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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 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

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 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


I know. It’s easier to open a can. BUT, it isn’t as good as this recipe–which is made the day before, so is well-worth the quick effort. Thanks, Renee, for sharing your fabulous recipe!

Frozen Cranberry Salad

12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
1 can of crushed pineapple in its own juice (about 20 ounces)
16 oz bag of miniature marshmallows
1 pint whipping cream
½ C sugar

Chop cranberries in a food processor or blender. Mix with sugar and put in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix pineapple and marshmallows.

Refrigerate both bowls for an hour.

After the hour is up, whip cream until it’s nice and fluffy. Mix in the contents of both bowls. Pour everything into a 9×13 pan. Freeze.

Remove from freezer about 30 minutes before serving. It is supposed to be served partially frozen.

Posted: November 23, 2009
Filed in All-American, Desserts

Favorite Pancakes

Everyone loves a good pancake!  My favorite mix is Pioneer Buttermilk Mix–altered slightly to make it tastier and maybe even healthier.  Here’s the recipe I use:

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

3/4 cup Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit and Baking Mix

1/4 cup ground oatmeal (put regular oatmeal in a food processor and grind to flour)

Mix everything and then make pancakes as usual.  You can use 1/2 cup Pioneer and 1/2 cup oatmeal if you want to get even healthier.  The oats add a touch of old fashioned character.  Serve with real maple syrup.  Yum!

Posted: February 19, 2009
Filed in All-American


Homemade granola is quite good and lower in salt and sugar than most store-bought granola snacks. Here’s my recipe:

4 cups of oatmeal
1 cup bran cereal
1 cup grapenut cereal
(You want about 6 cups of cereal–you can pick your own favorites!)
1 cup flour
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup chopped pecans

In small bowl mix:
1 cup melted margarine or baking-type olive oil
3/4 cup honey warmed slightly in microwave for easier stirring
1/2 cup buttermilk

Mix everything together in 9/13 oblong baking pan. Make sure it is mixed well–any cereal or powdered milk not coated with the liquid mixture isn’t going to bake well.

Cook at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Stir once after 15 minutes. The longer you bake it, the crunchier the granola. If it isn’t sweet enough for your taste-buds, up the honey to 1 cup and/or when eating this mix as cereal, you can always add sugar!

Posted: December 7, 2006
Filed in All-American

Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken breasts can be used in a variety of dishes: chicken salad sandwiches, chicken casseroles, chicken in alfredo sauce, chicken in pasta salad.

All require a nice, simple marinade to keep the chicken juicy and flavorful. Here’s my favorite:

Marinate chicken and ingredients for 3 to 4 hours. I usually start with frozen chicken. Marinate until the chicken is thawed, turning several times.

4 or 5 breasts of chicken
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil

The olive oil will keep the chicken from sticking during cooking. The soy and honey will carmelize just slightly when grilled, giving a wonderful depth to the chicken. Once the chicken is grilled, top it with sauteed mushrooms, onions and cheese. Or dice the chicken and use in quesadillas or one of the other dishes described above.

Grill or pan broil.


Posted: September 9, 2007
Filed in All-American
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