinner.
   Sunday, I made breakfast. I cooked up bacon for breakfast and some to go on dinner. The bacon was cooked in my cast iron skillet. When I was done cooking the bacon I poured the grease out and made a dutch baby in it. See my post "Dutch Baby" for the recipe. We all love them.
   While Isabella took her nap later, I prepped dinner. I made Isabella moose burger sliders and Stacy and I regular hamburgers. In both sets of burger I added: olive oil, salt, pepper, dehydrated onion, shredded mozzarella cheese, crumbled bacon, Pampered Chef Smoky Applewood rub, and Worcestershire sauce. I formed the burgers into patties and put a depression in the top of each one. I had heard that the depression helps keep your burgers from shrinking too much. So I tried it and it seemed to help. The burgers went into the freezer until it was time to grill them.  I also cut regular and sweet potatoes into fries. Plus a couple onion slices got skewered.
     When it was time to make dinner, I heated the grill. I seasoned the fries with oil, salt, pepper and more applewood rub. The fries went into the Pampered Chef Roasting Pan and Can Holder. I grilled Isabella's burgers first and put the onion on the grill. The onion got drizzled with olive oil and salt and peppered. Once Isabella's burgers were done, I grilled our burgers. I took the onion off after it had nice grill marks and was softened. After the burgers were cooked, the buns all got grilled. As one last touch, I put the lettuce on the grill for about 30 seconds.
    I topped my burger with mayo, cheddar cheese, ketchup, the grilled onion and lettuce, and bacon. They were nice and juicy. Isabella ate most of her's which is good cause she doesn't eat her meat very well. She also kept wanting more fries. We really enjoyed our burgers. We also had Bush's Grillin' beans with dinner too.
   Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy accident!

        I had an early start to my weekend last week. We had no planes to work on Friday and I had put in plenty of hours for the week, so I was home by lunch time. I got to spend the day playing with Isabella.  Saturday was also a fairly relaxing day too.
         For dinner, we had thawed a chicken. I attempted to make soda can chicken. I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper and Pampered Chef  Smoky Barbecue rub. I also put some garlic cloves under the skin. The whole chicken went on a can of orange soda on the Pampered Chef Roasting Pan and Can Holder. I then put potatoes, onions and carrots around the chicken. We made Isabella a foil packet of veggies. I put the pan with the chicken on my charcoal grill opposite the coals and left it alone for almost 2 hours. At that point I checked it for doneness. My thermometer varied on the temp, but I had clear juices coming out when I poked it. So I took it off and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. I cut into it and found that it wasn't done. I couldn't put it back on the roasting pan since I didn't think it would cook ok. I got out my cast iron skillet and put the chicken in it. Then I covered it with foil and put it back on the grill. This time it went directly over the heat. I cooked it for another 45 minutes this way and flipped it over a few times. I took it off and let it rest in the skillet in the cold oven until Isabella was in bed. Stacy and I carved the still warm chicken and ate it downstairs. We had a nice dinner just the two of us. We really liked the chicken. It was a lot like fried chicken. I will be using the cast iron skillet to cook chicken on the grill again. I am going to have to experiment with soda can chicken again. 
          While the chicken was cooking in the skillet, I made a blueberry nectarine crumble in my cast iron dutch oven. I cooked it next to the chicken on the charcoal grill. I used Steven Raichlen's blueberry crumble recipe from BBQ U. I used crumbled butter cookies instead of gingersnaps and a nectarine instead of some of the blueberries. We all liked it.
          Sunday, I mowed the lawn and cut down part of a cottonwood tree. The tree has been dropping cotton on my deck and grill. I need help to take the rest of the tree down. I have been wanting to do kabobs for a while and finally got my chance Sunday night. I did both savory and sweet kabobs. I put polish sausage on one set of sticks. Then I put onions, peppers, and pork cubes on their own set of sticks. If you cook them separately things are less likely to burn or be underdone. I salt and peppered everything, except the sausage which I only peppered. I next made a flavored oil with olive oil, fresh minced garlic, and Pampered Chef Chili Lime rub.I cooked the oil over low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Everything got basted or sprinkled with the flavored oil.
        For the sweet kabobs, I combined honeydew melon. fresh mint leaves (which grow wild at our house), and mango all on one skewer. I also skewered some grapes. For the the fruit I made a glaze. The glaze consisted of fresh lemon juice, mint leaves, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla extract. I also cooked the glaze over low heat. I grilled the fruit until it started showing grill marks and only for a few minutes per side. We loved it all and the grapes were surprisingly  really good.

    Have a happy 4th of July! This weekend, I plan on making bacon stuffed cheeseburgers. Have a great week!