Cream of Roasted Mushroom soup~

Wow, what a week it has been! ūüė¨

I hope this finds you doing well, staying healthy!¬† I have to admit, I really never thought I would live in a time like we are living in today…last night at Midnight, the state of Minnesota went into “stay-at-home” status…shelter-in-place…lockdown…whatever you want to call it.¬† I have basically doing just that for the past two weeks…now I really have to, for the next two. Fortunately I can still work, much of which I am able to do at home, via my computer & phone. My husband is still going to work, as he has to continue feeding the school kids in the Minneapolis Public School district. My daughter chose to be temporarily laid off from her job a week or so ago…and my son just chose to take a leave from his job for the next three weeks.¬† I have been trying to get out for walks as often as I can…it’s been so nice to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the sun and return of all the Robins, Sandhill Cranes, Mallards etc. ‚ėÄÔłŹ

I have also been cooking, ALOT! Which isn’t a bad thing…except for my waistline, lol. This soup was brought on because Mushrooms were on sale and I took advantage of that.¬† I wanted to find a recipe that was silky smooth (besides the chunks of mushrooms) and because of the addition of egg yolks, this one hit the mark!Adapted from Julia Child‚Äôs Cream of Mushroom soup recipe, the biggest change to this recipe, is that I roasted the Mushrooms instead of saut√©ing them. This served two people, along with a side salad (see pictured recipe below) and with a little bowl leftover for lunch the next day. Double the recipe if you are serving more than two people.


2 pints of mushrooms – sliced or diced, your choice
2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine or Sherry
2 tablespoons of flour
1/4 onion, minced
2 cups (+/-) of chicken or veggie stock
1 teaspoon dried Thyme (or stem or two of fresh)
2 egg yolks
1/4 heavy cream
Salt & pepper

Clean mushrooms, trim or remove the stems. Toss in olive oil, salt & pepper & dried Thyme and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and into a 400 degree oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes.

ūüćĽSqueeze a quick happy hour with your honey!

Once they appear nicely browned, remove and set aside to cool…once cooled, slice or dice them.

Then in a large stock pot, over medium to high heat, add butter and once hot, add in onion. Cook until translucent but not browned. Add in Marsala, allowing the alcohol to cook off and some of the liquid to evaporate. Then whisk in the flour slowly‚Ķyou‚Äôll end up with a bit of a ‚Äúslurry‚ÄĚ here, but continue whisking for a bit, like making a roux. Slowly add in stock, again, continue to whisk to help dissolve the flour into the mixture.

Once the soup has been fully mixed together, add in the mushrooms and simmer. Taste the soup and add salt/pepper if needed.

In a measuring cup, add the heavy cream and egg yolks. Mix together and slowly add this to the soup, stirring to incorporate.

Heat mixture thru, but careful not to bring to a boil.

I think next time I will finely chop the Mushrooms…or, puree most of them into the soup and add a few on the top at the end. Either way, make this and enjoy!ūüėćūüôĆūüŹĽ


PS. Here is how I made the salad I posted on Facebook…
Fresh Spinach (placed on plate first)…
Fresh Strawberries, sliced…
Parmesan cheese, grated over top…
Drizzle Jimmy’s Sweet & Sour dressing (found locally at Cub Foods) on top…
Optional…avocado, honey-roasted Almonds, red onion…etc. etc. YUM! ūüćď

Hope to see you soon! ūüíó

Homemade Gyro’s~

My first experience with this delicious sandwich was many years ago, when I lived in Iowa. I had a couple of food memories created in those years…the most amazing fried Pork Tenderloin sandwich, that I used to get from my local Hy-Vee deli counter…that sucker came on a standard hamburger bun, slathered with mayo, and layered with lettuce and pickles.¬† The Pork patty itself was so big, it sometimes would stick outside of the styrofoam container they packed it in for me.¬† God I loved that thing…please tell me I can get that somewhere today?!

The Gyro sandwich however, was a late-night, after-the-bars-closed, 10-cent-beer-night induced decision.¬† One that I made from that night on, as often as I could!¬† I remember the feel of the foil, wrapped around the soft pillowy pita…which held meat ūüėā that was salty & hot…topped with cold, creamy sauce…raw onions, tomatoes and might have had chunks of cucumbers. It was the perfect thing to tuck me into bed after a night of dancing & drinking, as the kids did back then.

Part of the reason I started this food blog, was to have a place to share my food memories…favorites dishes…food adventures and so on.¬† This dish is one of those memories I want to live on in my family.¬† Maybe more for me, than anyone else! ūüôĆūüŹĽ


Okay, so let’s talk about what you need to buy for this recipe:

  • Ground Lamb
  • Fresh Dill, washed, then sliced thin
  • Plain, Greek Yogurt (you can get away with a couple small single serving containers)
  • Feta cheese (at least 8oz. & I buy the block and crumble it myself)
  • Cucumber, peeled and grated
  • Lemon, freshly squeezed
  • Garlic cloves, 3+/-, minced
  • Olive Oil…2-3 tablespoons
  • Fresh or dried Oregano
  • Tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes and sliced them)
  • Lettuce (I used a mix I have been loving from Aldi with baby Spinach & Arugula)
  • Pita Bread (my favorite is Papa Pita brand, which I usually find at my local Cub Foods)

Okay, so I am not the best with measurements…I usually have to refresh my memory on what goes in the sauce, but then I usually add stuff until I think it tastes good. I will do my best to explain everything here….

First thing you should do, is grate your Cucumber…after washing and peeling it.¬† Use the small grate on your box grater and if you have one, place the grated cuc into a wire mesh strainer, over a bowl. I like to add a bit of salt at this point, stir the grated cucumber up and then let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or the day before, to release as much water as possible.

Then, a few hours before you are going to eat, make the Tzatziki sauce. Combine a cup to a cup and half of the Greek Yogurt, with a tablespoon or so of fresh squeezed lemon, one-two cloves of garlic, that you have grated or minced, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a crack of pepper and some salt. Now, some people say NOT to add the dill at this point, but I like it enough that I DO add it now. Put this mixture into the fridge until it’s time to eat.

Once it’s dinner time, heat up a pan with a touch of olive oil and add in one clove of minced garlic and the onion and Oregano.¬† Saute that only until you start to smell it all and then add in the Lamb meat, breaking that up as much as possible, as you cook it.¬† I kinda like a hard cook on my lamb meat…if you understand that, but it’s just important you cook the meat through.

My husband likes to “toast” the pita bread over one of the gas burners on our stove…so either way, grab a big plate, a slice of pita and start putting together your Gyro!¬† I am not going to tell you how to do that…because every time I make one, I do it differently, lol! I like the sauce on the Pita…I like the meat next to the Feta…and from there out, it’s all your choice!

If you have any leftovers, the next morning, and feel like it, scramble an egg into the lamb meat! ūüėćūüôĆūüŹĽI hope you make this and if you do, please share your thoughts with me!!¬† ~Shawn


Making Tamales & memories…

November 2015

Greetings fellow foodie friends!

It‚Äôs mid-November here in Minnesota and we‚Äôve yet to really see any Winter, which is just fine by me! But, my body-clock knows it‚Äôs almost here, because I am craving soups, macaroni & cheese, any pasta dish for that matter and bread and cheese. Oof! I‚Äôve decided that instead of being all proud of myself for knowing how to whip up a creamy b√©chamel sauce, that it‚Äôs actually a curse to know. At any given moment, there are at least five different types of cheese in my refrigerator and freezer, just hanging out, waiting patiently, to get all melty and gooey in a pan of hot pasta. I can have a pan of the creamy devil ready in about 10 minutes…

September 2015-blog post

The real estate market is going to end 2015 on a positive note, across the country really. Here in Minnesota, many people must have took the month of September off, because we had quite a dip in activity over that time period. A couple of my sellers have chosen to take their homes off the market until next Spring, hoping to do some nice updates to their homes over the Winter. If this past Spring is any indication of what this coming one will be, it’s going to be BUSY! And I am taking advantage of this quiet time to get myself ready for that!

Gabs & Dom

These two… ‚̧ This fall I had one kid start Junior High and the other started Senior High. They have both been doing really well, even with having to be out the door by 7:15am everyday! Although I despise getting out of bed that early, I do manage to have a very productive day, starting that early! ¬†Both are taking Culinary classes this year, so there is alot of talk about Food around our house!


One of the things I try to do with my kids, is create food-memories. ¬†I love to make things most people wouldn’t even attempt. ¬†And hope someday, they’ll look back and appreciate that. ¬†A couple months ago, my daughter had a friend come over and we made Tamales together. I have always wanted to try to make them and they turned out surprisingly well! You can actually take a class locally, at El Burrito Mercado, Tamalada, that teaches you how and then you get to leave with a bunch. ¬†Both classes for 2015 sold out already, but they have plans for bigger classes in 2016. ¬†And you can always just buy Tamales (and LOTS more) in their Deli! ¬†Find out more HERE. ¬†We took a field trip there that day, for lunch & inspiration and some last minute ingredients¬†for our recipe.


We made two different kinds of Tamales that day; Chicken & Cheese. The Cheese ones had Havarti cheese & pickled Jalape√Īos in them‚Ķhave you ever had those before?! I am not much for super spicy foods, but I love these and find myself putting them on burgers, sandwiches etc. all the time!

I think if I do them again, I will steam them flat, instead of standing on the ends like you see in the picture. Doing them that way, was okay, but some of the filling started to fall out of the corn husks as the batter expanded.


We used a Rotisserie Chicken, which made the process go alot quicker! ¬†Costco now even sells pulled Rotisserie Chicken for you! ¬†Can it get much easier than that?! ¬†There are a million recipes out there on how to make Tamales. ¬†I found a great one, and a video showing me exactly how online. ¬†Click HERE for the video, and HERE for a link to the recipe. ¬†I did use Lard, and wish I would have used a better broth, so don’t skip that part either.


To go with the Tamales, I made a Tomatillo Salsa, or as she called, Green Salsa. ¬†The girls hadn’t ever touched a Tomatillo¬†before, so the sticky parts inside of the husk was a surprise to them! ¬†You‚Äôll see that salsa and those jalape√Īo pickles find their way onto a burger shortly after that ūüôā


My family and I are anxiously awaiting our annual¬†trip to the North Shore¬†for Thanksgiving‚ĶI will share some pictures while there on my Instagram feed, but mostly hope to really unplug and cuddle and eat and spend time with my sweet family. ¬†We are still narrowing down our menu, and I’ve been relying on my Pinterest Board-Get your Gobble On, for ideas! ¬†Looking forward to fireside chats…brisk hikes…eating…drinking wine…I can’t wait!!! ‚̧


And if you are a Minnesotan and haven’t ever been up to Duluth for the annual Bentleyville Tour of¬†¬†Lights event, get it on your calendar for this year! ¬†It runs from November 21st-December 27th and you can find out more info HERE.


Wishing you all, a warm, relaxing & delicious Thanksgiving with family & friends!

Cheers! ~Shawn

Silver linings…


Once upon a time, there was a girl that really didn’t know how to cook. ¬†She met a boy, who did and decided she wanted to try to impress him, with her cooking prowess. She failed, miserably.

Read on…

As a kid, I learned how to “feed” myself & my little¬†brother, out of necessity basically. ¬†My Mom was a nurse and would often works nights and long shifts. ¬†We did a lot of fending for ourselves. ¬†Mac & Cheese was a staple, as was Chicken Noodle & Tomato soup. ¬†And scrambled eggs. ¬†I remember the¬†day my Mom bought us a electric griddle and I learned how to make really super cheesy grilled cheese sandwiches. ¬†I was even able to make Sloppy Joes in that thing! ¬†And Hamburgers…that I sometimes covered with the Chicken Noodle soup. ¬†Don’t knock it until you try it! Yeah, I know, very gourmet. To this day however, nothing says comfort to me, than a big bowl of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Oh and I could make perfect Chocolate Chip cookies! ¬†At least they were perfect to me. ¬†And they are still one of my favorite things to make! ‚̧

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 4.09.57 PM

Fast forward a decade or so and I met my future husband. ¬†He grew up around many fantastic family cooks, spending weekends with his grandparents cooking & gardening.¬†His food career began at the ripe age of 15 working in the kitchen of a neighborhood restaurant, just about an hour outside of Philadelphia. ¬†One day, a couple of years after we had been dating, I decided I wanted to make something really special for dinner. ¬†By now my cooking skills had improved slightly. I could make pasta, rice, potatoes… you know all the good cheap carbs a busy young girl could whip up, quick & easy. ¬†I loved me anything you could make from a box, as well. ¬†You know the ones, Pasta Roni, Rice-a-Roni, and yes…even Hamburger Helper. ¬†How did I ever survive those days! ūüôā

I don’t even know where I found this recipe, but it just sounded so “gourmet” and delicious. ¬†I wanted to prove to myself, that I could make something really great. ¬†Maybe I was also trying to win his permanent affection. ¬†Good thing I didn’t place too much stock on that first “gourmet” meal. ¬†It didn’t end well…the dinner, that is.

Vegetable Cannelloni

The recipe was called “Vegetable Stuffed Cannelloni with a Sherry Cream Sauce”… or something like that. ¬†I did find a recipe on Epicurious that was very similar. ¬†The original recipe was destroyed…on purpose…after the failed meal. ¬†You can see that recipe here.

Veggies, before, for stuffingHomemade RicottaVeggies, after, for stuffingVeg Cann4

I went shopping for ingredients, some of which I had never bought before (eggplant, zucchini) and then spent hours (or at least it felt that way) chopping, cooking and prepping the meal. ¬†Carefully stuffed the pasta…poured that insanely delicious¬†cream sauce over the whole bit and popped it into the oven. ¬†I had some¬†leftover sauce in a pan on the stove, that I saved in case I needed more once it was done baking. ¬†Once the timer on the oven went off, I carefully removed that bubbling, incredible smelling masterpiece and placed it on the stove top…on the burner that was keeping that leftover sauce warm.

Those of you that have been through this kind of nightmare before, you probably know exactly where I am going… ¬†Within seconds, the entire glass baking dish, containing that masterpiece I had spent most of the day toiling over, exploded into tiny shards of glass, all over my stovetop, counters and kitchen floor. ¬†I was both shocked & scared and didn’t know what to do, other than fall to ground and proceed to cry like a three year old. ¬†Apparently, you aren’t supposed to put any glass baking dishes on direct heat sources. ¬†It was insane. ¬†There wasn’t even one spoonful we could salvage, for just a bite to see how it tasted! ūüė¶

My sweet future husband just crouched down next to me, telling me it was okay, that I meant well and it was just an accident. ¬†I was devastated. ¬†I didn’t cook anything “gourmet” for quite some time after that.

Cookbook Cover

Fast forward to about a month ago, I saw a post on Instagram from Dana Cowin, the Editor of Food & Wine magazine, promoting her new cookbook, “Mastering My Mistakes In The Kitchen”. ¬†She was asking for people to share their biggest kitchen fail and of course, I had to share this story. ¬†I have thought about that dish many times since, and have learned to become a much better cook…not to mention, learning that very hard lesson, that you should not EVER put a glass baking on anything hot or cold!


A day or so later, I see a notification that I won a copy of her new cookbook! ¬†My sad story has a silver lining!¬† As I sat there, excited for my luck,¬†I thought “Shawn, you should find that recipe and make it again!” ¬†And, this time, make it with Homemade Ricotta cheese…if you haven’t made that yet, DO IT! ¬†SO creamy & insanely delicious!

Veg Cann2

My hubby is returning from another fabulous work trip, this time to Brazil, so I thought I would make this for his welcome home meal. ¬†I am also excited to start cooking from Dana Cowin’s new¬†cookbook. ¬†I plan to try the recipe for Sweet Potato, Coconut + Five Spice Gratin and the Chili of Forgiveness. ¬†Oh and the Halibut with Red Coconut Curry. And the Pimento-Cheese Grits…and possibly the Pear + Brown Sugar Upside-Down Cake. ¬†Oh my! ‚̧

This was a fun post…reminicing about my food journey! ¬†I’ve come along way! ¬†Do you have a similar kitchen failure story? ¬†I would love to hear about it!

Until next time, Cheers! ~Shawn


Brine that bird Baby!


(the above picture was from my #summerofsalads post on Chicken salad but it’s a good representation of what your Brine will look like once you’ve placed in the bird)

Hey there! ¬†It’s the week before the big feast and I am sure alot of you are starting to think about how you’ll prepare your bird this year. ¬†I say Brine it first baby! ūüôā

I started along the Brining path, this past year, in an effort to tenderize the little hens we were getting from our friends who’ve been raising chickens the past couple of years. ¬†This summer, we still had a HUGE Turkey in the freezer from last Thanksgiving and I decided I wanted to try and Brine it before I Smoked it. ¬†People, let me tell you….it was SO juicy and delicious! ¬†And typically, I don’t really like Turkey! ¬†Now, if you can Brine it and then Smoke it, great, but if not, it’s still going to be amazing!


(the above picture was also from my #summerofsalads post on Chicken salad)

I was at the grocery store over the weekend and saw a woman and her husband talking about Brining their Turkey. ¬†The husband didn’t want to deal with it, but she had always wanted to. ¬†I saw her in the next aisle and told her to do it! ¬†I haven’t ever used a bag to do so (which is what they were looking at) and wouldn’t trust it not to break open, so I say, grab the biggest container you have and get at it! ¬†If the temperatures are right, you can carefully leave the container (covered) in the garage for the Brining process. ¬†Disclaimer: ¬†just be sure the liquid stays cold enough the whole time, 38 degrees or less. ¬†You don’t want to make everyone sick on Thanksgiving.

I did a little research for you; I use a big pickle bucket my hubby brought home from work and then place the whole thing in my garage fridge. ¬†(do you have a neighbor with a garage fridge you could borrow a bit of space from?) You can purchase the same type of container, from Home Depot for less than $3.00! ¬†Then you’ll have it for years to come, you can call it “Homers Brining Bucket” because trust me, once you Brine that bird, you’ll never go back! ūüôā

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 8.54.56 PM

So, you’ll first need to thaw out your bird like you normally do….I like to Brine for at least 24 hours, so plan one extra day in the process. ¬†Grab your big container and add the following to it:


(Makes one gallon of brine; you’ll probably need two at least…)

3 lemons, cut in half

1 cup kosher salt  (I used pickling salt the last time!)

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons whole peppercorns

3 (I used roasted) Jalape√Īos seeds removed

fresh herbs…sage, thyme, oregano, chives etc.

(if fresh is not available, use at least 1 tablespoon of dried basil, oregano & thyme)

1 gallon cold water

Mix everything up together, careful to dissolve the salt & sugar before adding your bird.  Remove your bird from the wrapper and take out the giblets.  (you can save them in a bowl in the fridge to add back into the bird if you want when you bake it)  Rinse the Turkey, inside & out.  Then carefully submerge the bird in the Brining liquid.  It may try to float back up on you, and if so, you can place a heavy sauce pan on top of it to keep it down under the water.  About halfways through the Brining period, grab a long utensil and stir the liquid around the bird.

Over the weekend, I saw a local news channel posted the process of Brining a bird and used a bit different ingredients in their Brine. ¬†As of this blog post, they still haven’t posted the recipe, but you can watch the video here.

Snoopy Thanksgiving

Now we are at T-day; carefully remove the bird from it’s bath, and place inside a clean sink. ¬†Rinse the entire thing with cold water to remove the salt water and excess herbs etc. ¬†I’ve even seen suggestions to soak the bird in cold water for a half hour or so, to help remove some of the salt. ¬†That way your gravy won’t be too salty. ¬†Place into your roasting pan, and bake at 350 degrees, for approximately 3 hours. ¬†Follow this process for a bird weighing 16-22 pounds. ¬†After the first hour, baste regularly (every half hour or so) and once the breast meat has reached a temp of 165 degrees, take it out. ¬†Be sure to let it rest before slicing into it. ¬†If you feel, during the process, your skin is getting too dark, cover it with a bit of aluminum foil. ¬†You can also start with it covered, say for the first hour, then remove it for the remaining time. ¬†I didn’t talk about seasoning the bird, hoping that you’ll have that covered okay…but definitely reach out if you need some suggestions.

Braised Potatoes

Looking for a few different ideas of sides etc. to have with your feast? ¬†Check out my post from last year; it contains some great ideas on twists & new classics. ¬†Also, I recently became obsessed with braising Potatoes….what?!?! Yep, they totally rock! ¬†If you want to divert from the traditional mashed potato action, try these. ¬†I got the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and you can find it here. ¬†(you’ll have to register to gain access to the recipe, but it’s worth it, trust me!)

Wine Thanksgiving 2012

Please share this post with family & friends…I would be so “thankful” if you would!

I am hoping that you enjoy a delicious, relaxing holiday with those you love. ¬†If you are headed out on Black Friday, be careful. ūüôā

Cheers,  Shawn

Summer of Salads, Chicken…

Smoked Chicken Salad REC

Prior to getting my smoker, Smoked Chicken would be something I would rarely get the opportunity to enjoy, but when I did…oh, I did! ¬†So, this year when we picked up our portion of chickens from our friends in Hugo that raise & process them for us, I knew some of these little babies were going in the smoker! ¬†We had a friend over the night we made them, and I had smoked three chickens, planning for dinner that night and then making BBQ Chicken sandwiches for a family get together the next day. ¬†This friend, whom I treasure, loved the Chicken SO much I was worried he’d eat it all and I wouldn’t have any left for the next day’s festivities! ¬†So awesome!

One thing I love to do when smoking or even baking my chicken, is to brine it the day before.  It helps to make the chicken much more tender and delicious!  The friend that does our chickens for us, shared the following brine recipe I highly recommend!


Brine Recipe:

Makes one gallon of brine.

3 lemons, cut in half

1 cup kosher salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons whole peppercorns

3 (I used roasted) Jalape√Īos seeds removed

fresh herbs…we used lots of lemon thyme, oregano, chives

if fresh is not available, use at least 1 tablespoon of dried basil, oregano & thyme

1 gallon cold water

Use a bucket or container large enough to hold the chicken and the brining liquid. ¬†I actually used a pickle bucket for my three chickens, but if you have a large pasta pot, or even a roasting pan, you can use that too. ¬†Just be sure to get most of the chicken submerged for most of the time. ¬†If you need to go in and move the chicken around, that’s okay too. ¬†Keep your chicken refrigerated & in the brine for 24 hours before cooking if possible. ¬†Once you are ready to cook the chicken, rinse it well under cold water and then add your rub or other seasonings. ¬†Dispose of the brining liquid and clean your hands, counter & etc. well!

chicken on the smoker

BBQ Rub recipe:

1/2 cup paprika

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons mustard powder

1/4 cup chili powder

1/4 cup ground cumin

2 tablespoons black pepper

1/4 cup granulated garlic

2 tablespoons cayenne ¬†(be careful, if you don’t like spicy BBQ, then dial back on this amount)

Jack Daniel's chips

Oh my gosh, can I just tell you about these chips?!?! ¬†A friend of mine recommended these Jack Daniel’s brand wood chips to me, when she heard about my smoker. ¬†I didn’t try them until recently, when I made this chicken actually, and now I want to use them all the time!!! They are GREAT! ¬†They are about twice as expensive as basic chips, but when you are making something special, splurge and get yourself a bag! ūüôā

Assorted chips

These WESTERN¬ģ BBQ Smoking Chips¬†were what I used initially and I really liked them. ¬†They come in a wide range of ‘flavors’. ¬†I bought this¬†Variety Pack my first time out.

Okay, so I know this post is titled Smoked Chicken, and I realize that not everyone has a smoker. ¬†So, I want to show you a couple of ways you can smoke, without the smoker! ¬†First, I have this Mini Smoker Box from Williams Sonoma and I love to use it on my grill! ¬†It holds a small portion of whatever chips you have, and takes about 5-10 minutes to start smoking, but it works great for steaks, fish, vegetables, burgers & other deliciuosness from your grill! ¬†And, oh my gosh, I totally want this Cast Iron Smoke & Sear Station¬†wouldn’t that be fun!

When I first bought my Western chips, variety box, it had a small smoker tray in it, made specifically for grills. ¬†They have a great video you can watch that shows you how to use the chips here. ¬†And if you don’t want to fuss with any of the above, you can also try using a couple layers of aluminum foil. ¬†The chips may burn up faster, so have a couple back up packs on reserve. ¬†If you are using a smoker, you’ll want to soak the chips before using them, but if you are just using them on the grill, you don’t need to soak them, unless you are grilling something that takes awhile to cook.

Okay, time to get back on track! ¬†This post is supposed to be about #summerofsalads! ¬†Ha! ūüôā

Salad Fixin's

So for this salad, you’ll want to gather your favorite greens, and then chop up your Smoked Chicken. ¬†I added Black Beans, fresh roasted Corn-cut from the cob, chopped¬†tomatoes, red bell pepper, hard boiled eggs and finished the salad with a small sprinkling of Parmesan cheese & crumbled Blue Cheese! ¬†(have I mentioned I am a cheese-addict?)¬†Be careful how much Blue Cheese you put on; you don’t want to drown out that smokey Chicken goodness! ¬†Add any combination of “salad fixin’s” you like! ¬†It’s your salad silly!

Smoked Chicken Salad up close

Now look at that beauty! ¬†I hope you’ll try some of my suggestions for “smoking” chicken on your grill soon! ¬†Let me know if you do & share what you tried!


Have a wonderful 4th of July & Happy Birthday America!

Cheers, Shawn

A family recipe, Hunkie Ribs…

Mise en Place

Greetings food-lovin’ friends!

Yes, I know I’ve been away awhile…I have been busy with family & work… the kind that pays the bills, so sadly my food blogging has taken a back seat this past month. ¬†I have also been getting ready for a couple great blog post series for the Summer, that I hope you’ll join me on!

Pulled Pork Salad

First, a “Summer of Salads” sharing all things entree salads with you. ¬†I’ll talk a little about the different types of salad greens, how to make some (mostly) light & healthy dressings and then share some of my favorite entree salads! ¬†Be sure to bookmark the hashtag #summerofsalads on Twitter so you can follow along!

And second, “Summer Sippers” a cocktail blog post series. ¬†I haven’t really done the cocktail thing in the past, but have started to really enjoy a good cocktail instead of wine some nights. ¬†Especially in the Summer! ¬†Again, bookmark #summersippers and I hope you’ll join me on both Summer series!

Summer Sippers

So let’s talk about Hunkie Ribs. ¬†I know, the name is strange. ¬†The dish is a bit as well. ¬†My husbands (partly Hungarian) father makes this dish and ever since I’ve been with my husband, he’s been making this for me. ¬†It’s mostly a winter dish, because it can be pretty heavy if you choose to eat it with mashed potatoes. ¬†I haven’t ever tried it on the grill (using my dutch oven or something similar) but might give that a go this summer. ¬†And you have to like sauerkraut to like the dish! ¬†Did you know, sauerkraut can be enjoyed on things other than hotdogs & brats?! ¬†Actually, you wouldn’t even have to eat much of the sauerkraut to enjoy the dish, as you’ll see, the ribs cook on top of the sauerkraut, soaking in all that deliciousness from the kraut! ¬†But come on, give it a try! ¬†I LOVE the sauerkraut mixed into my potatoes! ūüôā

Here’s what you’ll need:

Hunkie Ribs:

Pork Spare Ribs

Frank’s Kraut

Paprika (use any type, but we like both regular & smoked)

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

Garlic, granulated

Seasoned Salt, we use Lawry’s

Grab a big baking dish, glass or metal is fine. ¬†We like to use Frank’s Kraut when using sauerkraut. ¬†We’ve tried other kinds, but Frank’s is crunchy & has the best flavor. ¬†Open the bag of kraut and place in the bottom of the pan. ¬†On a seperate cutting board, cut down the ribs into 2-3 bone sections. ¬†Place those on top of the kraut.

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Take your¬†Lea & Perrins¬†and sprinkle over the ribs, generously. ¬†(you’ll want the ribs fully coated with it, so don’t be shy about it!)

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Grab the granulated Garlic and sprinkle the ribs with it, not too much, but enough so each of the ribs have some on it. ¬†Then sprinkle the ribs with the¬†Lawry’s¬†seasoned salt. ¬†Again, about as much as with the Garlic.

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Next step, is the Paprika. ¬†Now, we’ve used all kinds of Paprika over the years. ¬†Our favorite spice store, Penzey’s, carries four different kinds. ¬†You can use sweet, which is the most traditional, but add in Hungarian and/or smoked for an extra kick! ¬†You’ll want to thoroughly coat the ribs with the Paprika. ¬†See the picture above, the coating will be THICK. ¬†Trust me on this…you’ll love it when it comes eatin’ time!

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Once you’ve completed the Paprika step, wrap the pan in plastic wrap. ¬†Then cover the plastic wrap with foil. ¬†You want an air-tight seal on the ribs. ¬†The foil helps the plastic wrap from melting during baking. ¬†Place the ribs in the oven, set to 275 degrees for 2 & 1/2-3 hours. ¬†Low & slow baby.


When the ribs are done, the pan will look like this when you pull away the foil.  Be careful when pulling back the plastic wrap, that steam is gonna be HOT.  The meat should fall off the bone almost immediately. Serve this deliciousness over a bed of mashed potatoes or if you want to be healthier, next to a crisp salad!

Hunkie Ribs!

I am already working on my next post, more or less a wrap-up of the past month, food-wise. ¬†So hopefully you’ll see that in the next couple of days. ¬†I am hoping to begin the #summerofsalads series this week, with a great picnic salad for Memorial Day weekend!

Until then, ¬†I want to know….how do you like to eat sauerkraut?

Cheers, Shawn