Category Archives: Recipe

Traeger Season

Traeger season. My favorite time of year. An entire meal cooked out on the deck either directly on the grill or in aluminum packets makes for quick easy clean-up. The scent of mesquite pellets wafts about the deck. I peel russet potatoes and cube them, spray Pam on a huge piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, spread out the cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and seal ‘er up. To make sure they’re crispy on the bottom, they go on the grill first. My favorite part is sitting in the sun snapping the fresh green beans. I add a little lemon juice, salt, and summer savory to this packet and put it on the grill after the potatoes have cooked about twenty minutes. Then last, but certainly not least, the rib eyes, bright red and perfectly marbled with delicious fat. Mmmm. I sprinkle both sides with Traeger Prime Rib Rub, the perfect steak seasoning (in my opinion). Then on the grill they go. I set the timer on the stove so I don’t get sidetracked and over cook them. Time has a way of getting away from me when I’m basking in the sun in my deck chair waiting for dinner.

Savory summer
Season of delightful foods
Sweet tranquility

_________________________________________

For Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub today, Bjorn is hungry and looking for recipes. He wanted us to write about time in the kitchen, but my thoughts immediately went to cooking outside on my Traeger pellet stove. I’ve had a Traeger for years and could never go back to grilling over charcoal or gas. There is just something about that mesquite or hickory smoke that makes the food taste so delicious!

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The Notebook

The small notebook languished
at the bottom of a dark drawer
its pages filled with
lists of vegetables, partial poems

Ingredients lists for salads and stews
long since cooked and eaten
but not necessarily forgotten

Poem bits inspired late at night
by verses careening through
the writer’s mind in wakefulness

Ideas for the next great
inspirational Christian bestseller
scribbled in haste at a stoplight

Prayers for loved ones
some long gone
others still in need of those
languishing prayers

_______________________________

The Tuesday Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today calls for writing a poem that includes one line from the poem Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye. I was going to wait until tomorrow to write this so it could be my Lenten poem for tomorrow, but after reading Nye’s poem I couldn’t get this poem out of my head. I chose the line “lists of vegetables, partial poems.” So here it is, an extra for today.

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Almond Jam Thumbprints

Back in 2011 I took the WordPress Post-a-day challenge. To accomplish my goal of posting every day for a full year I developed several theme days, one of which was Recipe Friday. Since then I’ve posted a few recipes, but it’s been quite a while.

Last year I had to change my diet to a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, something I should have done a long time ago. That has required me to find or develop recipes that I like, but that my family can and will also eat. At first it was very difficult, but over the past year I’ve embraced the gluten-free, dairy-free eating habit.

I decided I wanted to share some of the recipes I’ve found, developed, or modified from one of my old recipes. To kick it off, I’m sharing a recipe I found online for Almond Horns, but that I’ve rewritten to include the important directions that the recipe I found left out and I had to figure out on my own. I’ve decided I’m entitled to take credit for this one even though I started with someone else’s recipe. These have been a big hit everywhere I’ve taken them, even with people who happily eat both gluten and dairy.

Almond Jam Thumbprints

Ingredients:

2 egg whites
1 8-oz can almond paste (I use Solo brand)
1/3 cup finely ground almonds or hazelnuts
1 cup sugar
1-1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1/3 cup jam (any flavor)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat egg whites to almost soft peaks. Slice almond paste into thin slices. Add almond paste, ground almonds or hazelnuts, and sugar. Beat until well blended with a hand mixer. (I suppose you could make this in a food processor, but I don’t have one so I used the awesome hand mixer my husband got me for Christmas). The dough will be sticky. Drop by teaspoonfuls into bowl of sliced almonds and coat with slices. Place cookies an inch apart on a parchment paper or Silpat lined cookie sheet and press down slightly.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then using the tip of a teaspoon, press a small depression in the middle of each cookie and fill with a dollop of jam. Continue baking for another 5–7 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (Resist the urge to eat one before cooling because the jam will be very hot! Trust me, I’ve tried it.)

These are also delicious without the jam. Just bake for 25 minutes. I’ve also made these with melted German chocolate bakers chocolate drizzled on top.

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Experiencing Texas Skillet – Blind Poetry Poem

The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting at the Bar is “The Blind Poet,” which means we were to write a poem using any or all of the senses except sight. I immediately thought of food and all the smells, sounds, and tastes that go with it.

Experiencing Texas Skillet

The aroma of hamburger frying
with onion, a little sweet pepper.
I hear his key in the lock, the creaky hinge
and he says, “It smells like heaven.”

The news drones on from the living room
The electric can opener grinds,
opening beans, tomatoes, corn
Ingredients for our favorite dish

“Dinner’s ready!” Plates clink,
Texas Skillet Dinner is piled high
topped with cheese, sour cream,
and for dairy-free me, avocado

Did I mention chili powder,
chipotle, and cumin to taste
Spicy taste – why it’s “Texas”
with crunchy corn chips on the side

“Come Lord Jesus, be our guest,
and let this Texas Skillet Dinner
to us be blessed,” we say in unison
Then we eat, and it’s heaven.

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Orzo Pasta Salad for Recipe Friday

It has been just over a year since I posted my last recipe. Early last year I had to give up dairy and have really been trying to avoid gluten as well. The combination has been very challenging and has left me not really feeling like posting recipes. My focus has been on modifying my old favorites to make them dairy free.

But this past weekend we had a party with all my family over and I made a gluten-free pasta salad that was a huge hit, even with the people who don’t care about eating gluten-free. I told my nieces that I would post the recipe and send them the link. So Recipe Friday—with a new focus on dairy-free and gluten-free—is back.

Gluten-Free Orzo Pasta Salad

Ingredients

2 cups Pappardelles Gluten-Free Italian Pesto Blend Orzo
1 cup fresh peas
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
¾ to 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
¾ to 1 cup shredded carrots
½ to ¾ cup Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 tsp summer savory
Salt

Directions

Boil pasta for 14 minutes. Strain and rinse in cold water. Refrigerate to cool.

Shell 1 lb of fresh shelling peas to yield approximately 1 cup peas. Rinse and make sure all stems are removed. Drain artichoke heart quarters and cut into 3 or 4 pieces each. Cut sun-dried tomatoes and shredded carrots into small pieces. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill and serve.

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Jorge’s Party Salsa for Recipe Friday

Last weekend we were camping with a bunch of family, some of whom just came out for the day and others who stayed the night at the campground.

On Saturday night I was on for making my Texas Skillet Dinner for everyone and we bought enough ingredients for a triple batch. That’s a lot of skillet dinner!

So when Jorge and Carrie showed up with a huge bowl of salsa in the early afternoon I was worried no one would be hungry for dinner. I was reminded by my sister-in-law that they weren’t eating because they were hungry but because there was food. She was right. Even though all the salsa was eaten, my triple batch of skillet dinner was also pretty much gone by the end of dinner.

The best part is that I got the salsa recipe from Jorge along with his permission to post it here for you all. This was some of the most delicious chunky salsa I’ve ever eaten. So here it is (with the name I came up with).

Jorge’s Party Salsa

Ingredients:

8 large avocados
10 medium tomatoes
1 red onion
1 sweet pepper (optional)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
5 jalapeño peppers, seeded
4 limes
Salt and cumin to taste

Directions:

Finely chop onion, sweet pepper, cilantro, and jalapeño peppers. Place in a 6 quart bowl. Squeeze juice from limes into the bowl. Chop tomatoes. Add chopped tomatoes without all the juice to the other ingredients. Chop avocados and add to other ingredients. Sprinkle salt and cumin to taste. Stir all ingredients lightly to combine. Serve with corn chips.

Tip for avocados: To cut avocados into chunks, slice all the way around to divide avocado in half and pull apart. Insert the tip of the knife in the center of the pit and pull it out. Score each avocado half down to the skin in both directions, then run knife between the edge of the skin and the flesh to remove the chunks. By cutting them this way you avoid getting avocado mush all over the cutting board.

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Three Beans Baked for Recipe Friday

Last Sunday we had an awesome picnic at church, which was coupled with an opportunity to sign up for a group service project at one of our local homeless and food shelters. Since it’s a Lutheran church it was, of course, a potluck picnic. I know when going to a potluck that I should plan on being able to try a bunch of different things brought by everyone else, but I’m not very good at that kind of surprise. I like to bring something to a potluck that I know will be sufficient for my dinner even if I don’t find anything else there that I like. (That never really happens, mind you, but I’m always afraid it will.)

For this particular potluck I decided to bring baked beans, but I didn’t want them to be just ordinary baked beans. This is the recipe I came up with, and based on how quickly they disappeared they were a definite hit and I’ll be making them again.

Three Beans Baked

Ingredients:

1 28 oz can Bush’s Honey Baked Beans
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can pinto beans
3 slices pre-cooked bacon
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup ketchup
1-2 tsps Aardvark Habanero hot sauce

Directions:

Pour Bush’s baked beans into a 9 inch square baking dish. Rinse black beans and pinto beans, and add to baked beans, stirring to combine. Cut bacon into small pieces and add to beans. Add brown sugar, ketchup, and hot sauce. Stir to combine.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes at 350° oven. Serve hot.

To transport to a picnic, cover with aluminum foil (heavy-duty or double thickness). Wrap in a dish towel and place in a cloth carrying bag.

Note about bacon: We buy Hormel pre-cooked bacon from Costco, the kind you can microwave. This is what I used and it works better than uncooked bacon because you don’t have to worry about it being done enough in the beans. You could also pre-cook regular bacon yourself.

Note about hot sauce: Aardvark is a local Portland company, but the link above will take you to a web site where you can buy it online. We actually just got a bottle of this hot sauce given to us by the grocery clerk at our local Whole Foods as a sample. I suppose any Habanero or other hot sauce would work just as well (but don’t tell the Aardvark I said that).

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Grilled Corn on the Cob for Recipe Friday

It’s finally corn on the cob season. It’s early in the season, but there is corn on the cob available nonetheless. I bought some at the vegetable stand that I pass on the way home from church.

For several years I’ve talked about grilling corn on the cob on my Traeger, but we have always ended up deciding just to boil it instead. “We know it’s good boiled,” we’d always say. But this week I decided it was time to finally try grilling it. It turned out pretty good, and I bet it will be even better later in the year when the corn is sweeter.

I forgot to take pictures, but wanted to share the recipe anyway.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

Corn on the cob
Olive oil or melted butter
Salt

Directions:

Peel husks of the corn down, leaving it attached at the bottom of the cob. Remove all the corn silk and rinse the ears. Rub each ear of corn with olive oil or melted butter, and sprinkle with salt. Pull the husks back up over the corn cobs. Wrap the cobs in heavy aluminum foil, adding ¼ to ½ cup of water to the packet. Place packet on the Traeger (or other grill) at 350° and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from grill, open packet, and carefully remove husks from hot corn cobs. I actually used kitchen scissors to cut the husks away.

Serve with additional butter, if desired. Enjoy with your other favorite grilled items.

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Taco Burgers for Recipe Friday

The other night I was planning to make tacos for dinner, but it was such a beautiful night and was hot in the kitchen so I didn’t want to cook in the kitchen. Yet I had a hankering for tacos. On my way driving home I had this idea for Taco Burgers. This recipe allowed me to use up the hamburger buns I already had and also satisfy my taco craving. So I stopped at the store for an avocado, cheese, and some fresh hamburger (because you can’t make hamburger patties with previously frozen burger – they will fall apart).

Of course, now I still have the taco shells that I bought over the weekend in the cupboard so we’ll have to have tacos soon, but these Taco Burgers were so good we will definitely be having them again.

We made these on the Traeger, but you could make them on any barbecue grill. Each of us assembled our burgers a bit differently, so I’ve included several pictures below. Not one of us complained – because these were delicious!

Taco Burgers
Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 pouch Frontera Skillet Sauce
2 large sweet peppers
1 medium sweet onion
chipotle pepper seasoning
olive oil
1 avocado
Pace Picante salsa
cheese slices (pepper jack or provolone)
hamburger buns

Directions:

Pre-heat Traeger (or other grill) to 350°. Slice sweet peppers into thin strips. Slice onion into thin strips. Spray a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum with non-stick spray. Place pepper and onion slices in the middle of the aluminum, sprinkle with chipotle pepper seasoning, and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Close up aluminum packet and place on the grill.

Mix together ground beef and Frontera Taco Skillet Sauce. Divide meat into desired number of patties (I made 5) and press into hamburger shape.

Place on the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Flip burgers and cook for 10 minutes more or until desired doneness.

Slice avocado. Assemble burgers as either closed sandwiches or open-faced.

My son doesn’t like peppers, onions, and avocados, so he assembled his as closed sandwiches (yes, he had 2) with the burger, pepper jack cheese on one and provolone on the other, Miracle Whip, ketchup, and barbecue sauce.

My husband assembled one closed sandwich and one open-faced with the burger, pepper jack cheese on one and provolone on the other, Miracle Whip, avocado slices, cooked peppers and onions, and salsa.

I assembled mine open-faced with the burger, avocado, cooked peppers and onions, and salsa — no cheese, of course, but it didn’t need it.

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Red Beans and Rice for Recipe Friday

Driving home from work the other night I was thinking about what I was going to make it to dinner. I knew we were going to have leftover chicken drumsticks and pork chops that we’d made on the Traeger earlier in the week. But what to have with it?

Then an idea came to me: red beans and rice. I know you can buy rice mixes for red beans and rice, but I have discovered that rice mixes tend to have milk in them and the red beans tend to be dried and not very many of them.

So this is the recipe I came up with when I got home. It turned out pretty good and was a nice complement to the leftovers.

Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups long grain white rice
1 tsp olive oil
2 ½ cups water
¼ cup chopped onion
1 can kidney beans
1 tsp dried chipotle pepper
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Rinse and drain beans. Put all ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Taste test to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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