Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shepards pie Idaho style

I would first like to note that i now have 4 followers on this blog and I want to thank them for the support. Second I noticed that one of the followers in a professional writer so I apologize now for all the grammatical and punctuation errors that my writing is riddled with those were never my strong suit. I am trying to post more often but as I just started a new job the training for it has wiped me out but when it all settles down then I hope to post 2 to 3 times per week. Now on to the recipe.

2 Tbs butter (real butter please its better for you)
salt to taste
1 pound of ground meat ( hamburger elk goat it matters not :D)
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies any kind 12- 16 oz
2 cans tomato soup 10.5 oz each
1 can tomato sauce 8 oz
1 large onion chopped coarsely
1 bell pepper chopped fine
2 cups mashed potatoes (if i am in a hurry I use potato flakes)
2 or more cups shredded cheese depending on how much cheese your family likes (mine would use 2 pounds on this if I let them)

in a heavy cast iron pan melt butter then drop in onion cook till caramelized set aside. brown ground meat with bell pepper salt to taste I have grown to love kosher salt for these uses, drain then mix tomato soup and tomato sauce and add veggies combine with meat and onion heat to veggies are no longer frozen place in casserole dish and cover with mashed potatoes and top with cheese. bake in 350 degree oven till cheese is melted and just starts to get a crust on it.

this is a great dinner for a cold winter evening serve while cheese is still gooey.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chiken alfredo

My son is a very picky eater and in trying to get him to eat new things I try many different recipes most of which I just make up off the cuff. I made this one night and it was such a hit that he asks for it all the time now. My son now asks for new foods as he has learned that almost any food can taste good if it is tried in many different forms.

2 Lbs chicken cut into bite size pieces (I use boneless skinless breast a lot)
kosher salt to taste
one clove garlic minced
1 T. butter
1 batch of alfredo sauce(recipe to follow)
1 pound pasta

melt butter in large cast iron skillet add chicken and garlic and salt cook till chicken is browned (I like to have a bit of carmelization on my chicken for taste and texture.) drain, leave in pan mix in alfredo sauce.
cook pasta of your choice till tender.
at this point you can either serve the pasta with sauce on top or you can mix the whole thing up my family flip flops on how they like it but generally we mix it.

Now the sauce i like sauces simple and easy like me.
1/2 cup water (can use chicken stock)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup parmesan cheese
garlic powder, to taste
kosher salt to taste
Melt butter over low heat in saucepan, Gradually, stir in flour, Continue stirring and gradually add half-and-half, add water, Increase heat to medium and continue stirring till thickened, Stir in parmesan cheese and garlic powder.

serve with bread sticks and salad a great meal that will satisfy the picky eater in your family.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Re-fried Beans

Wow it has been a while since I posted anything so lets get going with a recipe that works as a side and as an ingredient. Now this will work in any pan but if you have read anything here you know that I think it tastes better when made in cast iron. In my house re-fried beans don't last very long and are used as dip and taco ingredients.

The recipe
1 pound pinto beans rinsed and soaked (black beans also work and you can use canned)
1 large onion diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers minced
2-3 Tbs lard(can use vegetable oil if you are scared of lard)
salt to taste

First saute onion and jalapeno in lard till onion is translucent, pour beans into pan and heat through. take a standard issue potato masher and work beans till they are mostly mashed but with big lumps throughout. salt to taste serve as side with shredded cheese or with tortilla chips.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The last recipe I posted needs good cornbread. Most southern food does, I am a firm believer that even a mediocre recipe can taste better when baked properly in a cast iron pan.

One of the ways that red beans and rice is served down south is to place the rice in the bowl, then break up the cornbread and pour the beans over the top of it all. Then spice things up with a splash of hot pepper vinegar.
Serve this with a side of collard or turnip greens and you have an authentic southern dish that will please most people.

1 cup self rising cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (optional but not really)
2 eggs beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
Pre-heat oven to 425.
Mix every thing until just moistened.
Spread 2 tablespoons butter or margarine evenly over cast iron pan (I like to use my square skillet).
Place pan in oven to melt butter. Once pan is pre-heated pour in batter and bake until golden brown. Check at 30 minutes.

In experimenting  with recipes I have found that sweet cornbread always tastes best with savory dishes.
You can also add corn and cheese and chopped green chillies for variety.
If you like the cornbread alone try serving it with good old fashioned honey butter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Red beans and rice

Now I live in Idaho but I became a fan of rice when I lived in Louisiana (properly pronounced loosiana). This is an inexpensive meal that folks down there eat daily. One benefit is when you make it folks that aren't from Louisiana think it's gourmet food, to me this is just good everyday grub.

Start with the beans now it doesn't matter to me if you use canned or dried I have done both and gotten perfectly acceptable results. I will list canned. If you want to try dried go right ahead.

2 cans of red beans (wal-mart has kidney beans and red beans use either)
1 pound smoked sausage (again if you want to be authentic use andouille sausage but smoked beef sausage is easier to find)
kosher salt to taste for the beans (beans take in a lot of salt be sure to taste for seasoning)
1 tablespoon of your favorite Cajun seasoning (again use what you like I prefer tony chachere's creole seasoning)
2 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce (whatever flavor you like)
if you are a little afraid of the heat you can lower the Cajun seasoning and Tabasco but try it first as I have been  told my version of this is mild.

Cook the beans until tender. At this point I will mash a few of the beans cause that is the way I like my red beans and rice. Heat the sausage in a separate pan until most of the fat has rendered out.

Add sausage to beans, do not drain. The beans will absorb most if not all the fat, if you mashed some first and that has flavor you don't want to throw out. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Cook 3 cups of rice according to instructions. If you like a little flavor in your rice add chicken broth or other spices in addition to the salt for the rice. Remember with rice add salt if you think you are over salting you are probably just about right.

To serve place rice in bowl and spoon beans and sausage over add some cornbread and a salad on the side and you have a great meal. (tip for the cornbread pre-heat your greased cast iron skillet for the best results even if you use a mix.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cast iron care

Today we look at care of your cast iron pans.

First thing you need is fat, animal or vegetable doesn't matter although I feel I get better results with animal fat(aka lard). One thing you can do to make seasoning of the iron easier, when you cook something like sausage that produces a lot of grease USE IT.

After you are done removing the meat from the pan take about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt (regular table salt) depending on the size of the pan, pour it on the hot grease, keep the pan to the fire.

Using a pair of cheap read $2 or less metal tongs take a paper towel and use the salt to scour the pieces that might be stuck to the pan. The salt does 2 things first it acts as a scouring pad removing things stuck to the pan, second it pushes the fat into the pores of the metal this is key as the fat is not what makes the metal slick after treatment. I will explain that in a minute.

At this point you need to decide if you have 45 minutes to properly treat the pan or not.

If you don't have the time then rinse pan out and dry on the stove after pan is dry take a paper towel and wipe up any excess grease. If you have the time now is when you heat your oven to 500 degrees. Once hot place pan (with salt and grease still in it) in oven for 30 minutes, there may be some smoke but it should not be more than the average ventilation fan can handle.

after 30 minutes turn off heat and let pan cool in oven. Rinse pan and dry on stove over high heat, remember to let your pan cool thoroughly before you rinse it once dry wipe with paper towel and store.

Explaining what makes the pan slick you have to understand that in the hot oven the grease turns to carbon and adheres to the pan carbon is very slick in fact I have a pan that i could drop a pile of cheese into and it won't stick this is the ORIGINAL non stick surface and still the best as every time you use it if properly done it gets better not worse.

Today's recipe sausage and egg sandwiches

makes 4 sandwiches

4 pre-cooked sausage patties (I buy the ones that Wal-mart carries)
4 rolls ( again if you don't bake your own any bakery carries hard rolls)
4 fried eggs (if you feel really creative you can buy the rings for these at any kitchen shop)
4 slices cheese

Now if you can't figure out how to put this together we really need to talk. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I make up my own recipes and modify others. also any recipe here is free game to use or modify but please do not republish them without your own modifications.

Now for the first recipe

Chili for the truly hungry

2 pounds slab bacon or ends and pieces cut into bite size pieces
3 pounds bulk sausage
2 pounds ground meat (beef, pork, goat, whatever you have)
6 cans of beans (I usually use 2 cans red 2 cans black and 2 cans of great northern)
1 large onion (I use a sweet yellow onion)
2 bell peppers (I like using 1 green and 1 red)
2 cans of tomato sauce
2 cans of dice tomatoes
Cajun or creole seasoning to taste

now first thing you need is a large dutch oven pre-heated
start with the bacon and the onion and peppers after they are cut up place in the dutch oven and douse it liberally with Cajun seasoning (I also like to add chipotle Tabasco to all the meat as it cooks) cook till crisp and drain.
next break up the sausage into the dutch with the bacon.
Again season liberally with Cajun seasoning drain when done.
break up ground meat and YUP you guessed it season liberally with Cajun seasoning.
When meat is done drain and then add the beans. I don't drain the beans you can if you want
add tomato sauce and tomatoes at this time
taste for seasoning and let simmer for 30 minutes
this will get better the longer it simmers but don't let it go for more than an hour

this is also great for freezing just let it sit in the fridge overnight before freezing or the flavors won't come full.

Hi all

This is my attempt to share what little I know about cooking and in particular cast iron cooking recipes, care and hopefully something you didn't know before.