Sunday, March 25, 2007

Quicky Burritos My Way

Today, with all of the things we have to do and lack of time for cooking easy recipes that come out good every time are necessary. That is the case with Quicky Burritos.

Ok, I said to use fresh ingredients, but this is a quick meal, so go to the grocery store and get a package of 10 frozen burritos or chimichangas, I really don't care what kind. Pick out something you like. Next, get a 12 to 15 oz can or jar of enchilada sauce, some shredded cheese (8 oz of four cheese Mexican works) and a can of crushed or other tomatoes.

You will need a glass or other baking pan, about 9 by 12 or so. Grease the pan. Open the burritos and put them in the pan. Arrange them as well as you can. Now, pour the tomatoes over the burritos and then the enchilada sauce. Cover with the cheese.

Put in oven on about 375 until the top is crusting over and the burritos are done. Put a fork in one toward the middle and hold it there for a while. If it comes out hot they are done. I know, the science of that is astounding.

Put a can of diced green chilies over the burritos as well.
Use salsa instead of enchilada sauce.
Use spicy Mexican stewed tomatoes.
Make your own burritos or enchiladas:

OK, this is not tough. Buy some chicken and cook it up, mostly white meat, but dark will work as well. Once done, bone it and shred it. You should have a couple of pounds of chicken to make this work. Add half a pound shredded cheese (see above), half a can or jar of enchilada sauce and a can of diced green chilies to the chicken and mix well. If you want, let this mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. Get a package of flour or corn tortillas and put some of the mixture in each. Wrap them up and place them in a greased baking dish. Fill the dish and
cover with the rest of the enchilada sauce, some canned tomatoes and more cheese. Bake until done. You can replace the chicken with beef, pork or ostrich. OK, maybe not the ostrich.

This takes a lot more time and planning, but the results are superior to the manufactured ones!

Serve with salsa and sour cream and a good beer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Aging Meatloaf?

OK, tried a meatloaf recipe this week. I pulled it off the back of the Progresso Bread Crumbs. I will post it later. I used a bit too much pepper, but it turned out OK after sitting a while in the refrigerator. A lot of foods tend to taste better after you let them sit a day in the refrigerator. That happened with my previous meatloaf as well. This one has an Italian taste to it and the pepper overwhelmed the other flavors right after taking it out of the oven. After letting it sit in the fridge for two days I had it last night and it had mellowed a lot and was quite tasty.

This happens with a lot of food that involves the mixing and matching of ingredients like meat, veggies and spices, I think. Some flavors, of course, are great right out of the pot, but most of these and many of the slow cooker foods I make taste better the second time around.

I am making myself hungry.

Makers of Sodas Try a New Pitch: They're Healthy

This is an article on the New York Times about soda pop.


Published: March 7, 2007

Healthy soda?

That may strike some as an oxymoron. But for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, it's a marketing opportunity.

In coming months, both companies will introduce new carbonated drinks that are fortified with vitamins and minerals: Diet Coke Plus and Tava, which is PepsiCo's new offering.

They will be promoted as ''sparkling beverages.'' The companies are not calling them soft drinks because people are turning away from traditional soda, which has been hurt in part by publicity about its link to obesity.

While the soda business remains a $68 billion industry in the United States, consumers are increasingly reaching for bottled water, sparkling juices and green tea drinks. In 2005, the amount of soda sold in this country dropped for the first time in recent history. Even the diet soda business has slowed.

Coca-Cola's chief executive, E. Neville Isdell, clearly frustrated that his industry has been singled out in the obesity debate, insisted at a recent conference that his diet products should be included in the health and wellness category because, with few or no calories, they are a logical answer to expanding waistlines.

''Diet and light brands are actually health and wellness brands,'' Mr. Isdell said. He asserted that Diet Coke Plus was a way to broaden the category to attract new consumers.

Tom Pirko, president of Bevmark, a food and beverage consulting firm, said it was ''a joke'' to market artificially sweetened soft drinks as healthy, even if they were fortified with vitamins and minerals. Research by his firm and others shows that consumers think of diet soft drinks as ''the antithesis of healthy,'' he said.

These consumers ''comment on putting something synthetic and not natural into their bodies when they consume diet colas,'' Mr. Pirko said. ''And in the midst of a health and welfare boom, that ain't good.''

The idea of healthy soda is not entirely new. In 2004, Cadbury Schweppes caused a stir when it unveiled 7Up Plus, a low-calorie soda fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Last year, Cadbury tried to extend the healthy halo over its regular 7Up brand by labeling it ''100 percent natural.'' But the company changed the label to ''100 percent natural flavor'' after complaints from a nutrition group that a product containing high-fructose corn syrup should not be considered natural, and 7Up Plus has floundered.

The new fortified soft drinks earned grudging approval from Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group and frequent critic of regular soft drinks, which it has labeled ''liquid candy.''

''These beverages are certainly a lot better than a regular soft drink,'' he said. But he was quick to add that consumers were better off getting their nutrients from natural foods, rather than fortified soft drinks.

A survey by Morgan Stanley found that only 10 percent of consumers interviewed in 2006 considered diet colas a healthy choice, compared with 14 percent in 2003. Furthermore, 30 percent of the consumers who were interviewed last year said that they were reluctant to drink beverages with artificial sweeteners, up from 21 percent in 2004.

Even so, several industry analysts said soft drink makers were smart to experiment with new types of carbonated diet soft drinks to stimulate sales. Besides the vitamin-fortified diet sodas, PepsiCo is introducing Diet Pepsi Max, with increased caffeine and ginseng, and Coca-Cola has started a new marketing campaign for Coke Zero, emphasizing how closely it tastes to Coke Classic.

''Just to ignore it is not the answer,'' said Lauren Torres, an analyst at HSBC. ''You want to grow what you have going for you. That's an effort that they have to make.''

John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, an industry newsletter, said it made sense for soft drink companies to ''tiptoe'' toward health and wellness, given consumer interest in low-calorie drinks and so-called functional beverages, which are supposed to deliver some health benefit beyond any basic nutritional value, like orange juice with added calcium.

Fortified sodas like the new Coke and Pepsi drinks will most likely remain a niche, Mr. Sicher said. But he predicted sales of diet soft drinks over all will increase in coming years with improved marketing, better taste and new products.

He noted that Diet Dr Pepper, made by Cadbury Schweppes, has grown quickly with a simple but effective marketing campaign that says it tastes like regular Dr Pepper, but without the calories.

''Consumers like a product with good taste and no calories,'' he said. Diet sodas ''will begin rebounding with all the diet innovation we are seeing and more marketing focus on diets.''

The number of cases of soft drinks sold continued to slide last year after its 2005 drop, said Mr. Sicher, who monitors industry sales data.

Over all, diet soda accounted for 29.6 percent of carbonated soft drink sales in 2005, up from 24.7 percent in 2000, Mr. Sicher said.

The efforts to turn around diet soda -- and soft drinks in general -- are particularly important for Coca-Cola, since, along with energy drinks, they account for 81 percent of the company's revenue worldwide. By contrast, Pepsi has diversified more into other food and beverage lines, including Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats and Gatorade. Soft drinks account for 31 percent of revenue for PepsiCo beverages in North America; Pepsi-Cola, however, remains by far the company's largest brand worldwide.

Diet Coke Plus will be introduced this spring, and will cost the same as regular Diet Coke. Tava will be available to consumers this fall; PepsiCo officials say they have not determined the price.

In discussing the sluggishness in diet soda sales, Dawn Hudson, president and chief executive of Pepsi-Cola North America, noted that over the last decade, consumers grew tired of drinking nothing but colas like Coke and Pepsi and sought other beverages. She said the diet category was more ''cola-centric'' and provided fewer alternatives than regular soda.

But recently, she said, noncola diet drinks like Diet Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist Free have done well.

Tava, the new drink, will be lightly carbonated and offer exotic flavors, she said. It will contain vitamins B3, B6 and E, and chromium.

''Lower-calorie beverages are clearly the growth area,'' she said.

Katie Bayne, senior vice president for Coca-Cola Brands at Coca-Cola North America, said lackluster marketing and lack of innovation hurt the diet category. But she too predicted that new products and clever marketing would reinvigorate diet sales.

''In today's world, it's not about what we choose to sell, but what consumers want,'' Ms. Bayne said. Diet Coke Plus -- which will contain niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium and zinc -- ''is right for a certain group of consumers,'' she said.

While it is too soon to know whether consumers will buy the idea of a vitamin-fortified diet soda, soft drink companies are trying to find other ways to reposition their products as healthy. For instance, all of the major soft drink companies are furiously trying to develop a no-calorie natural sweetener to allay concerns about artificial sweeteners.

''I think it is the holy grail,'' said Ms. Hudson of Pepsi-Cola. ''But it has to taste great.''

Thursday, March 15, 2007

$1,000 Pizza in NY? Where else?

Actually, I think Paris or Rome would be more likely locations for this. Maybe Hollywood, but a chef in New York City has come up with a pizza costing $1,000. It has caviar and other "stuff" on it. I don't eat a lot of pizza, but I do know I like it with regular sauce, veggies and sausage, plus lots of cheese. Caviar is just not my thing. Raw fish, etc. are not part of my culinary suite, so to speak, so you will not be seeing sushi on this blog, either.

Just ate left over spaghetti with Italian sausage for lunch yesterday, then bow-tie pasta for supper and boy, I am hungry today. I mentioned this to someone and they pointed out that this is normal after loading carbs the day before. Now I just have to control my eating as my appetite is out of control.

Where are the new recipes, you ask. Well, I have been lazy and not cooking this week, so none to report on. I will, however, have something to report on by the end of the weekend, as the wife is leaving me alone for about 6 days. I plan on trying a couple of new things and will report on them then. Keep tuned.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Is Food today Crap?

OK, I have a proposition, that for the most part the food we eat today is processed junk. It has been chopped, formed and presented in what seems to be an appetizing manner. I walk down the aisle of the local super market and look and I see a bunch of crap. Prepared and frozen dinners, processed chicken patties, beef patties and the like. Have you eaten a fish stick lately? There is more breading then fish for God's sake.

Then there is the diet shit. Yep, I said shit. It is even worse, but they make you think it is better for you. I hate it.

Here is an article about a book that has just been republished. OK, it is about Australian food, but for the most part the poor Aussies are more American about food than Americans are. One Continuous Picnic by Michael Symons is a book about food and how we waste all sorts of energy and food in getting our food today. No, it would not be easy or maybe even possible to turn back the clock, but that does not mean you have to bow down to the "man".


  1. When possible, buy fresh, uncooked food and cook it yourself.
  2. NEVER buy the anything with artificial sweetener in it if you can help it.
  3. DO NOT eat deep fried foods if you can help it. I will only eat French fries once a week.
  4. Drink REAL coffee, not a mocha with coconut and pineapple in it
  5. Eat bread with stuff in it, never white bread.
  6. Learn to cook one new dish a month and use one new spice in it

OK, that is ambitious and possibly contradictory in a way, but food is important. OH, and if you can help it, never eat alone. It is not healthy, either.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Pork & Cider Stew Redux

Made a pot last night... I will have it for support tonight. It smells as good as ever and Debbie tasted it and pronounced it delicious. She is my most honest critic, so I feel satisfied!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Pork & Cider Stew

This is one of the dishes I like to make the most. First, it is really easy and second, it has a unique combination of tastes. The onion, apple and sweet potatoes all combine to make special savor to it. The pepper adds a little bit of kick as do the sage and thyme. Overall, it is one of the best dishes I have ever made in a slow cooker.

2 medium sweet potatoes or yams
3 small parsnips or carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup chopped onion (one large onion)
2-lb boneless pork shoulder (stew meat)
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and diced (most any apple will do)
1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each dried sage and thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup apple cider or juice

Mix the sweet potatoes, parsnips, onion, pork and apple in the slow cooker. Stir flour, salt, sage, thyme and pepper in a small bowl to mix. Add cider. Stir until smooth and pour over meat and veggies.

Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours. I have never had it take that long. When pork and sweet potatoes are tender it is done!

Serve with some dark bread and butter. It is rather sweet, so wines are not good for this dish. Beer works better, something dark. This is great on a cold, rainy winter day in SE Alaska.


This is one of the most decadent desserts I have ever eaten. It is also very fattening, but then, most very good desserts are! I was introduced to this at the first birthday party where I work. We have birthday parties for just about everyone who has birthdays there and this one was provided by my main assistant, who made it himself. It is really really rich.











This is very good and makes more than enough for a large group, about 12 - 14 servings at least. Refrigerate afterwards and you can heat it in the microwave as well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Food Nazis

OK, I think everyone has heard about the banning of goose liver pate (I had to check how to spell that) and the elimination of other foods or food ingredients by cities or other government agencies. Trans fats seem to be the biggest public enemy. Another interesting idea is "extreme eating". Recently in a discussion I had a man tell me that "you should never, ever, eat pork". Why? He said he had read an article about how bad it is for your liver or something.

No food is intrinsically bad for you unless you eat too much or are allergic to it. I love pork and chicken and eat a little beef. I can do without turkey. I have cut back dramatically on eggs and cheese, but still wolf down a slice or two on toast, which is where I get my calcium, as I do not drink milk. I also avoid eating after 6 or 7 in the evening if I can, as I think that is another thing that puts on the pounds.

As far as good food, most things you can make for yourself are OK. Processed foods, like microwave dinners and frozen, prepared chicken patties are out; too much sodium and other crap. For the most part I try to eat real food and especially like slow cooked or baked foods, but succumb to the temptation of fries once in a while, I have to confess.

So, what is making us fat? I think sitting on our butts too much is one thing and a reliance on over-prepared foods. Diet pop is another villain, I think, but the jury is out on that one.

Just don't try to take my coffee away from me...

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Lance's French Onion Soup

Lances Best in the World French Onion soup!!

I intended to save this for later, but a friend asked me to post this.

It is ironic that I am a maker of this soup, as I grew up hating onions. Well, as you can see, I got over it.

This recipe was taken from an old cookbook and adapted to my taste. It makes a great onion soup, one anyone can make and enjoy.

What you need:

6 oven proof bowls
5 or six medium sized yellow or white onions (not sweet onions)
a loaf of French bread...or any crusty bread
about a pound of Swiss Cheese
A bottle of good white wine...
6 cups of beef can make your own or use beef bouillon
vegetable cooking oil
butter or margarine
A large pot
A medium size pot
Salt and pepper
A large ladle
A sharp knife
A corkscrew (If you are using wine that does not require a corkscrew you cant make this soup, so stop now!)
A stove with oven
4-6 hungry people

Start by cutting up the onions, not dicing, but leaving them in half rings or quarter rings. They don't have to be uniform, either. Next, prepare your beef broth, however you decide, bringing to just below boiling. While this is heating put about 2 tablespoons of oil and a big dollop of margarine or butter in the big pot. Add the onions, stirring and coating them. Stir them occasionally, until they are rather limp and transparent. while this is going on open the wine and pour a nice big didn't think it would all go in the soup did you?? Get the cheese out and grate it (the cheese goes good with the wine, too) The onions are done by now, so add 1 teaspoon of sugar, stirring some more.

By now the broth is hot. Add it to the onions and stir. Drink some more wine. Let it simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Uncover and simmer another 10 minutes. While you are waiting, cut the bread, butter it and get the bowls out. Pour yourself more wine. Eat some bread...with the cheese now, its great with the wine.

Using your ladle and much care, put the soup in the bowls. If you have had too much wine this can be tricky. Put a piece of bread on top of each bowl, then the cheese on top of that, making sure the bread gets soaked well. Place the bowls in the broiler, about 3 inches below the heat. Broil until the cheese bubbles.

Serve with the rest of the bread and white probably should have bought two bottles if you have company who likes wine. White Zinfandel goes great with the soup, too. Oh, you can double the recipe pretty easy, and I tripled it once...keep the sugar down, if you do. Everything else is pretty straight across the board...except the wine...only drink one bottle while preparing it.


Beer Burgers from the Basement

Most interesting food have stories behind them. This recipe is the result of an experience my roommate and I shared over about 4 months in a very small apartment in the basement of a house in Bismark, North Dakota. We were Vista Volunteers and got very little money for our trouble and paid very little rent for the place. As he had a girlfriend I got the bed in the living room, where my head ended up under the stairs with a bookcase at the head. We got food stamps as part of the program and bought a lot of macaroni and cheese and hamburger. One night, after a few beers, I was making hamburgers on the tiny gas stove in the cramped and crowded kitchen and tried putting some beer in with the burgers. It worked and we had really moist, good tasting burgers as a result.

Over the years I have adapted and modified the recipe and it has only gotten better! My kids loved them and so do friends when I have made them.

1 to 2 pounds of hamburger (lean but not extra lean)
Beer (anything works, but I prefer Amber, like Alaskan Amber or Corona Amber)
Worcestershire sauce (the good stuff)
Pepper/salt to taste
Large skillet with cover
Additions I have tried:
Onions sliced and separated into rings
Green or red bell peppers
Cheese: cheddar, jack or pepper jack

Heat the pan. Make patties with 1/4 to 1/3 pound of hamburger, making a depression in the center into which you pour Worcestershire sauce, then mix into meat. Alternately, put the burgers in and the beer and then add the Worcestershire, or both... Put patties in pan, letting them just start to cook. Add enough beer to cover bottom of pan plus about 1/4 inch. Put in veggies if desired and cover. Use your own judgement, but it does not take long for them to cook. Take off cover, turn and press the burgers down and stir the veggies around. When they are about done put the cheese on and let it melt some, then dish things up, using the onions and/or peppers as topping. Bacon works well of course. As with any burger you can dress them up any way you like!

So, there you are, my beer burgers.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Chicken Adobo Ketchikan Style


I first ate Chicken Adobo at the Galley Restaurant in Ketchikan, Alaska a number of years ago and loved it. It is spicy, tasty and has lots of onions in it. Well, I have been searching for the secret to the unique flavor of this recipe for some time and finally think I found it, coconut milk. This recipe is modified from the original found at, but not a lot. It lacked onions and had too much sauce when done. Another thing is they use apple cider vinegar. I got good Asian white vinegar and dark soy sauce at the local Asian grocery and have used that in my various Adobo attempts and used it in this one. I highly recommend these over the garden variety vinegar and soy sauce.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds cubed pork meat or one chicken cut into pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Asian vinegar
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Two medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely ground*

*This is the heat of this dish. You change this as needed. I did not use it the first time, but will next time.


The original recipe had you putting an entire quart of chicken broth in and left out onions. How can you have Adobo without onions? Anyway, I made it the way it says, but added the coconut milk at the beginning and used the full 4 cups of broth. It worked fine, with the exception that it was too juicy for me. Three cups may work out just fine and I will try that next time.

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, and cook the pork or chicken until evenly browned
  2. Mix the garlic into the meat, and cook 1 minute, until tender. Pour in the coconut oil, chicken broth, soy sauce, and vinegar. Place the bay leaves into the mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and cook 1 hour, or until the pork is easily shredded with a fork. (For a thicker consistency, blend a small amount of flour with coconut milk, chicken broth, or water, then stir into sauce.) Make sure the meat stays moist and covered with the liquid. If meat looks like it's drying out, add a bit more chicken broth or water.
  3. Serve over white or brown rice with a salad and good, cold beer.

Why this name?

Food is what keeps us alive. You can live without love, companionship, even without a house over your head if you can find a good, deep cave to call home. But, without food, we are dead, just gone. OK, water is nice to have and air, but even those are no good without nutrients.

So, is this going to be about sucky French cuisine and things you can't make unless you have a gourmet kitchen. NO! This blog is for good, solid, easy to cook, delicious food. No organic crap or anything like that and if you are far phobic you may as well leave, because I cook and recommend real food!

No, this is not a restaurant blog either, as I live in Ketchikan, Alaska, which is one reason I like to cook for myself, since most of the restaurants here suck.

So, that said, I hope you like my recipes and rants about food. If you have any you want me to try and pass along let me know!