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Main Dishes

BBQ Marinade

We made BBQ for Easter this year–beef from an all organic, no hormones, no antibiotic ranch. We’ve tried a few times to make BBQ, but I’ve been tweaking the recipe. I think I finally got it. Here’s the marinade I used–soaking ribs and brisket for about 24 hours before smoking:

1 cup soy sauce
2 cups water
2 heaping tablespoons sage (I had dried some of my own from the garden)
celery leaves (probably 6 or so stalks of leaves–not celery. I actually grew celery leaves and had some fresh so in they went.)
6 large cloves of fresh minced garlic
6 bay leaves
4 tablespoons brown sugar
Juice from one lime squeezed into the marinade. I then also put the lime rinds into the marinade to soak the entire time.

We turned the meat several times during the day. When it was time to smoke the meat, we made aluminum foil pouches (mostly open on top) and put each piece of meat into the smoker. We used mesquite wood chips and regular charcoal. We smoked the meat for just over 6 hours. Then, we carefully removed the pouches in order to save the meat juices. The juices and meat went into an large roaster pan. We cooked the meat in the juice covered at 325 degrees for one hour and then another hour at 300. Delicious. The sage and bay leaves gave the meat a wonderful aroma–and flavor. The juices were smokey and carmelized. Wonderful. Best BBQ we’ve ever made.

Posted: April 25, 2011
Filed in All-American

Bear Meat Recipe

I’m putting these suggestions out here because I keep getting visitors based on searches for bear meat recipes. My mother has cooked bear meat and I’ve cooked lots of other game meat. We recommend the following:

Cook the meat in a pressure cooker (or an instant pot) with a cup and a half of water and a half tsp of salt. (The length of time depends on the size of the pressure cooker and the meat–your pressure cooker should give some guidelines.) In general a two-three pound roast takes an hour to an hour and a half.

The pressure cooker method is good because it will keep the meat tender and not allow it to dry out. You can use beef or chicken broth in place of the water and salt.

You can also cook bear meat in a crockpot–this will take much longer, more in the neighborhood of 6 to 8 hours.

If you are worried about bear meat being “gamey” soak the meat overnight in milk or buttermilk, although mom says bear meat is quite mild in flavor and not fatty. You can also cook the bear roast for a few hours in the crockpot and then dump off the liquid and start with fresh liquid in the crockpot. This cooks off a lot of the gamey flavor. You can do this with the pressure cooker method too (and it’s a good idea to discard the broth if you don’t change it out at least once as it can be strong and/or fatty.)

If you want to try herbs in the mix, I’d recommend sage with thyme. If you aren’t partial to those two, try rosemary, but remember it can be strong so go easy with it. In both cases a few onions will also be a nice addition. If you are looking for wild game recipes in general, you might try this book: The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Game Because if you have a hunter in the family, you’re going to need more than one recipe!

Once the meat is cooked, you can serve it a variety of ways–if it is strong in taste, consider making it into a curry. If it is mild, use it in stew or chile. You can probably use the meat in burritos as well–but always pre-cook the bear roast before putting the beans and chiles into the mix. This will allow you to determine if the meat is tender enough and mild enough for your dish.

For non-fatty cuts of meat, you might try jerky.

For ground bear meat, I recommend a nice pot of chile.

If you like zany, fictional adventures that involve food, mysteries and potential romance, you might like the novel:
Executive Lunch.
You will definitely want to check out:

eclair_maria_schneider_avatarOne Good Eclair

Beef Barley Soup

In crockpot combine:

Two beef bones and beef stew cuts (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound of meat) The bones are critical in getting enough flavor in the soup. If you leave them out, make sure you use beef stock in place of any of the water.

4 diced celery stalks with leaves
1 diced potato
1/2 diced large onion
1 can tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup sliced green beans
3/4 cup barley or a mix of wild rice and barley
8 cups of stock/water (I use two cans of store beef stock and three cups of water. At the end, I add one more can of chicken stock to blend all the flavors. The canned stock contains a lot of salt, so no additional salt is required.)
1 cup diced carrots

Cook on high in crockpot, covered for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat falls into tender pieces. Add chicken or beef stock as it cooks if more liquid is needed. The barley/rice will soak up the liquid so check it several times. About two hours before you wish to eat, add 1 tablespoon of minced rosemary leaves (optional.)

At the end, remove the bones. Cut any large pieces of meat. Serve with toasted, buttered fresh bread.

Posted: November 6, 2007
Filed in All-American

Beef Fajitas with Sides

This recipe is derived from several attempts at fajitas. I believe that the method of cooking is probably as important as the marinade. Use a flank steak—tenderized or not. Flank steak is generally a little more expensive than skirt steak, but it is miles better.


¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ tsp sugar
2 dashes of liquid smoke flavoring
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp black pepper

Place 1 to 1 and ½ pounds of fajita meat inside a bowl and cover with marinade. Store covered in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours, turning the meat once or twice.

When it is time to cook the meal, prepare an iron skillet by melting a tablespoon of butter and stir-fry at least one sliced onion. You can add peppers too if you like them. These should cook down in the skillet for about twenty minutes.

Grill the steak, but make sure you save the marinade.

After the meat is done, remove the onions from the iron skillet and set aside. Slice the meat across the grain into nice fajita strips. Heat the iron skillet very hot. Put the fajita strips in the skillet with half the marinade. Let it sizzle for a few moments, add half the onions, add half the remaining marinade, add the rest of the onions and marinade and let it sizzle. Most of the marinade should be soaked up when this dish is done. Serve with refried beans, salsa, sour cream and cheese.


I love fresh salsa!

Refried Beans

Home made refried beans like grandma used to make!

Spanish Rice
Spanish Rice

Posted: July 19, 2006
Filed in Mexican Dishes

Beef Jerky

This recipe is for one pound of beef, sliced 1/4 inch thick. Obviously this recipe works for venison too!


1/4 tablespoon meat tenderizer
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup water
2 finely minced garlic cloves
1/4 tablespoon black pepper
1/4 cup liquid hickory smoke
1/4 cup worcestersire

Marinate the meat in a large sealed plastic bag overnight. Make sure the meat is properly coated (turn and mix a few times).

Dry for 24 hours at 140 degrees in a dehydrator. If using an oven, use a drip pan underneath. Hang strips from topmost rack. Do not allow pieces of meat to touch one another or fold over such that the two ends are touching. If you want the jerky strips to look their best, fold and use a weak clamp at one end of the strip of meat to avoid a large fold in the middle of each piece. Dry at 140 degrees for 24 hours.

When the jerky is done, use a 5% vinegar spray on both sides and allow to air dry. This keeps mold from growing for longer term storage. You can also freeze the jerky, but when you take it out of the freezer, you must thaw flat on paper towels to avoid moisture accumulation.

Posted: August 28, 2006
Filed in All-American

Breakfast Burritos

Sausage or Bacon
I generally cook sausage ahead of time (Jimmy Dean Hot or Sage) and keep it in the freezer. For burritos for two you’ll need about 1/3 cup of cooked sausage or 1 cooked and chopped strip of bacon.

Small Potato:

You’ll need about 1 cup of diced, cooked potato. The fastest cooking method is microwave. Stick a small raw potato several times with a fork (this keeps the potato from exploding).
Cook in the microwave for 3 minutes on high.
Turn the potato over and cook for another 2 minutes. Test doneness with fork. If soft, remove and dice. If not quite ready, microwave for another minute and test. Repeat until the potato is soft. Dice.


In a non-stick skillet reheat the frozen sausage (or cook the bacon, dice and drain extra grease from pan).

For fluffiest eggs, scramble two eggs in a bowl with 2 tsp of water.

Add the two scrambled eggs and the diced potato to the skillet. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until the eggs are done. Because of the meat, you likely won’t need salt or pepper.

Warm precooked flour tortillas or using another griddle type pan, prepare two uncooked tortillas. We use pre-formed, but not cooked tortillas. These are sold here at Wal-Mart in the bread section and also at other grocery stores. Because you basically “grill” them yourself, they are very fresh.

Line the tortillas with the burrito mix, sprinkle shredded cheese and flavor with a spoonful or two of fresh salsa!

Posted: October 14, 2006
Filed in Mexican Dishes

Caesar Salad – Carrabba’s

I’m reposting this recipe because so many people ask me for it.

I fell in love with Carrabba’s Caesar salad the first time I tried it. Luckily, the owners of the restaurant published a cookbook with the recipe:

savingCiao Y’All by Damian Mandola and Johnny Carrabba

savingHere’s another Carrabba’s Cookbook–paperback. or in ebook form: Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Recipes from Around Our Family Table

If you want the exact recipe, I’d advise you to get the book. I tried the recipe, but even with perfection, I had to have my own additions/subtractions, tweaking here and there until the dressing I made was distinctly my own. That said, I certainly do recommended the recipe in the cookbook!

One other note: I keep getting questions by people who want to make caesar dressing without anchovies–try anchovy paste and/or worcestershire sauce as a substitute, but keep in mind anchovy is the heart of caesar salad dressing.

Here’s my version of Caesar Salad Dressing:

Open and drain 1 can (2 oz) of anchovies.

Mince 4 medium or 2 large cloves of garlic and put in bottom of blender with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Blend on low speed (you won’t get much blending at this stage).

Add to blender:
1 scant tablespoons capers (optional)
8-10 anchovies (1 can) –or 1 1/2 tablespoons anchovy paste
Blend on low speed until completely mixed.

1 and 1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp sugar
Blend again on low speed.

3 egg yolks with a little of the egg whites (or two very large egg yolks)
Blend on low speed until everything is creamy and well-mixed.

After everything has mixed well, continue blending on slowest speed and drizzle slowly into the blender:

1 1/4 cups olive oil–more or less. Stop adding when it becomes too thick for the blender. (I substitute in Walnut Oil because I have dry eye and Walnut Oil is highest in Omega 3 oils.)
Adding it slowly allows the mixture to “cream.”

When everything is well blended:
Add 8-9 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice from 1/2 medium lemon


Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated (not packed) romano or asiago cheese and blend again.

For the salad, tear romaine lettuce and slice fresh mushrooms. Toss. Use about 2 tablespoons of the salad dressing per salad serving. Serve with extra romano, parmesan or asiago cheese on top!

If you like zany, fictional adventures that involve food, mysteries and potential romance, you might like the novel:
Executive Lunch.
You will definitely want to check out:

eclair_maria_schneider_avatarOne Good Eclair

Some alternate spellings for search engines: Carabas, Carrabas, Carraba, Carabbas, cesaer, ceasar, cesare, cesear

Chicken Casserole with Green Chiles

This recipe is actually derived from the standard “tuna casserole” that you probably ate as a child. I never loved tuna so I started changing it and this is the result.

Note about Green Chile: I get mine straight from New Mexico, but that won’t be possible for everyone. You can find canned green chiles in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores. You can also buy it fresh and roast it yourself. Roasting should be done on an outside grill. Once roasted, chiles must be peeled and eaten or frozen. If you are roasting it yourself, roast on low heat on an outside grill, turning occasionally until the skins are blackened. Cool, peel and chop—you might want to use protective gloves. Chile oils will soak through your skin and can cause severe irritation and burning. If you wear contacts, DO NOT try removing your contacts after peeling hot chilies. Trust me on this.

Discard the peelings. Depending on how hot the chilies are, you may want to remove the seeds. For this casserole, I recommend removing the seeds. If the chiles are extremely hot and you intend to freeze them, remove the seeds before freezing. Chiles freeze very well in plastic bags, but the seeds become hard and rubbery and you’ll have to remove them when you thaw the frozen chiles. I travel to New Mexico at least once a year and obtain a hefty supply of these to get me through the year.


Boil 12 oz of dried pasta

Mix in bowl:

4 oz cream cheese
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can of chicken breast meat (you can substitute grilled chicken of course)
Approximately 3 chopped green chiles (you can leave this out if you can’t find them, but they are yummy!)

Microwave the bowl of cheese and other stuff for one minute at a time, stirring between heating for a total heating time of about 3 minutes. Add the rinsed hot pasta and stir.

That’s it. It’s a simple meal and I think it is a vast improvement on tuna casserole.

Posted: July 19, 2006
Filed in Mexican Dishes

Chicken or Pork Katsu

Katsu is a Japanese deep-fried cutlet. I make mine more like stir-fry, but I do use “Panko Flakes” which are Japanese style bread crumbs. These crumbs are very light and flaky, but larger flakes than store-bought American crumbs. They are more like crackers than bread.

Katsu is served over steamed white rice.

The secret to good katsu is two-fold:

  • Milenese cut meat or chicken breasts pounded thin
  • Katsu sauce

Katsu sauce is a vegetable and fruit sauce made from sugar, vinegar, apple puree, salt, tomato paste, prune paste, carrots and the old secret “spices.” I’ve never tried to make my own. This sauce is readily found in Asian stores. More and more frequently regular grocery stores are starting to carry it. The only brand I’ve ever seen in the US is “Bull-Dog.” It is also referred to as “Tonkatsu Sauce.”

To make one pound of Katsu: (Serves 3 to 4 people).

Prepare your steamed rice and any vegetable for the meal before you start the katsu cutlets.

Pour approximately one cup of panko style breadcrumbs on paper plate or waxed paper.
In large, flat bowl, beat one egg with 1/4 cup of water.

Dip the meat strips in the egg.

Place the strips, one at a time, on the breadcrumbs. Coat both sides carefully, pressing the crumbs lightly to help them stick.

Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a skillet and heat the oil.

Place the cutlets in the hot oil. You only want to turn these once so let the first side cook until the color of the top side starts to turn white. You can lift the cutlets to check the bottom, but try not to do it more than once.

It takes about five minutes for each side to cook, medium heat. If your cutlet is thick (1/2 inch) you will want to cover the pan while it is cooking. Milenese cuts or thinly pounded cuts cook fine without covering.

When both sides have browned, place on a clean paper plate to help drain any excess oil.

For a pound of meat, I use two skillets to cook all the cutlets at the same time.

For serving, cut the meat into strips and place on top of steamed rice. The katsu sauce can be served in a separate dish and used as a dipping sauce or you can make a nice design with the katsu sauce across the top of the cutlet.

Posted: July 31, 2006
Filed in Japanese Dishes

Chicken Salad Sandwich

The key to a good sandwich is to start with good bread and in this case, good chicken. I recommend that you first marinate and grill chicken breasts, but this recipe can be made with canned chicken.

Dice 2 grilled chicken breasts
Dice 4 stalks of celery. Use the inner stalks and dice them very fine.
Mince 2 tablespoons of a sweet onion
chop 1/2 cup of pecans
dice 1/2 of a sweet apple such as gala (apple is optional).

Mix all these ingredients in a medium bowl with enough mayonaise to keep all ingredients together. Mix in two tablespoons Miracle Whip (this will sweeten the mix–you could put in a pinch of sugar if you don’t have miracle whip, but it won’t be *quite* the same.)

Serve on bread with slices of tomato, lettuce and alfalfa sprouts.

Posted: October 1, 2007
Filed in All-American
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