Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Meal No. 2020: Lamb Meatloaf

This past Thursday night, with Amy and Gern over for the evening, I put one of Amy's favorites on the dinner menu: Tupelo Honey Cafe's version of lamb-mushroom meatloaf, along with mashed potatoes and seasoned green beans. It seems we were all pretty delighted with what was briefly on our plates.

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Meal No. 2019: Monie's Carbonara

An easy favorite that I often reach for when I don't want dinner to take too much time but I also want to be good: Monie's pasta carbonara. That's what I fixed on Wednesday night and was glad to still have for leftovers at Jackson Middle School on the following day.

"Pasta Carbonara," a recipe shared by Monie Lawrence of Raleigh, NC.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Meal No. 2018: Stuffed French Bread

Another new recipe showed up on the Roediger House dinner table this past Tuesday night: stuffed French bread, although I used a French baguette instead (and lost part of a filling, but that's another story). Except for finishing with a small piece of metal in my mouth, it really was pretty good.

"Stuffed French Bread," from Holly of Life in the Lofthouse.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Meal No. 2017: Not So Cajun Chicken

To mark a very special celebration this past Monday night, a return to the very first meal made in the Roediger House's rebuilt kitchen was called for: Not So Cajun Chicken, served simply with its creamy sauce over white rice. If you're looking for a new dish to make one evening, you should definitely snag the recipe below and try it out. I promise you will not be disappointed.

"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.)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Meal No. 2016: Sunday Night Oatmeal

When Sunday night rolled around, I must confess that I was happy to settle for something reasonably easy at dinnertime, following a week that included work in Virginia and then a fun and well-attended Saturday night party...with much of Sunday invested in clean-up! It pleased me to revert to my most favorite childhood breakfast: oatmeal with toast.

After the long stretch of mostly uninterrupted brutal cold we've experienced here in Winston-Salem, and following a nice snowstorm dumping about six inches of good powder on us, it was an especially delightful turn of events to get to sit outside Sunday afternoon in short sleeves and soak up the warm sunshine as temps hit 65°F.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Meal No. 2015: Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding

Following the big birthday to-do last Saturday night, the presence of overnight guests inspired me to get a headstart on making savory breakfast bread pudding that afternoon, to be tucked away for an overnight soak in the fridge, and I baked it up for Sunday morning breakfast for six. That sure is a fine recipe, if you ask me.

"Savory Bread Pudding," from King Arthur Flour. [recipe clipping]

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mookie's Surprise Birthday Party

This past Saturday night, the Roediger House got to play host for the surprise 40th birthday of RoHo regular Mookie. His fiancée Kristen pulled off a masterful and marvelous fête feat and gathered friends and family and coworkers to celebrate this Mook milestone. The third floor offers itself as a great party space and it was an awesome night all around.

Even though it's kind of a tight space back behind Ray's the Bar, it still proved a popular gathering area at various times through the evening:

I contributed some goodies to the snackables we had, but only snagged photos of two of them:

Warm Swiss & Bacon Dip

Rotel Cups

And Sumner, while highly excited and delighted for much of the evening, finally wore down and had to sit a spell:

"Chunky Sausage Queso," in the Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook. Compiled and Edited by Jane E. Gentry. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (2006), p. 23.

"Rotel Cups," a recipe passed around on Facebook. Two online versions that match up to the recipe I used can be found at and

"South Carolina-Style Pimento Cheese [not pictured]." Recipe worked out by me, based on Sharon's Palmetto Pimento Cheese.

"Swiss and Bacon Dip," from Rachael Ray. Available online at the Food Network website.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Another Super Snowfall Hits Winston-Salem

Photo by Carolyn Wyman McClintock

This past week found me working two days up in Shenandoah County, Virginia, and I left just ahead of Winston-Salem's latest great snowfall. After years of forecasts that inspired excitement and anticipation, only to find ourselves disappointed either with the delivered amount or the corruption by sleet and freezing rain, it's pretty cool that Winston has already gotten two great snows that exceeded what the forecasts were predicting.

Of course, this time around, I was nowhere around and we only got a dusting of snow in Woodstock in the Shenandoah Valley. There was still a good bit of it hanging around once I got back to town Thursday, and Sumner enjoyed the heck out of it:

With a big shindig happening Saturday night, it meant that the warmer temps in the 50s that ushered in the weekend were a great aid to my aching back when I cleared the driveway a shovelful at the time:

Also, a package arrived in my absence, bearing a new fireplace grate:

I'd pretty much cooked my cheap old one down into a warped and melted mess, but now the new grate will be ready to be broken in by an already-laid fire, once the cold of winter returns:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Meal No. 2014: Chili Gathering 2018

It's been a long tradition at the Roediger House to have some sort of chili gathering at the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday time. In some years, it's been a friendly competition with a number of folks and quite a few pots of chili. Lately, it seems to have greatly reduced in size and is now simply a gathering of friends with one or more pots of chili to choose from. This year, owing to sickness running through some of the regular crew, there were four happy souls to sit and enjoy my most standard chili...this time without the kidney beans.

Still had the delicious sweet cornbread and also had some southwestern dip, which has become sort of scarce in these parts.

Fire No. 41

January 15th was another cold winter day in Winston-Salem, and I'd slept rather cold the night before. I got a fire going mid-morning and kept it going all day long.

"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

"Southwestern Dip," in Betty Crocker Monthly Recipes, December 2001.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Meal No. 2013: Appetizer Sampler Platter

Let's go nostalgic for a moment and think about how fun it is to go out for a festive dinner with friends and the crew makes the rare (at least for me) choice to indulge in an appetizer sampler platter. And let's assume for a moment that it's not one of those appetizer platters with one-third of the items being, to your taste, unappetizing. It puts me in a frame of mind to wistfully remember the old Darryl's restaurants in Raleigh that were a staple of high school, college, and early career life. Until they closed up shop in the early 2000s, following the chain's purchase by the struggling Houlihan's, a trip to Darryl's was always a treat. A place like that had appetizer platter choices you could really get into. And over the holidays, a nagging desire to try making an appetizer platter for supper one night had been bubbling up and, Sunday a week ago, I finally got around to doing it. I sort of went all out on it, even though it had but three items (and two different dipping sauces!).

First up: southwestern egg rolls, probably best known or associated with Chili's. I brined and then grilled a chicken breast, and then finely diced it. I sauteed green onion and roasted red pepper. I mixed it all together and added corn kernels, black beans, chopped spinach, diced jalapenos, and a collection of various spices and herbs. Mixed with a combination of cheeses, wrapped carefully like a burrito and then sealed with an egg wash, frozen for a few hours, and gloriously deep-fried to a gorgeous deep golden-brown...these were unbelievable. The avocado dipping sauce (foreground of picture below) was also spot-on.

Next up: potato skins. Not hard to make but it's nice when you can nudge them up the tasty scale a bit, which seemed to work out just as intended. I fried up some bacon, diced more fresh scallions, and mixed up the cheese choices a bit. Nothing better than a huge dollop of sour cream for these babies.

And finally,  my first-ever attempt at wings, and this time I went with a sticky-crispy Asian version. I'd already made the blue cheese sauce to dip them in before settling on the version of wings to make, and they didn't necessarily match perfectly...but it was all still really delicious.

"Southwestern Egg Rolls," by Jackie on

Guidance on Egg Roll Assembly from "Southwestern Egg Rolls with Avocado Dipping Sauce," by Sic_Girl on

Helpful guidance for grilling chicken breasts came from: "How to Grill the Juiciest Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts," by Joshua Bousel of

"Sticky AND Crispy Asian Chicken Wings," by Nicky of Kitchen Sanctuary. Published 21 December 2017.

"Rich and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing," from Cook's Illustrated. Published May 1, 1999.

"Serious Potato Skins," by Sam Sifton of New York Time Cooking.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Meal No. 2012: Baby Back Ribs

Saturday a week ago was a Mookie-and-Kristen evening at the Roediger House, with the focus being another edition of our reading party routine. We spent a good bit of time up on the third floor with our books, while downstairs the dinner was a-cooking.

When I called the crew down to supper at around 8 that night, it was to plates of baby back ribs and our own tempting piles of macaroni and cheese casserole alongside.

When the Arctic blast of cold returned to Winston-Salem back on January 13, it sure sparked a fire desire on that chilly Saturday morning that turned out to be ill-advised: it was so windy and gusty that I kept getting smoke blow-back into the kitchen area. By late morning, I'd had to let the fire just die down. But I enjoyed it in the beginning!

Fire No. 40

"How to Make Great Ribs in the Oven," by Emma Christensen. From The Kitchn. [Published 01 July 2017]

"Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce" from recipe for "Indoor Pulled Pork," by Bryan Roof. In Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2010 (No. 102), p. 6-7.

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

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Meal No. 2011: Chicken Quesadillas

Back on Thursday, January 11, after a fine and full day doing a training with assistant principals here in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, I swung by the Sam's Club at that end of town and came home with a rotisserie chicken. It helped in putting together a pretty simple and pleasingly delicious supper of chicken quesadillas, with enough left over to be my lunch-from-home on Day Two with that same group of administrators.

Preparation and cooking based on "Quesadillas for a Crowd," by Morgan Bolling. In Cook's Country, August/September 2015, p. 18.

"Fajita Seasoning Mix," from Adapted from "Fajita Seasoning Mix Recipe" on

Friday, January 19, 2018

Meal No. 2010: Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

On the final morning of the holiday visit of friends Mark and Jeremy a week ago Wednesday, I was enjoying a day off and not enjoying how it was already cold and raw again outside. We decided a nice send-off would be some hot buttermilk pancakes, so I tried another new recipe for those and was reasonably pleased with the result.

"Best Tips for Making Pancakes: Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes," by Joanne on the Pioneer Woman website.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Meal No. 2009: World's Best Lasagna

On Monday, January 8th, my day working with a group of teachers had to be rushed so that we could wrap up by the freezing rain-induced early dismissal time of 12:30 pm. The following day, my work in Mount Airy City Schools was canceled because they had ice-covered roads remaining from that weather event. That left me a day at home when temps unexpectedly got up to 63°F, which allowed me to spend time outside in short sleeves doing a small bit of yard work. That included cleaning and resetting my firewood rack in anticipation of Wednesday's delivery of a fresh pickup truck load.

Our two-week cold snap caused me to blow through the rest of my firewood that I'd received in early 2014...and which I was glad to be rid of, because it wasn't of particularly good quality and definitely wasn't well-cut or well-seasoned. The new delivery, though, is of pretty good quality:

Then, that Tuesday evening, with five at the table, it seemed to be a good time to break out the house favorite from John Chandler, using his recipe that he dubs "World's Best Lasagna." We sure think it's the best, and it gets requested frequently and there's very nearly a whoop or a holler whenever people report to the kitchen for dinner and find this is what's on the plates.

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Meal No. 2008: Seasoned Whole Chicken

Monday night a week ago, it was six at the table after my first day back at work following the Christmas holidays. Included in the crew were my cousins Marilyn and Earl, and it was nice to be able to visit with them again. On the menu: rotisserie-style chicken in the Instant Pot with a really nice combination of spices and seasoning; classic Campbell's green bean casserole; and the Pioneer Woman's take on creamy mashed potatoes. It was a delightful evening and I think we really like how the pressure cooker handled the was terrific!

"How to Cook Instant Pot Whole Chicken - Rotisserie Style," by Sheena from

"Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning," by Judith Hanneman, The Midnight Baker.

"Campbell's Classic Green Bean Casserole," from Campbell's Kitchen. Recipe available online.

"Creamy Mashed Potatoes," from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. Published online 03 November 2007.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Meal No. 2007: Sausage Manicotti with Homemade Marinara

Back on January 7th, when it was my last night before going back to work after the holiday break, I was rather ambivalent about cooking dinner. But with friends Jeremy and Mark in from Virginia for a few days, I didn't want to abandon my hosting role entirely. With a quick adjustment to the intended menu to scale it down, and with high hopes that the guys would not feel short-changed by the meal, I decided to go with sausage-stuffed manicotti and homemade marinara...and, well, nothing else. Simple and plain, even though there was still effort in the background to throw it all together!

When I awoke early on that Sunday morning, we were in record-breaking territory with the low temperature: it was 5°F. So I kept a fire going just about the entire day:

Fire No. 39

"Sausage & Beef Manicotti with Homemade Marinara," from Celebrate the Seasons: Autumn Classics from Cuisine at Home. Issue No. 6, October/November 2015, p. 18.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Meal No. 2006: Grilled Porterhouse Steaks

As I was wrapping up my Christmas vacation Saturday a week ago, I'd come home from one of my grocery runs with a nice two-for-one sale on porterhouse steaks. I've got a fine deep fat fryer and love steak and french fries... I braved 17°F weather in order to grill 'em up to a nice well-seasoned medium rare. (Please note: this was not simply a barbaric reaction to having a vegetarian in the house the preceding evening.)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Meal No. 2005: Indoor Pulled Pork Barbecue

It was a delightful gathering of seven Friday night a week ago, including a lone vegetarian, so in addition to indoor pulled pork barbecue I tried to have an abundance of sides. That included blue cheese coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and a fresh batch of pimento cheese.

It seems the table also was somewhat glad that there remained some Scotch Chocolate Cake from the previous evening.

"Indoor Pulled Pork," by Bryan Roof. In Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2010 (No. 102), p. 6-7.

"Blue Cheese Coleslaw," from Ina Garten, from the Food Network website.

"Best Ever Potato Salad," by Michelle, who blogs at the [Published 06 June 2016]

"Best Ever Macaroni and Cheese," from Bob Warden. In Great Food Fast, Brandon, MS: Quail Ridge Press (2012), p. 122-123.

"South Carolina-Style Pimento Cheese [not pictured]." Recipe worked out by me, based on Sharon's Palmetto Pimento Cheese.