Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Best Brown Ale

Clearly, I am a man who knows what he likes. The seasonal and limited availability of Bell's Best Brown Ale is one of the major contributing factors to my desire to have a double backbar cooler in the bar area on the third floor:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Meal No. 2045: Pioneer Woman Meatloaf

With four of us on this fine February Tuesday evening, it was nice to be able to bring back the meatloaf recipe from Ree Drummond, along with company mashed potatoes and the traditional Campbell's green bean casserole. It's always such a delicious feast, and I expect I'll be glad for the leftovers when I'm at an elementary school in Henderson tomorrow.

"My Favorite Meatloaf," from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. Posted 20 September 2010.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

Meal No. 2044: Fettuccine with Cajun Alfredo Sauce

Tonight I brought back a blast from the past, a recipe first made not by me but for me by two of my former grad students from Wake Forest University. In the bowls this evening was fettuccine with a Cajun alfredo sauce, based on a recipe from The Grit Restaurant cookbook. I thought it was pretty darned good for a simple meal.

"Spinach Fettuccine with Cajun Alfredo Sauce," from The Grit Restaurant Vegetarian Cookbook, by Jessica Greene and Ted Hafer. Athens, GA: Hill Street Press (2001), p. 65.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Meal No. 2043: Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup

Sunday morning in downtown Winston-Salem: the warm spell of this past week was on its last legs, and Sumner and I enjoyed a good bit of time outside in the early morning until the heavy rain-laden clouds moved in around 8 am. With temps in the mid-60s and a light breeze, it was great to have that outside time.

But then the rains came and turned it into an inside day. Some of us gathered at the multiplex just after midday to catch the much-acclaimed new Marvel film, The Black Panther, and it was excellent.

Then, for dinner tonight, it was a cool grey weather kind of meal: ultimate cream of tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches.

"Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup," from Cook's Illustrated, November 1999. Recipe can also be found online at

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Meal No. 2042: Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

Amy and Gern were here this evening, and they're always game for my kitchen experiments. Dinner included both a new recipe, for sesame chicken, and also a new appetizer attempt: Thai cheese rolls with duck sauce.

The cheese rolls need to make a future appearance; the sesame chicken definitely does not.

I would add that, while yesterday's high temperature of 77°F was not a record-breaker for the date, it was unbelievably awesome to sit out at the bistro table on the front porch yesterday evening, enjoying a beer and temps that were still at 71°F. People were out and about like it was an early summer night and the mood was just really right.

"Sesame Chicken for Slow Cooker," by Boadecea. In AllRecipes Magazine, September/October 2017, p. 34.

"Thai Cheese Rolls," a recipe worked out by me.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Meal No. 2041: Glazed Grilled Pork Chops

With temperatures this week over 20 degrees warmer than normal, it sure made grilling sound good tonight. I picked up a couple of fine-looking pork chops and brined them to impart flavor and tenderness. They grilled up perfectly. Alongside I had roasted garlic asparagus and roasted sweet potato rounds, which were a new thing and which turned out pretty good as well.

The high and the low this past Wednesday were both records....the low because it was the highest low temp recorded on February 21.

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

Helpful guidance on Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds from "Roasted Sweet Potato Fries or Rounds" by Marg CaymanDesigns on

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

The post-Christmas period this winter has seen a marked absence of sweets, desserts, and confections coming out of the Roediger House kitchen. Not sure when that drought is going to end, but there was a hopeful blip this past weekend when I did manage to make a batch of rich, creamy Vietnamese coffee ice cream. That is one glorious concoction that is always welcomed warmly when it shows up.

"Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream," by David Lebovitz. In The Perfect Scoop. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press (2007), p. 35.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Meal No. 2040: Beef Macaroni Casserole

When Sunday night rolled around, I was feeling like having a good cheesy hearty casserole, and I went with a beefy macaroni one that's very much a cousin to the Roediger House favorite known as Pipetizer Casserole. Just a plate of this was enough, although I did also manage to have dessert to follow it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Meal No. 2039: Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

There were quite a few nice things about the start of the day this past Sunday. Near the top of the list: the gorgeous golden yellow of newly-emerging crocus that are a most welcome harbinger of the advent of spring:

And very close on their heels comes the quickly-stretching leaves of fresh spring daffodils:

The sun had returned following the cold mizzly drear of Saturday. At lunchtime, I put on the table the downhome favorite of biscuits and sausage gravy, tasty and hot from the cast iron skillet:

Monday, February 19, 2018

Meal No. 2038: Honey Mustard Chicken

On Saturday night, when I prepared a full meal for the first time in a week, and while it was cold and dreary and rainy outside, I settled on honey mustard chicken thighs with rice-vermicelli mix and hot buttered corn.

"Honey Mustard Chicken," by Elise Bauer of

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Meal No. 2037: Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Toast

Pictured above you'll see the two slices of toast that I ate at the front end of my day Thursday. It was the first thing I'd eaten since last Sunday night's beef chili, thanks to a bout with the nasty Flu A virus that's been kicking butt all winter...and killing quite a few people, at that. Mine was strictly respiratory but it did completely diminish my appetite. All I wanted to do was sleep. I lost four days of work that I hope I can reschedule.

Speaking of toast, it was cinnamon toast that sounded good Saturday morning as my appetite was beginning to resurge. For the second time, I made a batch based on the Pioneer Woman's take, which has easily surpassed the way I've been making cinnamon toast for four decades.

"Cinnamon Toast the Right Way," by Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. Published 26 April 2010.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Meal No. 2036: Simple Beef Chili

I'm going to say that, because it's winter, it's all right that I've now made chili three times within about a six week period. It sure was tasty and filling, along with golden sweet cornbread, this past Sunday night.

This time, I made the cornbread in the cast iron skillet for a change, and while it was still incredibly moist, I also had hoped to get more of a nice buttery crusty crunch on the bottom and sides. Perhaps it needed to go a little longer in the oven...

It was a great meal for cold weather, although it was actually a very weird non-wintry Sunday here in Winston, and we reached a high of 68°F that afternoon.

"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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Meal No. 2035: Breakfast for Dinner

Sometimes, as I've noted, the sell-by date on items I've stocked up on will dictate the menu on a given night. That happened last Saturday when some delicious sausage patties were needing to be cooked, so on a dreary rainy evening it was a massive breakfast spread that filled the Boonton melamine platters on the kitchen table.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Meal No. 2034: Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

With three at the table this past Saturday night, it seemed time to return to a recipe I haven't pulled out since last May: braised chicken with Brussels sprouts and shallots. This is always a terrific comforting meal that just plays nicely with one's palate.

"Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts," in Everyday Food, Issue 97, November 2012, p. 22.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Meal No. 2033: Tenderloin Tips with Mushrooms and Herbs

There was a lot of great beef left from trimming Wednesday night's beef tenderloin, and I was anxious to employ it right into the next night's meal with a new recipe. Above is pictured tenderloin tips with mushrooms and herbs, over egg noodles, that served as dinner last Thursday night. It's a keeper.

"Tenderloin Tips with Mushroom and Herbs," by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick of Nourish. Published in the Washington Post and other newspapers. [09 February 2011]

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meal No. 2032: Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

If there's a special on beef tenderloin at the Harris Teeter, I'm likely to scoop one up and to plan a big gathering at which we might enjoy it. Hence, this past Wednesday evening's dinner for six together with another edition of the Roediger House reading party. On our plates at about 8 o'clock: slow-roasted beef tenderloin with creamy horseradish sauce, layered green bean casserole, and slow-cooker scalloped potatoes.  Goodness gracious, what a feast, and it was pretty delicious!

"Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin," from J. Kenji López-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of

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

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

"Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes," by Kelly Price. In Cook's Country, January 2011, p. 6.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Meal No. 2031: Copycat Chic-Fil-A Sandwiches

Tuesday was the second night in a row that I depended on a tasty recipe from Hilah Johnson to guide my meal prep, and it was a return to copycat versions of a standard Chic-Fil-A sandwich. Just like with the previous night's tacos, two is too many but I refused to be deterred. Man-o-man, these are awfully good!

"Chic-Fil-A Copycat Sandwich," by Hilah Johnson. From Hilah Cooking.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Meal No. 2030: Tahlequah Tacos and Navajo Frybread

Every once in a while, tacos sound good but then even more rarely the extra step of making Navajo frybread to serve them on sounds even better. That's what I challenged myself to do this past Monday night, and boy-howdy were they ever delicious. (Two is too many but one should set goals that are ambitious, no?)

"Indian Frybread and Indian Tacos" and "Crispy Beef Tacos," by Hilah Johnson. From

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Meal No. 2029: Filet Mignon with Pan Sauce

On a chilly Sunday night before this week got started, I went with an indulgent dinner plan: filet mignon with a mushroom-shallot-brandy cream sauce, along with homemade creamy mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus with garlic. Woo-whee, it was a giddy belly-stretcher!

"Steak Diane," from Cuisine at Home, Issue No. 127 (January/February 2018), p. 20-21.

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

Meal No. 2028: French Toast

Winston-Salem got hit with freezing rain for much for the morning this past Sunday, so it was a fine day for a fire:

FIre No.42

...and for French toast:

While temps finally got above freezing mid-day, it sure was nice to let the fire continue right on through suppertime and up to bedtime:

"French Toast," from King Arthur Flour online.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Meal No. 2027: Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken and Rice

I came into the kitchen this past Saturday night without a plan, and since it was already after 7 pm, I figured this might be a job for the Instant Pot. A quick review of the contents of the fridge and a glance at the table of contents in Great Food Fast led me to a comforting cheesy casserole-y result: cheesy chicken and broccoli and rice. Not quite the masterful concoction that I'm proud of sort of creating from a mix of recipe ideas, but I wasn't planning to invest the same amount of time that the regular version normally takes.

"Cheesy Chicken and Rice," from Bob Warden. In Great Food Fast, Brandon, MS: Quail Ridge Press (2012), p. 80-81.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Meal No. 2026: Glorious Beef & Mushroom Stir Fry

When Amy came over to watch Get Out this past Friday night, it was a good opportunity to pull out the wok and whip up glorious beef and mushroom stirfry. A one-bowl meal was easy to take upstairs so we could get the movie underway!

"Glorious Beef with Mushrooms," in Wok Fast by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison. Ten Speed Press, 2002, p. 87 (recipe) and p. 26-27 (marinade and sauce).

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Meal No. 2025: Weeknight Rump Roast

Last Tuesday night was a gathering of six for hanging out and for dinner. I tried a new roast beef recipe, since I seldom make roast beef, and I'm reminded of why I don't often make roast beef. But it was decent enough, with homemade gravy and mashed potatoes and squash casserole.

There was a dusting of snow the previous night, enough to create travel hazards and slick roads and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools were on a 2-hour delay. My work that day had to be canceled so I had more time to invest in shopping and putting this meal together.

It also means I had time to make a dessert: classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It was really amazing.

"Round Roast Beef Bottom Perfection," by Tammy Kendall. From [Published 19 May 2013]

"Squash Casserole," recipe from Margaret Holmes southern canned vegetables.

"Classic Yellow Cake," by Robyn Stone. Found online at

"Super-Simple Chocolate Frosting," from King Arthur Flour. Posted 01/01/2010.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Meal No. 2024: Seasoned Whole Chicken

Over the last few weeks, as I've begun finally experimenting with my Instant Pot, I've tried out a number of new dishes. My first repeat of a main dish occurred this past Monday night, when I put a seasoned whole chicken into the multi-cooker, well-seasoned with a rotisserie-style spice, and out of the contraption came a juicy flavorful and perfectly cooked bird. Southern creamed corn and buttermilk biscuits added to the joy of the plate, as did a healthy dollop of not-healthy Alabama Great White sauce.

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

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

"Alabama Great White Sauce" (p. 362), in Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

"Southern Creamed Corn," by Patrick and Gina Neely of the Food Network.

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

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Meal No. 2023: Chicken Fajita Pasta

Last Sunday night, at the end of a nice relaxing weekend, I figured I'd try a new recipe: chicken fajita pasta. I learned the hard way this first time that it'd be a lot smarter to use my non-stick skillet, but overall it was a decent dinner before starting up a new work week. Pretty darned spicy, though.

"Chicken Fajita Pasta," from Amanda of the Kevin and Amanda Blog. [Published 01 April 2015]

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Meal No. 2022: Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Rather than reach again for cereal or leftovers when Sunday lunchtime rolled around, I thought I'd try instead to work up some kitchen magic. And magical it was: the best buttermilk pancakes I think I've ever made.

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

Friday, February 2, 2018

Bake-Sale Lemon Bars

January proved to be a pretty slack time for me on the desserts and goodies front. I made Scotch chocolate cake at the front end of the month and then nothing until very near the end: on the final Saturday night before we welcomed the beginning of February, I served up a new recipe for lemon bars. And they were darned good, believe you me!

"Bake-Sale Lemon Bars," by Mildred Keller (Rockford, IL). Published in Taste of Home,  June/July 1996, p. 37.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Meal No. 2021: Pipetizer Casserole

Last Saturday night it was a full table of six folks, for a movie night featuring Stephen King's It, and with a chill and some rain in the air and a hope to be able to watch as much of the movie as possible, I made our comforting cheesy Pipetizer casserole. It hadn't shown up here since last June, so it was long overdue.

"Pipetizer Casserole" is an adaptation of "Tailgate Casserole," from The Big Book of Casseroles, by Maryana Vollstedt. San Francisco: Chronicle Books (2000), p. 120.