Category: Recipe


2022 Week 52 – Merry Christmas!

We all have a lot to be thankful for this year. I started a new job in June that I absolutely love, and I hope to be there for many years to come. I left the rat race that is consulting in favor of an operations position with a not-for-profit I’ve worked with for the past ten years. It was the easiest job transition I’ve ever made. One of the perks of this new job is they close the office between Christmas and New Year. So essentially, I have two weeks for R&R before getting back into the swing of things in 2023.

It’s Full

Delish has an article called “The Most Iconic Holiday Cookies In Every State,” I don’t know if I agree with the cookie they picked for Indiana. Still, I’ll give them credit for at least tying it back to an Indiana product essential to the ingredient list. On the other hand, they did nail Ohio with the ever-famous Buckeye (although I’d be hesitant to call it a “cookie).

Double Chocolate Crinkle Cookies?

The latest version of Google Chrome has a handy new feature that helps you search your Bookmarks, Open Tabs, or History simply by putting an @ in the search bar. I’m not one who usually has many tabs open, but those of you who do are sure to like this new feature!

ReviewGeek.com

And finally… I love a good episode of Hot Ones, where celebrities eat progressively hotter chicken wings while being interviewed by the host, Sean Evans. The End of Year episode is a good one, with none other than the Elf himself, Will Ferrell. Enjoy!

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

I’ll have to admit, this was a new one to me, and I wasn’t prepared to love it as much as I do. First of all, I’m not a fan of corn tortillas. I think their texture is odd, and the flavor can be overpowering. Secondly, there are not a lot of ingredients that go into this, so I was expecting something on the bland side. I was wrong…

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken comes from Texas, known for BBQ and Tex-Mex. Some Texians believe this Casserole is the state’s “official casserole” if such a thing exists. All I know is it was much better than I expected, and we ate every bit of the 9×13″ dish over the course of a couple of days.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken *
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can diced tomato and green chiles (Rotel works great)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 corn tortillas torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese **
  • Sour Cream on the side when you serve (optional)

* I poached 2-3 chicken breasts in chicken broth and heavily seasoned it with Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning. Bring to a low boil and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes, or until an internal temperature of at least 165 F. Let cool for another 30 minutes in the cooking liquid (off heat), then dice into bite-sized chunks.

** You can use more cheese; I certainly did.

Preheat oven to 350 F and adjust one of your racks to the middle of the oven.

Over medium-high heat, sauté bell pepper and onion in a large skillet for 5-7 minutes. Make sure your skillet can contain all the ingredients listed above (bigger is better here).

Add diced chicken, Cream of Chicken and Mushroom soups, Rotel, and all the seasonings. Mix well and heat through on medium-low heat.

Lightly grease a 9×13″ casserole dish and add 1/3 of the torn corn tortillas to cover the bottom. Add 1/3 of the chicken mixture and spread evenly. Top with 1/3 of the cheese.

Repeat 2 more times until you have used all the ingredients. This is where you can add more cheese or even a different cheese, like parmesan, if you prefer.

Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes.

Serve with a small side of Sour Cream if you’re feeling adventurous.

This casserole reheats well in the microwave, and it should freeze well if you don’t eat it all in a couple of days. The corn tortillas really added to this dish; without them, the flavor wouldn’t be nearly as good. Some alternate ingredients are jalapeno peppers, fresh garlic, and more bell pepper.

What’s your favorite casserole? Share a link in the comments.

2022-Week 42 & 43 – Catching Up

leaves hang on rope

I didn’t post last weekend because I was out of town for a wedding (and I forgot due to everything going on). So this week is a catch-up post covering a few things from the past 2 weeks.

The trees are looking quite colorful this week, and I was going to try & go camping this weekend, but most of Indiana is under a Red Flag Warning. This means no fires, and I’m sorry, but my idea of camping is building a nice fire to cook on and sit next to into the evening. I also don’t want to get into a situation where someone else starts a fire and get caught up in it. So because of the burn ban, I decided to stay home and catch up on a few things…


AppleTV

Last week Apple released some updated products, one of which is a new AppleTV. The AppleTV is the hub of our entertainment system (and has been for years), but it’s one fault is a really bad remote control. It’s so bad that I use a Harmony Ultimate remote to control the AppleTV. The last version of the AppleTV had a redesigned remote, but I held off because I had a solution in place. Well, the latest iteration, utilizing USB-C charging and a major processor chip, led me to order the upgrade. I should have a delivery waiting for me in Early November & I’m looking forward to trying out the new remote and increased performance of the AppleTV Hub.


If you love watching food travel shows, you’ll love these resources that help you locate a restaurant you’ve seen on TV. This is especially helpful when you travel, and you’re looking for something different


And finally… It’s a great time to try a new burger. The Jucy Lucy is a cheese stuffed burger that is amazing. I picked up the burger press and waxed paper sheets shown in the video below (I didn’t try them smoked yet) & they turned out PERFECT! I think this is going to be my go-to burger for the forseable future.

2022 Week 5 – Quiet and Comfortable

low angle photography of flock of flying birds

Our “dusting” of snow this past Friday turned into a few inches and seemed to catch a lot of people off guard. There were several accidents around town including a few interstate shutdowns. I’m happy that it was a short commute to the office and back so I missed all the excitement.


I’ve been seeing a lot more Automated License Plate Readers (ALRPs) pop up around central Indiana. The company responsible is called Flock Safety and they have entered into contracts with a bunch of police agencies in the area. They work by scanning License Plates as well as noting the make/model/color of vehicles that pass by their watching eye. This data can be referenced by local officials to determine who was in an area in the past or look for vehicles in real-time in the event of an active emergency. Some neighborhood Associations have been installing them as well to keep track of individuals entering and leaving the area.


Earlier this year I upgraded the tried true Bose Quiet Comfort 15 (wired) headphones I’ve had for years to the new QC45 (wireless) headphones. The initial impression was nothing short of *WOW*. I had been using the QC15 headphones mostly for travel and times when I needed to really isolate myself from the outside world. Most other times I relied on my AirPod Pros for day-to-day use.

Bose QC45 Headphones

One of my favorite features of the AirPods is the Transparency Mode. This lets the outside world in while you listen to your media. The Bose QC45s have a similar feature called Aware Mode. The build quality of the QC45 is top notch and I’m looking forward to many years of service. If you’re in the market for a pair of wireless over-the-ear headphones they are worth considering.


And finally, if you’re a fan of Pizza Hut Pan Pizza, Americas Test Kitchen shows you an easy way to make it at home in a cast-iron skillet (you have one of those, right?). This recipe looks like a great thing to make on a Sunday night to enjoy leftovers the next day!

2022 Week 3 – Settling in for the Winter

It’s the NFL Wild Card weekend, and there have been some great games played these past two days. But, unfortunately, the Colts blew their chance to go to the playoffs last weekend with an embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.


The only thing I like about the cold winter weather is the food we fix during that time. Comfort foods like casseroles, stews, and pot roasts seem to taste better when we’re stuck inside on a winter day. I just updated my Pot Roast recipe that’s been on the site for years to now include dried mushrooms (vs. fresh) and tomato paste. This adjustment resulted in a much more flavorful broth and some nice textures from the rehydrated fungi. If you end up trying the recipe, let me know what you think!


And finally, Marques Brownlee and his team took a Tesla, a Mustang Mach-E, and a gas car on a 1000 trip to see which car could make the trip the fastest. The results were interesting & show just much more infrastructure is needed to make (non-Tesla) electric cars viable.

2021 Week 52 – Looks Like We Made It!

It’s the final Sunday of 2021 & it’s time for another Year in Review! I wanted to bring the blog back to life this year and post at least once a week. I missed a few weeks throughout the year, but overall I’m pleased with how I was able to keep things active. Along the way, I kept a list of ideas to discuss, so I should always have some content as I attempt to keep this up in 2022.

The weekly format seems to work well as it allows me to summarize the previous 7-days and add some additional content that appears relevant (or fun). As I did last year, this post will be a summary of the past year. It’s been another wild year with Covid and all the VAX/Boost discussions but we’re in the home stretch. Next Sunday will be the first post of 2022!


January 2021
I turned an old Mac into a Linux machine (and still use it)
President Biden was sworn into office
We had sushi in Fortville
I cooked Mushroom Bourguignon for the first time

February 2021
I shared our family favorite Scalloped Potato Gratin
Started visiting A2Z Cafe again for lunch (Closed on Monday)
The Bon Appetite Test Kitchen falls apart
Clancy’s opens in the garage Food Hall
We visited Indy Tacos

March 2021
Discovered a Vegan Cheeseball that fooled everyone I served it to (AmazeBall)
Dropped Lass Pass for BitWarden (and never looked back)
Hoagies and Hops opens a new location in Fletcher Place (now closing on 12/31)
Life in Indy launches
I start playing Disk Golf (Like Ball Golf only better)

April 2021
We discover J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (although I mentioned him on the Blog in 2010)
My First COVID Vaccination at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saraga plans to open a store in Castleton (still not open)
Baseball returns and I actually watch it (Go Reds!)
I order a TidByt (it was delivered the day before Christmas, review coming soon)
I finally ate at Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery (free cookie Monday)
More Disk Golf (I’m hooked)

May 2021
I visit the Gus Grissom Monument In Mitchel, Indiana
Hiking at  Hemlock Cliffs
More Disk Golf at a Monastery in Southern Indiana
I finally try Chris’s Ice Cream And fall in love with their Chorizo Burrito
First camping trip of the year at Indian-Celina Lake Campground

June 2021
Bought a WOOL T-Shirt (and LOVE it)
Who could forget the 17-Year Cicada Brood
Built a Pi Weather Station (use this daily)
More Disk Golf
Travel to Cincy and visit the War Birds Museum, and Jungle Jims, for fathers Day

July 2021
Road Trip to the Allegheny National Forest (So much rain)
Found a proper Beef on Weck at the Bar-Bill Tavern (I have dreams about this sando)
Visited Niagara Falls (nicer than I remember)
Visited the Zippo/Case Museum
FINALLY saw Rock City (only to find out it’s not the one I saw signs for growing up)
Walked the Kinzua Bridge State Park in Kane, PA

August 2021
Reviewed the Termacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller  (this thing works)
Started the Keto diet
Downloaded the Grammarly app (I needed it)
Updated the Blog Theme

October 2021
Reviewed Upland Brewing (Jalapeno Blue Cheese Sauce)
Bought an iPad Pro (FINALLY)
Reviewed Grammarly
Reviewed the 99% Invisible Podcast

September 2021
MORE Disk Golf
Looked at the WP Recipe Maker plugin (too much work)
20 years since 9/11
677,737 American deaths attributed to COVID so far
Visited San Diego

November 2021
Bought a new Apple Watch
Updated my Kindle Paperwhite
Watched the Donut King Documentary
Visited Findlay Market
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden (READ this)
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald (then READ THIS)

December 2021
We made it up to Condado Tacos at Hamilton Town Center
Checked out the Guggman Haus brewery
Purchased Grammarly (worth the $)
Reviewed the new Kindle paperwhite
The Union Jack Pub MOVED!

So that’s it for 2021. We covered a lot of ground this year and started some new things. The Keto “diet” has turned into more of a “watch those carbs” lifestyle and I’m happy to report I’ve had some moderate success. Disk Golf was something new this year and I really enjoyed playing various courses around the area. San Diego was a nice escape, even though I was there for work, and the Allegheny National Forest was one of the nicest camping trips I’ve had in a while, despite all the rain.

Here’s to another year, and thanks for reading!

2021 Week 35/36 – 4-Day Weekend!

waving flag of united states of america

I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend. I took an extra day off work to make it more like a vacation. The weather was amazing, and it was nice to get out and be active without melting in the 90+ degree heat. I just realized this post should be for Week-36, so I must have missed a post somewhere along the way… I also updated the theme to something a little fresher than what we’ve been using for several years.

I visited a new-to-me Disc Golf course north of Tipton, Indiana, over the weekend. The Heartland Disc Golf Course is located on the grounds of the Heartland Church in Sharpsville, Indiana, and was built in May 2020. Although they only have 9 baskets, they have long and short tee pads that allow you to play a round of 18-holes. There was just one other group there when I visited, and after they left, I had the place to myself for the better part of an hour.

I’m hoping to expand the recipe section of the website and have been looking at WordPress plugins to make things more professional looking, like other sites with recipes.. I’ve started using the “WP Recipe Maker” plugin and edited our recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip to reflect the new format. It’s going to take a little time to get all of our existing recipes into the new format but going forward, it should be easier to add new ones that we find along the way.

I was hoping to get to the Farmer and the Flea outdoor market this weekend, but the rain on Saturday kept us inside. However, I’m planning on visiting next weekend and will share any unique finds I discover.

And finally, if you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, you might be interested in the First teaser trailer for Rick and Morty live-action starring Christopher Lloyd, Jaeden Martel.

Scalloped Potato Gratin

I’ve made this dish around the holidays for years and brought it out last weekend to go with a baked ham we were eating for dinner. It’s a pretty straight forward potato dish but the flavors and textures are really incredible. You can use as much, or as little, thyme and garlic as you like. I think it’s better on the more side.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more to finish
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a saucepan, heat up the heavy cream with the thyme, garlic, and nutmeg

While the cream is heating up, butter a 9×13″ casserole dish. Place a layer of potatoes in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the cream from the heat and ladle a little over the potatoes and top with some of the Parmesian. Make 2-3 more layers, bake uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese browns.

*A mandolin slicer (or a food processor with a slicing disk) is the best way to get uniform slices that will cook evenly.

2021 Week 3 – Snow!

close up photography of snowflake

We’re 3-weeks in & it’s been an interesting start to the year. The political mess and COVID-19 continues to top the news. It’s been cold and cloudy in Indianapolis this past 2 weeks and we finally got some measurable snow! It’s either going to be another “mild” winter or we’re in for something big. Only time will tell. I just put some 3-Peak rated tires on the Subaru so I could go for a big snowstorm right about now.

Some really great football games on last weekend and the CFB national championship goes to Alabama! It was looking like it was going to be a good game at first but Ohio State just couldn’t keep up. Just a few more weekends and the NFL will be over too… BUT NASCAR starts on February 14th! (and we always have soccer).

Do you eat in your car often? I saw this device being used by a mobile food reviewer and had to have it (especially since it’s only $12!). – Laptop Steering Wheel Desk It works surprisingly well and helps the crumbs & sauces off your lap.

You need one of these!

Total Wine & More opened a new store in Nora mid-November (first one in the Indianapolis region) and if you haven’t checked it out you should! It’s one of the largest liquor stores I’ve ever been in and it’s designed very well. Crowds have been heavy but there’s plenty of room to move about and keep your distance from others. If you’re a wine or Bourbon fan you’re sure to find something you like there.

Total Wine & More in Nora

Tried a new recipe this week (Mushroom Bourguignon) and it was a huge hit. There is a lot of prep but the cooking goes pretty fast. Probably something to fix on a weekend and enjoy throughout the week. Looks like the recipe I used from NYT Cooking is behind a paywall but this one is pretty similar.

Remix of a 2020 YouTube hit. That cat cracks me up!

Most Popular Post (Ever)

Just an observation…  I’ve been blogging for a while and I’ve covered a lot of content. I find it interesting that the most viewed post on IndyScan (12,867 views since it was published in 2010) is my recipe for Marsala Sauce!  It doesn’t even show up on the top-5 pages in Google but people still seem to find it with regularity.

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