Thursday, November 30, 2017

Meal No. 1967: Mexican Chicken & Rice

On the Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend, for a slight change of pace, I was ready for another go at arroz con pollo. It comes together pretty easily and comes out mighty good each time.

"Mexican Chicken & Rice," in  Cuisine at Home, Issue No. 115 (January/February 2016), p. 10-11.

"The Best Mexican White Cheese Dip," from

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Meal No. 1966: Buttermilk Vanilla Waffles

Saturday morning allowed for a special late morning breakfast treat: buttermilk vanilla Belgian waffles. They were delicious, albeit a tad rubbery. That didn't stop me from slamming down more than my fair share.

"Buttermilk Vanilla Waffles," by Stella Parks. From

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Meal No. 1965: 2 x 2 Soup

The leftovers of Thanksgiving didn't last very long, so we couldn't depend on them for our Friday night meal. Instead, I made a pot of 2 x 2 soup, which is a beefy, warm, spicy, cheesy goodness that pleased the gathered bellies...and which made the rest of the cookie butter cheesecake that much better when it was time for dessert.

"2 x 2 Soup," from various sources.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Meal No. 1964: Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, came this year on a beautiful but crisp sunny day, but the warmth around the table when dinner was called was unmistakable. With a smaller contingent of just six this year, it put no crimp in my usual full spread, and I was thinking there'd be abundant leftovers for the weekend. Alas, they were gobbled (!) up rather quickly!

Cranberry Salad

Two added bonuses: I actually got around to making my mother's recipe for cranberry salad, which had not shown up here since 2010; and in spite of a group vote from two years ago, I brought corn pudding back from exile and was glad that I did. It was a bit sweet, but what's not to love about corn pudding?

Corn Pudding

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey Gravy

Green Bean Casserole

Apple & Bacon Stuffing

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

"Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast," Betty Crocker: Holiday Entrées, Sides, Brunches, & More, November 2001, p. 22-23.

"Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce" (p. 296) and "Spicy Horseradish Sauce" (p. 295), from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Compiled and Edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Oxmoor Press (2006).

"Layered Green Bean Casserole," from my sister Allison in Rossville, Indiana.

"Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping," from Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook,  (Oxmoor House, 2006), p. 234-235.

"Corn Pudding," a Jones family favorite.

"Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Bacon," from David Venable. Found online.

"Cranberry Salad," from the late great Allison M. Jones of Buies Creek, North Carolina.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cookie Butter Cheesecake

Following the terrific and belly-stretching lasagna on Wednesday night, I also had a dessert to settle down our overcharged palates: cookie butter cheesecake. Yum. Small slivers were all we really needed.

"Cookie Butter Cheesecake," from Brandi Burgess of Aunt Bee's Recipes.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Meal No. 1963: World's Best Lasagna for Thanksgiving Eve

It's quite possibly becoming a tradition to have lasagna on the evening before Thanksgiving. This is the third year in a row that I've served it up for a small gathering to kick off the holiday period. But having folks over the night before Thanksgiving is not a new thing at the Roediger's been going on for quite a few years now, although the entertainment has varied from year to year. It was nice to get in a couple of rounds of pool before returning to the kitchen to finish up dinner prep.

Since it was a moderately nice day for late November, and with the Maid to Please crew doing a full house cleaning, I also got out and tackled the leaves. Just in time, it seems: about an hour after I got them all piled by the curb, the City came through and collected them. Easy peasy. I did find myself regretting all that labor, the next day, when all the Thanksgiving cooking awaited me: my back was feeling rough!

"World's Best Lasagna," by John Chandler (Dallas, TX). Found online at

Friday, November 24, 2017

Meal No. 1962: Slow-Cooker Pork Tinga

After a big crew of us returned from the early evening showing of Justice League, I wanted to be able to serve up supper. This is one of the reasons we love a crockpot, right? It was an opportunity to try a new recipe, too, and we were all pretty pleased with how it turned out. On the plates, atop Basmati rice, was Mexican pork tinga. I can see where it would also be good as a tostada or in a taco or rolled up as a burrito. The verdict from the gathered group was that we ought to see this dinner come back around again.

"Pork Tinga: Slow-Cooker Mexican Shredded Pork Tostadas," by Matthew Fairman. In Cook's Country, December 2017/January 2018, p. 26.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Scottish Shortbread

Here's a new thing for me: Scottish shortbread. It was tasty when it was warm but I think I'll want to tinker with this to get it closer to what I'd like it to be.

"Scottish Shortbread," from Steve_G. Found online at

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Meal No. 1961: Deviled Chicken Thighs

It was a cold weekend, thanks to pretty windy conditions, and I found myself drawn to a comfort-food menu for the Sunday night dinner for three of us. It was all a bit much, but it was also mighty good: deviled chicken thighs, macaroni and cheese casserole, green beans with mustard sauce, and buttery fluffy Southern-style hoecake biscuits. Geez Louise!

"Deviled Chicken Drumsticks," by Ian Knauer. In Gourmet, August 2008.

"Macaroni and Cheese Casserole," by Sarah Gabriel. In Cook's Country, June/July 2012, p. 17.

"Green Beans with Tangy Mustard Sauce," from Southern Living, June 2009. [Recipe Clipping.]

"Fluffy Southern-Style Hoecakes," by Erica of My Busy Bees and Me. Recipe first encountered through her YouTube video.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meal No. 1960: Asian Beef Stir Fry

For Saturday night's meal, I piloted a new recipe for Asian beef stir fry and was pretty pleased with the results. Because I'm partial to dark soy sauce, the colors of the various vegetables get really muted, so the picture ain't much to look at. But the taste was well worth the efforts of one's tongue (and teeth and hands and...).

"Asian Steak and Vegetable Stir-Fry," by coweed. In All Recipes Magazine, November 2017, p. 91.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce based on "How to Make Teriyaki Sauce," from Meggan Hill of

Monday, November 20, 2017

Meal No. 1959: Country Ham and Rice

It's been pretty darned busy for a good stretch, so I was content on Friday night to reach for whatever was on hand for dinner. That turned out to be country ham with rice and biscuits, just like Mother used to make.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Meal No. 1958: Grilled Ribeyes and French Fries

This past Thursday, on a pleasant November evening, I headed out to the grill and dinner was a most satisfying combo of ribeyes and French fries.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Butter Toffee Cookies for HPU Cohort

I've gotten myself in trouble this fall, while I've been working with three different cohorts within the fall High Point University Leadership Academy...if I manage to take cookies to one group but not to another, I really get raked over the coals. I just can't always get it done, you see. But I knew last Thursday that I could not show up for another day with the Cabarrus County/Newton-Conover City/Rutherford County group without some sweet goodies in hand. So the night before I made the really quite wonderful butter toffee cookies (and they were so very on point when they came out of the oven!).

"Butter Toffee Cookies," originally from King Arthur Flour. The catalog that comes periodically from KAF has recipes in it, which is where I originally got this. But, as sometimes happens, it is not available on their website. I'm glad someone posted it to

Friday, November 17, 2017

Meal No. 1957: Lamb Meatloaf

After a fine day in Greensboro with the Guilford County cohort of the High Point University Leadership Academy, and with guests coming to dinner, I turned to a faithful and delicious standby: lamb and mushroom meatloaf, with smashed sweet potatoes and hot buttered peas. It was all good, but the sweet potatoes were particularly marvelous.

"Lamb and Multi-Mushroom Meat Loaf" (p. 150) and "Smashed Sweet Potatoes" (p. 128), in Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen, by Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing (2011).

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Meal No. 1956: Chicken Fried Rice

For the Tuesday evening meal this week, I tried a new recipe for chicken fried rice, and it was really pretty good. I'll have to bring that one back again, and again.

"Classic Chicken Fried Rice," from the Woks of Life.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Meal No. 1955: Grilled Bacon & Cheese Sandwiches

After four weeks of traveling and two weekends in a row of out-of-state company, I was quick to surrender to the call of a simple meal on Sunday night: grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches with a tall cold glass of OJ. In truth, aren't they more griddled than grilled, though?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Atlantic Beach Pie

Following the terrific deviled beef short ribs dinner on Saturday night, I also had us all some dessert: Atlantic Beach Pie. This is a creamy lemon pie in the vein of traditional Florida key lime pie, but it gets a boost to the flavor juxtaposition by starting with a crust made of crushed Ritz crackers. The fresh-squeezed lemon juice helps achieve a really nice sweet pucker once you start chomping down on this excellent concoction. We were well-sated by the time we got up from the dinner table.

"One Phenomenal Pie: Atlantic Beach Pie," from Chef Bill Smith. Published in Our State Magazine, May 2014. Also featured in "Found Recipes" on All Things Considered from National Public Radio, broadcast April 13, 2013.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Meal No. 1954: Deviled Beef Short Ribs

Saturday night's dinner was a fine excuse for trying to bring back a pretty special main dish: deviled beef short ribs. With friends Brad and Rhonda visiting from Virginia Beach, I mean, I gotta try to make something on the fancier side of the ledger, right? We also had twice-baked stuffed potatoes and layered green bean casserole. It seemed to pass muster with the crew.

Fire No. 33

It was a very winter-like day, with an overnight low in the mid-20s and daytime highs that barely reached the mid-40s. I started the first fire of the season that morning (Fire No. 33 since the kitchen addition was completed) and kept it burning all day long until close to bedtime. It's the first time I've used the fireplace since Winter 2015-16.

"Deviled Beef Short Ribs," by Jeremy Sauer. In Cook's Country, April/May 2014, p. 12-13.

"Stuffed Potatoes: Good/Better/Best," in Cuisine at Home,  December 2006, p. 23-24 [Recipe Clipping]. Reminder about crispier potato skins from "Crispy Baked Potato," from The Kitchen on

"Layered Green Bean Casserole," shared with me by my sister Allison Jones Holden of Rossville, IN (December 2001).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Chai Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon Chips

Over the weekend, I brought back a cookie recipe that I hadn't made in almost a year: chai-spiced oatmeal with cinnamon chips. They were mighty incredible coming straight out of the oven last Friday night, after everyone had gone to bed, and I was alone with each tasty batch as it came out. Good cooks sample, don't they?

Based on: "Caramel-Chai Oatmeal Cookies," in Cuisine at Home, September/October 2013, p. 47.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Meal No. 1953: One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables

With special company visiting from Virginia Beach this weekend, I put out the call for any meal requests based on their review of past Roediger House blog entries. For the Friday night meal, I tried to satisfy one of those requests with the popular one-pan pork tenderloin with roasted green beans and baby Dutch potatoes. I definitely think it's been better but we didn't have much left over.

"One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans and Potatoes," by Christie Morrison. In Cook's Country, October/November 2015, p. 27.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Meal No. 1952: Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

After a great first day of training with the instructional leadership team of Elkin City Schools on Wednesday, I came home to the definite winter-ish feel of this early November coldsnap. The front of the house was all the way down to 63°F so it was time to reset all the thermostats for winter warming instead of summer cooling, and I began to contemplate the very real possibility that the first fire of the season might have to occur when we're in the low 40s this coming Saturday.

For dinner, I took a second run at the tender and flavorful baked honey mustard chicken that I first piloted back in early September. It was easy to toss stuffing mix and steamed broccoli onto the plates for a full and delicious Wednesday night dinner.

"Honey Mustard Chicken," by Elise Bauer of

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Meal No. 1951: Simple Beef Chili

After making the long drive back from Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon, I returned to a chilly and misty Winston-Salem and a plan for guests at dinnertime. With what I had in the fridge, simple beef chili with homemade sweet cornbread seemed likely to best fit the bill, and I think it was a hit with the crew.

"Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans," from Cook's Illustrated, Number Sixty-One [March-April 2003], p. 10-11.

Sweet Southern Cornbread adapted from "Golden Sweet Cornbread," from bluegirl on

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortcake Bars

Following Saturday night's meal, I also had managed to put together another new dessert trial: salted caramel chocolate shortbread bars. Decadent and unlike anything I've ever made...and really well-received when we all sat in the second floor sitting area in the waning minutes of our evening.

"Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars," from Annie Marshall, who blogs at Annie Everyday.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Meal No. 1950: Not So Cajun Chicken

With company in town from Florida and a desire to make the Saturday evening meal comforting (while taking advantage of a special on chicken tenderloins!), I decided to go with house favorite Not So Cajun Chicken, over basmati rice and with fresh steamed broccoli. The verdict: "It popped!"

"Not So Cajun Chicken," a dish I regularly enjoyed at Crowley's Old Time Favorites restaurant and bar on Medlin Drive in Raleigh, NC. Credit to Jimmy Randolph for helping track the recipe down. (Another version of the recipe can be found here.)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Meal No. 1949: Glazed Grilled Pork Chops

This past Friday, while I was still a little numbed that it was already the 3rd day of November, the weather was downright balmy, with a high of 80°F by early afternoon and a rising full moon that night. I cut the grass late afternoon for the 24th and, likely, the last time of the year. Because it was such a delightful evening, and the 10-day forecast promised a dramatic cooler shift in the weather pattern, it pleased me to hit the grill with another round of glazed grilled pork chops, with roasted garlic asparagus and stuffing. It was on point yet again.

"Glazed Pork Chops," in Cuisine's Celebrate the Seasons: Summertime Menus, Issue 10 (June/July 2016), p. 36-38.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Meal No. 1948: Chicken with Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

At the end of August, I tried out a new recipe: chicken with tomato and basil cream sauce. It was simply terrific and I've been wanting to try it again. That finally occurred this past Thursday night, although I wasn't as thrilled with it this time. I suspect it's because I'm not a fan of Pecorino Romano cheese after all; I'd better stick to parmesan.

"Chicken with Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce," from Sally of [Published 27 March 2015]

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Upgrading the Outdoor Furniture

As the summer wound up, and I was furiously checking off more of the projects on my summer to-do list, that also included trying to replace, upgrade, and expand the outdoor furniture here at the Roediger House. A new feature, pictured above, is the addition of a bistro table and chairs in the corner of the front porch under the ceiling fan. Because I really enjoy watching the happenings and goings-on on Spring Street, I'm definitely pleased to have a higher chair that gives me a better view over the porch railing. Why, there might even be an occasional supper sitting out there, when the weather's nice. It's great the way the breezes whip around that corner of the house, so it's often a terrific spot for sitting and relaxing and visiting.

The house also boasts a pretty awesome upstairs balcony that looks out at the city skyline. It's undergone a couple of significant repairs in the 14 years I've lived here, first with the major renovation project of 2008-2009, and then more recently in order to correct mistakes made in 2008-2009! Over the years, that balcony has been wonderful for planned and impromptu gatherings, but it's also just a nice spot to sit and enjoy day or night. Unfortunately, some of the original furniture I'd bought came from WalMart and didn't hold up well, and then over the last few months the remaining chairs were rendered unusable thanks to squirrels raiding the stuffing from the cushions. With end-of-season sales going on, though, I've replaced the busted pieces and replaced the cushions, and that balcony is again ready for more great times:

Like the lead-up to a Roediger House reading party:

Friday, November 3, 2017

Recipe Organization Project

I suppose it's a given that I like spending time in my kitchen. I'm glad I've got a pretty good collection of recipe books and a nice assortment of food and cooking magazines coming in. There's also the overwhelming mass of recipes that are out there on the internet. Over time, between clippings from magazines and print-outs from websites, I ended up with quite a few stacks of unsorted things that I eventually got around to at least organizing into folders. But that wasn't the best solution.

Since I do educational consulting, I am usually gifted with an early-September break from work and travel while schools get the new year started and underway. From somewhere finally came the inspiration and motivation to get all those darned recipes organized, which began with emptying and sorting each of the many folders:

With several boxes of sheet protectors from Costco and several rolls of Scotch tape to help me out, I slowly got them into notebooks, with sticky notes as tabs to help organize them better:

An awesome additional benefit of this project was that it got me to really want to clean up the butler's pantry, which has just been junky since 2009:

Once this multi-day endeavor was done, I had a better-looking (but not perfect!) butler's pantry:

And a helpfully-organized set of notebooks so's I can keep on doing the cooking labors that bring me a lot of joy: