Cooking Stuff From the Garden 🌶🥒


So, today I felt like cooking. We recently came back from a weekend at a cabin and a week at camp. We had a bunch of new stuff ready in the garden, and some stuff past ready.

Here are three quick recipes that I posted on Instagram. The Poblano peppers, banana peppers, straightneck squash, and snap beans were grown in our garden.

🥓🧀🌶🍄🍝🥒🌱

Bacon-Wrapped Poblano Peppers

Well, that turned out well. Got some poblano from the garden this week. I mixed some bacon bits, minced garlic, shredded cheddar cheese, and steak seasoning into some cream cheese, cut the peppers in half, stuffed with the peppers with the mixture, sprinkled more cheddar on top, wrapped with bacon, & baked on a sheet pan at 375° for 40 min.

Turned out pretty good if I do say so myself!

Snap Beans with Mushrooms & French Fried Onions

Some fresh snap beans from the garden. Steamed, then tossed in with some sautéed mushrooms, French fried onions, minced garlic, a pinch or 2 of flour & fresh cooked bacon pieces. (Used the leftovers from the peppers.)

Straightneck Squash Parmesan

Had some straightneck squash that grew a bit too big while we were at camp. I had it in my head to prepare it sort of like eggplant parmesean & fried zucchini. I didn’t want the stacked lasagna version, I wanted something with a bit of crunch.

I sliced then up, dredged in flour/cornstarch, egg/buttermilk. & coated in regular & panko breadcrumbs with a bit of parmesan “shake cheese” mixed in. I seasoned each step with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, & black pepper.

I baked them for about 25 or 30 min. on 400°, then topped with provolone & mozzarella slices & a bit more parmesan. They went back in for 10 min.

Served with bowtie pasta & covered in our favorite slightly doctored sauce.

Added the needed flavor to the overgrown squash and I actually preferred the consistency to eggplant.

🥒🧀🌶🥓🧄🍄🌱🍝

All in all, I was really pleased with the results, and I think the family was too.

Do you have some good recipes, tips, & tricks for these garden ingredients?

What do you like to grow and cook?

Smokin’ Spare Ribs 🍖 (3·2·1 Style)


So, recently I got a smoker attachment for my Char-Griller grill as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried it out today and the results we fantastic. I hit up the Google machine and some non-BBQ-ing Facebook groups for advice, tips, & tricks. (I imagine that they are as intense as guitar groups and I am just not ready yet.) I kept getting advice on the 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs. There are many variations of that technique. I think it went well. I tracked my progress with the #AiXeLsyDBBQ hashtag. Maybe I’ll do some more next time.

The quick and dirty of this method is…

  1. Get your coals to 225°-ish. (I used a chimney to avoid lighter fluid and it was awesome.) I added some wood chunks in the chimney, and on top once I spread on the coals. I did not soak the wood, but I may next time. Control the temp with your vents. Open a bit warms it up, closed cools it off… all because of airflow.
  2. Remove the silverskin, and put a nice rub on the ribs. I used one from the section of Walmart by all the grilling stuff.
  3. Put the ribs in the grill part if you have an attachment, or not on the heat for 3 hours.
  4. Pull the ribs out, wrap in heavy duty grilling foil, add some apple cider, apple juice, vinegar, pop, or whatever. I added some Straub. Unfortunately I made 2 racks and used the whole bottle, so I drank one myself.
  5. Put them in for 2 hours, smoking really isn’t necessary at this point if your wanna save your chunks or chips.
  6. Pull them out and unwrap them. I should have saved the drippings for the barbecue sauce on the side, but I did not. Shame on me. Do that.
  7. Sauce those ribs up. Liberally. Like, and obscene amount.
  8. Put them back on for 1 hour. (3-2-1… get it? Guys! They said the thing!)
  9. Always check with a thermometer for done-ness. They should be pretty damn done at this point, arguably overdone.
  10. EAT.

I know fall-off-the-bone isn’t competition style. A bone did pull right out of one rack, but the meat was in tact, not falling completely apart. I know the foil wrapping bit is then steaming not smoking… but, rules are made to be broken and a healthy dose of anarchy warms my little punk rock heart.

I would definitely do the ribs like this again. I may try a homemade sauce. This was pretty basic store-brand stuff from Shop ‘n Save with some dry mustard, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, and Straub American Amber Lager. I may try different chips, or a smoker box, or to soak the wood. I even read some people eschew charcoal in favor of all wood once the fire is going.

I also threw on some baked potatoes, turkey legs, grilled veggies, and sauce on the attached burner.

Can’t wait to try out a turkey, pork loin, brisket, and whatever else I haven’t thought of. Mac n’ cheese? Jalapeño poppers? Meatloaf? Bacon?

What do you do in the smoker? What are your go to foods? Got any tips & tricks worth sharing? Do you click the tongs twice or three times? Before, during, or after?

Any excuse to drink beer and play with fire all day is a good excuse to me. Plus, the family was awed by my hereto unknown skills with smoked meats.

What music are you playing while you’re grilling or smoking?

This is the full adventure as told via Instagram:

Vegetable Garden 2021 🌱


This year, I had some big help in the garden! These two have been gardening since they could walk, and I think they’re enjoying it and really getting the hang of it.

The kids have their own YouTube channel now, with a little hep from some old guy that blogs occasionally. Check out their gardening how-to:

I also made a map, and decided to make a chart of the suggested harvest dates on the tags just to see how accurate they are. I have been gardening since I can remember, and don’t know if I ever paid attention to that. We just picked stuff whenever it appeared & ripened.

Garden Map & Harvest Dates 2021

We made sure to get all the tags & try to document it all. The kids are loving math & science, so why not incorporate it into the garden? We can see if the harvest dates noted on the tags are anywhere near when the plants are actually ready.

I’m excited to see how it turns out! And, yeah, we got some more jalapeño since they liked it last year… and this time we’re trying some poblano too!

Whoa, Instagram is a trip down memory lane with these kids and gardening!

Ghost Kitchens and Virtual Restaurants need to die.


…Or just be honest.

It’s been a while since I have ranted about food allergies. I know the world is in chaos, especially in the United Sates right now. But, this is exactly the sort of time when stuff like this is overlooked. We’ve already had allergy-warning-label rollbacks since the start of the pandemic, and the COVID-19 vaccine raises true food allergy concerns to me anyway.

Say no to ghost kitchen and virtual restaurant shenanigans. It’s a nightmare for non-disclosure or potential food allergens & cross contamination.

Ghost kitchens scare the shit out of me, as it comes to food allergies and cross-contamination issues.

Say a wing place pops up online and their menu features only chicken wings, fries, and cheese sticks… seems safe for me. But, as a person with severe food allergies… the place could have a full kitchen and share cooking surfaces and/or fryers with shellfish, to which I am highly allergic.

I like to see a restaurant’s full menu. I determine where I may go after looking at menus online. If they’re not showing the full picture, that is a lie to the consumer. It’s even better if they can provide a chart for allergen ingredients or better yet cross-contamination.

I don’t see an added value from deception.

Pasqually’s is just Chuck E. Cheese. Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza apparently has a wing place with items that aren’t available in the restaurant? Neighborhood Wings is Applebee’s? American Grilled Cheese Co. is King’s Family Restaurant? (King’s is a potential food-allergy nightmare because of their CONSTANTLY changing menu… and don’t get me started on Applebee’s.)

If any of these places carry something that could be a trigger and it’s not disclosed on BOTH menus, they’re setting themselves up to cause some anaphylaxis.

In general, transparency is the way to go. Just look at your government as a bad example of this.

Evil Deceitful Pasqually

Food allergies as they pertain to the COVID-19 vaccine?


Juts some thoughts posted on Facebook at Twitter that I thought I’d also share here. I feel like its been a long time since I posted any food allergy content.

In case I ever make the FB stuff not public:

As a proponent of Food Allergy advocacy, this is concerning. You would think that responsible reporting from CNN would include the triggering protein(s) of those that suffered an anaphylactic reaction. I call shenanigans on it not being immediately obvious, let alone warranting further research or investigation.

From what I have read about allergies and vaccinations in the past, sometimes they contain egg protein. Personal results can vary… much like some people with peanut allergies report deep fryers with refined peanut oil trigger a reaction, and others seem to not have any ill effects.

Is this that same type of issue, or have new ingredients or a new combination of ingredients been introduced?

Obviously this is something that would be sussed out and analyzed over time in a clinical trial with a more traditional timeline.

I look forward to keeping an eye on this and how it progresses. Is it approx 1 in 30 kids any more have a food allergy? This could potentially affect a large portion of the population.

Is a vaccine a more viable solution than actual produced human antibodies, or are they one-in-the same here?

Keeping an eye on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the others to follow.

While by no means a scientist of medical professional, I find this stuff fascinating.

I also would hope the comments here don’t devolve in to anti-vax or mandatory-vax sentiments.

#FoodAllergies #FoodAllergy #Covid19

And a link to the original article: Allergy warning for Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine after UK health workers with allergy history suffer reaction

Guest Post | breslesperots


That’s Brussels Sprouts. My oldest is in 2nd grade, and has a journal for what they now call ELA. We called it Writing or English back in the late Triassic when I was in school. Pretty soon I may be up to her writing level. I certainly make about the same amount of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Her journal has some great entries, but I found this amusing and asked if I could share it. Her handwriting looks a lot like mine at that age. The whole thing is just too cute, IMHO.

11-23-20 | My least favite food is breslesperots. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, how do you like it? I said its discusting! My dad said I was crasy. One of his favite foods are breslsprots. The next time we had the my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relevd we do not have them very often only really on thanks giving. broulsprots are little balls that look like cabig. The worst food ever is braroslsprats.
My second grader’s journal entry about the worst food ever.

The text, as originally written:

11-23-20

My least favite food is breslesperots. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, how do you like it? I said its discusting! My dad said I was crasy. One of his favite foods are breslsprots. The next time we had the my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relevd we do not have them very often only really on thanks giving. broulsprots are little balls that look like cabig. The worst food ever is braroslsprats.

Here’s my slight correction:

11-23-20

My least favorite food is Brussels sprouts. The time I tried it was at dinner. I took a bite. My dad said said, “How do you like it?” I said it’s disgusting! My dad said I was crazy. One of his favorite foods are Brussels sprouts. The next time we had them, my dad put one on my plate. I put it on his plate. I am relived we do not have them very often, only really on Thanksgiving. Brussels sprouts are little balls that look like cabbage. The worst food ever is Brussels sprouts.

Even though I wholeheartedly disagree, she builds a strong case. I’m anxious to see what the teacher thinks.

So, I made broccoli cheese soup for the first time. 🥦🧀🥣


I’ve made a few different soups before, but never really tackled one with a creamy base. I like my soups pretty simple. I probably used more ingredients here than I needed to. Generally at this point with soups or chili, I just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and see what happens. I read a few different recipes at the top of a Google search, and went from there. I am really bad at measuring stuff. I just throw in an eyeballed amount.

AiXeLsyD13's Broccoli Cheese Soup
AiXeLsyD13’s Broccoli Cheese Soup | This was my first attempt. It wasn’t bad!

Tools you’ll definitely need:

  • Stock pot
  • Cheese grater
  • Spoon
  • Spatula

Ingredients:

  • 1½ sticks of butter
  • ¾ cup of flour
  • ½ cup of shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup of diced celery
  • ½ Spanish onion
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. ground mustard
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 32 oz. box of chicken stock
  • 32 oz. box of chicken stock
  • 32 oz. box of vegetable broth
  • 2 bundles of fresh broccoli (chopped up into spoon-sized pieces)
  • ¼ cup of bacon pieces
  • 7 oz. block of extra sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 7 oz. block of white cheddar cheese (grated)
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. block of Velveeta (cut onto small chunks)
  • 2 cup bag of shredded “mac & cheese blend” cheese
  • 1 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Method:

  1. Melt butter on medium heat in the bottom of your stock pot, add celery, carrots, onions, & sautée for a bit.
  2. Mix spices with the flour, add to pot to make a roux and let it get a nice color brown.
  3. Add minced garlic at the end… sometimes it burns easily.
  4. Add 3 boxes of stock, then the buttermilk while it’s still cool to prevent curdling.
  5. Add broccoli & bacon pieces, bring to a boil, simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Turn heat to low, stir in all that cheese.
  7. Add mashed potato flakes to thicken. (I think I poured in a bit more buttermilk in here too.)

Notes:

  • Obviously, you can use your preferred onions, cheeses, stock, etc. You could use heavy cream instead of buttermilk.
  • I would say next time I will make more roux & use one less box of broth for a thicker soup. Maybe a bullion cube would add flavor without the liquid? I could cook it longer to get it thicker too. I like a ridiculously thick soup.
  • I like to use beer in ham soup, I bet it would go great here. Maybe I could sub that & a bullion cube for a box of broth next time?
  • I read that the bagged pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as easily, but it seemed to incorporate just as well as the rest of the stuff.

So, that’s it. I would be very interested in your suggestions, tips, tricks, & “secrets” in the comments. Have you tried this recipe? Did you put your spin on it? Let me know in the comments.

I thought about putting this in a bread bowl, but I opted to make my take on ham & cheese oven sandwiches. Maybe I’ll get into baking next time, or just buy some bread bowls pre-made.

🥦🧀🥣

If you liked this recipe, maybe check out these ones:

Easy, Quick, and Delicious – Grilled Chicken Noodle Soup 🥣


The wife & daughter are under the weather so I offered to make some home made chicken-noodle soup. Not much is more of a classic and traditional comfort than chicken-noodle soup, right? Around here, the stuff like Eat ‘n Park serves is a comfort-food staple. I love those style noodles. I make soups slightly differently every time, but this seemed to come together quickly and it was very flavorful. I’d definitely do it this way again.

I posted photos to Facebook & Instagram, & thought I’d share the recipe here too. I like to have leftover soup. Here’s what I posted on social media, maybe slightly edited;

This was the cheater method, but these frozen noodles are awesome. I made A LOT of soup. Ha ha. This could easily be halved.

I started with grilling chicken tenders on the panini grill, added a pretty good amount of “rotisserie chicken” spices. Two competing name brands happened to be in the spice rack, so that’s what I used.

I sautéed some shredded carrots, half a Spanish onion, and some celery stalks in a few pats of butter on the bottom of the stock pot.

Then I added some minced garlic (yes, the stuff from a jar soaked in olive oil because I am lazy), & some fresh parsley from the garden. I didn’t measure any of it.

I also used poultry seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, white & black pepper, salt, & a shake of cayenne.

I de-glazed a bit with some chicken stock, then added the rest… 2 boxes of chicken stock, 1 box vegetable broth, 1 box low-sodium chicken broth (because vegetable broth usually has a much higher sodium content), 1 box bone broth. I ended up with 3 different name brands… just to get the mix of slightly different liquids.

I have used chicken bullion cubes in the past to save all kinds of money and use beer in my ham soups all the time.

I brought all that to a boil.

I added 2 bags of the frozen Reames egg noodles, the grilled chicken (that I cut up while it was boiling), and brought it back to a boil, simmered for about 20 minutes as per the directions on the noodles.

This almost overflowed my stock pot, but stirring kept it from boil over. Ha ha.

I have used regular dry noodles or Amish noodles, and even home-made noodles… but the Reaves ones really do taste fantastic and require zero work. Ha ha.

I like the taste of the grilled chicken in the soup. I left it just long enough to get grill lines. I have made it from scratch, using rotisserie chicken, made my own broth from a roasted chicken… I’d put this up against any of those methods and it’s super quick.

(Not-even-remotely-a-)Pro tip… For lunch the next day, all the noodles had soaked up all the liquid. Gonna put some chicken bullion cubes in some water in the stock pot, then add the soup to re-heat. It’s honestly good as-is re-heated in a bowl in the microwave.

If you make this, or your own version, tell me what you think in the comments! What are your favorite shortcuts for making tasty chicken noodle soup?

Someday I may try to make this (probably cut in half) in the pressure cooker, if I can get over how it wronged me on chili.

🥣🥣🥣

Stuff you need:

  • Countertop grill
  • Stock pot (and a stove, too I guess.)
  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Large Spoon

Ingredients:

  • (2) small packs of chicken breast tenders
  • Extra Virgil Olive Oil (I keep some it in a spray bottle and use it to coat the grill)
  • Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning (or your favorite Season-Salt or Mrs. Dash’s or whatever) – I don’t measure, I just shake it on.
  • (3) pats of butter
  • (1) cup (ish) shredded carrots
  • (1) cup (ish) chopped celery
  • (½) Spanish onion (I think they’re sweeter than sweet onions, but you’re cooking, so use your favorite onion.)
  • (1) tsp. minced garlic (the lil’ stuff from jar, or be difficult & use fresh)
  • Fresh parsley – A small unmeasured & finely chopped bit, I pulled mine from the garden.
  • (2) 24 oz. bags of frozen egg noodles
  • (2) 32 oz. cartons chicken stock
  • (1) 32 oz. carton vegetable broth
  • (1) 32 oz. carton low-sodium chicken broth
  • (1) 32. oz. carton chicken bone broth
  • Spices, I don’t measure any of these… I just shake it in:
    • Salt
    • Black pepper
    • White pepper
    • Poultry seasoning
    • Cayenne
    • Onion powder
    • Garlic Powder

Method:

  1. You just skipped down to the recipe, didn’t you?
  2. I already told you how to make it up top.
  3. Now, you have to go back up & read it.
  4. Or you can click the window closed & go away.
  5. But then, you’ll never know, will you?
  6. You’ll never know how delicious and easy this is.

Chili (AiXeLsyD13 Style) 🌶


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. round steak, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ package of bacon pieces
  • 1 10.75 oz. can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with sweet onions
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 5 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 15.5 oz. can black beans
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, diced
  • 1 fresh orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 fresh sweet banana pepper, diced
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of Straub Amber
  • 1 pack of chili spice mix
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, steak seasoning, seasoned-salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, white pepper

I wanted to try 2 things, the Ninja Foodi pressure-cooker function & steak in the chili. The steak was successful, the pressure-cooking was not so much.

I cut up the steak and sautéed with a tiny bit of EVOO in a pan on the stove on high then medium-high, added about half of each chopped up fresh pepper, the ground beef, and about a tablespoon of minced garlic. This is where I added all of the dry spices at the end. I don’t measure. I also used some Straub to deglaze the pan. This mix was delicious.

I added the rest of the ingredients into the Foodi after draining & rinsing both cans of beans… including the unused peppers, garlic, and beer.

It got up to pressure then insisted I “ADD WTR.” I reluctantly added a cup of water and a beef bullion cube. I like chili thick enough to eat with a fork.

It got up to pressure again and insisted “ADD WTR.”

Googling solutions seemed to lean to the fact that it could be overheating, stuff could be burning on the pan, or a few other suggestions. A real life friend confirmed the burning thing via Facebook. It eventually got to a boiling point after the second pressure-up, but again demanded “ADD WTR.” No, Foodi. I like thick chili! NO ADD WTR! NO ADD WTR! I put it on the saute setting and let it boil down for a bit.

I think the stove top would have been the same amount of time. The flavors were great. Would they had been enhanced with proper pressurized cooking? Will the Foodi learn to say “STR SHT” when that’s what it really means?

Next time I will put the liquid on the bottom maybe? Also, no water/bullion cube… and I may eliminate the small can of tomato paste & sauce. The meat & pepper mix itself before other stuff was delicious. I could add the tomatoes, & soup, & beans right there and have a fine meal to be seved with rice or mashed potatoes.

Maybe I will go back to the slow-cooker. You can’t deny how awesome that is. My recipe is always changing.

One of these days I’m gonna try cocoa powder. I have seen stuff calling for brown sugar (which I love in spaghetti sauce), but no thanks in chili. I have also had cinnamon in chili, an that’s totally not my thing, but I get it if you dig it.

I had mine with some tortilla strips, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. We had some pretzel breadsticks on the side too. They serves soft pretzels with chili at my elementary school, so they will always belong together for me. This would have also been great over mashed potatoes or on a baked potato, rice, or even pasta.

IG CHILI

How do you do chili (or chili con carne)? Beans? No beans? Over pasta? Over potatoes or rice? Any musts for the side like peanut butter, corn bread, sweet corn cake, rolls, cinnamon rolls, tortilla chips or strips, etc.?

Do you use cheese or sour cream? Do you like it hot? Do you cut the heat with anything?

Do you have a preferred cooking method?

Any tips on pressure-cooker (or Ninja Foodi) chili?

Teh Facebooks on Chili

Kids, Gardening, & Jalapeños. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🌱🌶️


The kids like to garden. They helped plant once again this year, and have been great at watering, upkeep, & harvesting. They really did most of the planting work this year, and are learning about how to keep weeds out and when to pick ripe peppers. (They’re already pretty good at tomatoes.)

Molly & Ian try a jalapeño from the garden! 🌶️

This year, by accident, I picked up a jalapeño plant when shopping at Home Depot. I meant to get 2 each of yellow bell peppers, orange bell peppers, and red bell peppers. I came home with a jalapeno and only one yellow pepper. We also planted some sweet banana peppers.

When I brought it home, Ian was determined to plant it & try some. He was true to his word! Molly & Ian did both try it! I put the video up on YouTube and IGTV.

Decide for yourself if you think they liked it:

I haven’t ever grown hot peppers despite all my years growing tomato, pepper, & a slew of other stuff.

I asked on various social media platforms on how to tell if your jalapeno is ripe and I got a handful of differentiating opinions. I got…

  • When they turn red. (Was told they turn black before they are red.)
  • When they start to get little brown lines/wrinkles.
  • At around 3″ long.
  • At around 6″ to 8″ long.
  • Look at the photo on the plant tag.
  • bury match heads to make them hotter.

So, how do you tell when they’re ripe?


Share your hot pepper ripeness tips & any other tricks below on the comments.

Have an recipes to share too?  I would like to hear your thoughts on gardening, jalapeno peppers, or the video below!

This has been a fun gardening journey.  It is exciting to see them learn about composting, growing food, and then trying it & even cooking with it.  We have had plenty of beautiful snap beans, sweet banana peppers, & a few varieties of cherry tomatoes so far.

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Much #latergram. #GardeningForKids

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#Jalapeño!🌶

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#SweetBananaPeppers!

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