Friday, December 04, 2009


Yep, weatherman is predicting our first snow of the 2009 season, and a possibility of our weather patterns returning to what they were 12 to 15 years ago. That means we could get 2 or 3 6 to 8 inch snows this winter! Yahoo, maybe I’ll get to dust the snow off my old sled in the basement and sand off the rust on the runners.

Anyway, the store was full of people with overloaded buggies today, and the road crews have already sprayed down the streets, so something is in the area. Could only be the smell of high expectations, but that’s okay with me too. It’s cold and damp, and getting colder and my pantry is full!

Judy cooked pinto beans a few days ago, soaked them over night, and then simmered them all day. By the time the cornbread was pulled from the oven, I could have eaten an oven mitt! They were good too, complimenting the cooked cabbage, homey, and meatloaf she had prepared.

So, today, after being out most of the early afternoon, she put together her world famous chili using the leftover beans, and adding the hamburger meat we bought at the crowded store.

I’m telling you, that chili, poured over a big hunk of leftover cornbread was unbelievably great! I asked her for the recipe for this post, but she is one of those good cook’s, who learned at the apron strings of her mother, that never uses a recipe – it’s all in her head.

I told her, “This chili is too good not to pass on the recipe for posterity!

So, she gave me a little pad where she had scribbled down the ingredients, but the first thing I noticed is…NO measurements!

Well, anyway, here is a good photo of the chili, and what she gave me, and, of course, my word that this was the best she’s ever made for me. She what you can do with these sparse instructions:

In a big pot put…

- Any kind of beans you like…we usually like a mix of pintos, kidney, and navy beans. The number of cans depend on the number joining you, or the number of days you want to eat chili again, and the amount of meat you use.

- If you are using canned beans, you can use the liquid from the beans, but drain the kidney bean juice off. Otherwise, there should be plenty of cooking liquid in the pot from cooking, and some extra water may need to be added. It’s your call, but remember how “juicy” you want your chili to be!

- With the beans still simmering, add in a small can of tomato sauce, and a can of fine-cut canned tomatoes.

In a skillet…

- Brown hamburger meat (you can use white canned chicken in a pinch, but it tastes significantly different, but good)

- When meat is almost browned, maybe just a little pink, with some grease still left in the bottom, add in a “heaping” tablespoon of minced garlic, 4 to 6 tablespoons (or to taste) of Extra Spicy Mrs. Dash. A package of Chili-O Seasoning, and several shakes of Worchester sauce.

Finally, when the meat is fully cooked and the ingredients are thoroughly mixed throughout, dump the contents of the skillet into the pot of beans! Stir and mix up thoroughly, and then simmer for about an hour, stirring often to prevent sticking and scorching.

Further suggestions to enhance the taste of your individual bowl of chili, use cornbread mixed into the chili, or use peanut butter on crackers on the side, or a small handful of peanuts directly into the bowl. Either way, or just plain, if done properly, this will be the best chili you’ve ever tasted.

Come on snow!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I went to lunch today with my wife and daughter, and it was our first time at Redbones on the River in Kingston, Tennessee. The luncheon turned into the day’s big meal!

The old home, situated across from the Kingston City Park on Watts Bar Lake, has been turned into a very nice looking restaurant, with beautiful shiny wood floors, dark wood tables and chairs, with just the right amount of light coming in from outside. You can also sit outside, on one of two decks (upper and lower), if you prefer the summer heat to refreshing air conditioning! Not us, we appreciate old fashioned AC!

There are sitting areas all over the place, including upstairs near the tastefully decorated bar, which features a good selection of pulls, including my favorite – Fat Tire? After the wonderful meal, I sneaked up the stairs to get a “bar shot” for my bar collection on Flickr.

We ordered the fried green-tomatoes as an appetizer and, wow, they were fantastic! They were those droopy, soggy kinds you get some places, these were crunch fried with a horseradish dip. They were simply a wonderful way to prepare your palate for your entrée.

Judy and I ordered half-rack of Baby-back Ribs, baked potato, and Spinach Maria, while Tracy wanted the Chicken Alfredo with broccoli.

We had thought about a club sandwich, a burger, or a salad for lunch, but after seeing all the steak, seafood, pasta dishes, we decided that lunch would be our dinner meal as well. There was no forcing us to only eat one meal today either. After finishing the generous meal, we were too stuffed for dessert, even though the Chocolate Bar Cake kept calling our names!

So, the next time you are looking for a classy place to eat, or just have drinks with friends, but don’t want to drive the 40 miles to Knoxville, check out Redbones on the River in Kingston. You’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


About 45 minutes west of Harriman, up on the Cumberland Plateau, is Cumberland Mountain State Park. We have gone there for years starting way back in the 60’s. It’s a lovely little state park with gently rolling hills, deep untouched forest with winding trails, a lovely lake brimming with fish, a huge swimming pool, lots of cabins and camping sites, and rustic sandstone lodge sitting right in the middle. Inside this main building is a wonderful kitchen that turns out delicious food almost every night, served up buffet style.

No, it’s not an ordinary buffet where all the selections taste like all the food was cooked in the same pot. This buffet has never failed to please all my senses: my vision, my olfactory, and my gustation! Seriously good tasting chicken, roast beef, BBQ, catfish, with all the vegetable and bread trimmings! Tuesdays are set aside for a seafood bonanza that includes: fried and peel-and-eat shrimp, scallops, fried and baked catfish, crab legs, and salmon cut in the shape of a crab shell and stuffed with crab stuffing! OMG folks, it was all great…and then there were the hush puppies!

The other offerings were coleslaw, a pea salad, a salad bar, chocolate cake, banana pudding, and soft-serve ice cream! Tuesday is not the only fantastic evening either:

Cumberland Mtn. Restaurant Dining Schedule - Open 7 Days a Week

Monday - Saturday: Lunch - 11:00 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. - Dinner - 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Sunday: All day - 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday - Seafood Buffet with All You Can Eat Crab Legs - 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Friday - All You Can Eat Catfish (baked or fried) - 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Saturday - All You Can Eat Rib Night - 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Monday, August 03, 2009


…but, hey, there are worst things to be addicted to I suppose!

As soon as my friend Jeff Wilson arrived in Harriman, we began his visit with a lunch feast at Midtown, Tennessee’s “Good Ol’ Days Diner” with hot dogs and burgers. The hot dog I had, pictured here was a delight with a sweet tasting slaw and corn nuggets. If you travel through this area (Intersection of Hwys 29 and 70), you must try any of the treats here!

After a day of hiking and sightseeing, we took Jeff to Big Ed’s Pizza in Oak Ridge, TN. Big Ed (Jr.) had expanded the draft beer selection to include two of my favorite pal ales, Fat Tire and Yuengling. I was absolutely thrilled and will go there twice as often now for sure. The pizzas were made to perfection, as only Big Ed’s staff has been making them since 1970. It is a must if traveling through East Tennessee – it’s an institution!

At breakfast the following morning, I started the day with a Ciabatta Breakfast Sandwich at Mimi’s Café at Turkey Creek in Knoxville. Between the great bread is an egg, grilled ham, bacon, garlic spinach, tomato, cheddar cheese, and citrus remoulade!

Jeff picked out the huge Chipotle Breakfast Burrito, which was stuffed with scrambled eggs, shredded beef, green onions, cilantro and black beans, all topped with chipotle sauce and melted cheeses, and served with red skin potatoes!

Jeff and I met Judy, Neena, Ron, and Corey at the Wild Wings Café that evening to cap off a wonderful day of shopping at the Smoky Mountain Knife Works, Bass Pro Shop, and Gander Mountain. Man, we were so hungry for some wings!

As I have documented, Judy and I went to Memphis with Jeff on Wednesday morning. GO HERE for two post on the wonderful time we had last week! In Memphis we treated ourselves to BBQ!

Our first outing was at Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs. The Rendezvous has been in Memphis since 1948. If dry-rub ribs are your weakness, then you must drop by there and pig (on pun intended)! You can see the guys working the BBQ beef and pork in the kitchen from your table. You’ll notice that there are just as many orders “to go” as dine-in! The place is a bee hive of activity. Oh yes, they ship too!

On Thursday night, we made it over to Neely’s Bar-B-Que (west). In February 1988, four brothers (Gaelin, Tony, Mark and Patrick) launched into the barbeque business. They opened their first restaurant in downtown Memphis, with only tables, chairs and one BBQ pit. The brothers started building a reputation of hard work, great BBQ and consistently good service. Four years later after a huge demand we expanded to an East Memphis location, which was opened in October of 1992.

To our delight, these “wet” ribs were sweet and delicious. We also tried the pull-pork and BBQ spaghetti! The spaghetti was a wonderful surprise for us all.

Well, I’ve made myself hungry, so I have to go now. I think there is some “chicken-chili” ready in the kitchen!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Lightly spray an 8X12 glass baking dish, and spread out half of a Pillsbury Crescent Big and Flakey Dinner Roll package, so that the bottom is covered.

Bake that layer at 375 degrees for 8 minutes and remove.

Then, using thin sliced deli ham
and turkey, like Hormel’s, (do not used smoked meat of any kind) layer generously over the baked layer.

Then place a layer of provolone cheese over the first meat layer.
Then place a second layer of meat over the cheese layer, and then another layer of cheese.

Cover the last cheese layer with the other half of the dinner rolls, making sure to completely cover the cheese, and bake again according to the full package directions.

Serve with chips and a small side of mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, or Dijon mustard for dipping!

It’s not exactly a pocket, but it taste just as good without all the extra salt!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Judy and I bought a medium size flank steak at the store this week, a green bell pepper, a large Vidalia onion, a package of McCormick Fajita Mix, a jar of Paul Newman’s Salsa, and a package of high fiber tortilla wraps. That’s all we used for this meal except for some garlic powder, some salt, and pepper.

I rubbed the steak in the fajita and garlic powder, sprayed it with olive oil, and let it set for 30 minutes.

I put the marinated steak on the grill with the setting as low as it would go, and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer went off I flipped the steak, and reset the timer.

Over medium heat, Judy then sautéed the green pepper and the onion pieces in olive oil, with salt and pepper.

When the timer went off the second time, I brought the steak in on a cutting board and let it set for 5 minutes. Then I sliced the steak, across the grain, into very thin slices. On plates I spread out an “Ole’ Xtreme Wellness 8 Grain Tortilla Wrap”, lathered mine with Miracle Whip and hers with sour cream, spread out a line of shredded cheese, layered on strips of steak, then covered those with the sautéed peppers and onions, and dabbed on the salsa.

I sprinkled a little more salt over the center of the wrap, and folded up the bottom and wrapped over each side forming the standard wrap roll.

On the side we had a handful of “LAY'S® Kettle Cooked Reduced Fat Original Flavored Potato Chips” and an icy cold Diet Mountain Dew! It was wonderful!

After a day of mowing, blowing off the driveway, taking off a load of garbage, and spraying the yard where the concrete truck had mashed my Zoysia Grass, I was starving and this meal filled the bill!

The steak turned out very tender and required only 30 minutes cooking on low flame! When you’re in a hurry, this is a great meal to satisfy your taste buds and get you back in the game…or through a nap!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


My wife Judy whipped this little ditty up the other day and no time, and it had a unique taste combination that we loved.

The most time consuming part of this meal was the shucking and pulling the whiskers off the yellow and white corn she bought. The corn-on-the-cob was wonderful with this meal. Around these parts we call them “rosin ears” (short for roasting ears)! Momma never hollered for me to run to the garden for some corn, or corn-on-the-cob, it was usually “James Paul, go pick me ‘bout six ‘rosin ears’ for supper!"

Judy first fried some chicken tenderloin, about 8 pieces, in olive oil and garlic, season with salt and pepper.

She sat the chicken aside to cool, before she chopped it all up in bite sizes, and then worked on washing, peeling, and cutting up a mango and some kiwi in to cubes and/or pieces. She then cut up some green onions (you can use shallots) and dumped it and on top of the bowl of fruit, which included a handful of washed seedless grapes.

All the while, Judy was cooking the brown rice according to the box directions. She timed this to be done when the dicing and slicing was all over.

She then dumped the chicken cubes and rice into the same skillet she used to cook the chicken in, and dumped in the bowl of mixed fruit and onions. She then blended in some low-fat plain yogurt, and about a 1/3 cup of fresh orange juice! What a combo of wonderful taste.

She then reached up and pushed start on the microwave, and start again for 6 minutes on the timer, and cooked the ‘rosin ears’ that were wrapped in wet paper towels. Yes, just 6 minutes!

This dish is best enjoyed either cool/cold or at room temperature with the hot buttered and salted corn-on-the-cob. It’s yummy and good for you!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


OMG! Go to Wal-Mart, of all places, and buy you a box of Innovasian Cuisine’s General Tso’s Chicken Breast (if cooking for two – two boxes if cooking for 4 or more) in the frozen food section! It comes with a spicy sauce that is out of this world – kind’a sweet and lots of spicy kick!

Pop the chicken into the oven as the directions indicate. Remove them and add the included sauce for another 5 minutes before finishing the dish.

However, the dish needs something else – that’s where ol’ Mushy comes in!

In a skillet or large “stock pot”, add about ¼ cup of EVOO, and turn the heat up. Take about a 3rd of the box (if cooking for two – ½ if for 3 or more) of Barilla “Plus” Thin Spaghetti and break the spaghetti into 3 pieces. Drop the spaghetti into the hot EVOO, pour in about 1 cup of chicken stock, sprinkle with salt, and put in 4 or 5 whole pieces of garlic, dash in about a table spoon of soy sauce, and about 1 heaping table spoon of butter.

As the liquid begins to boil, crush the garlic with a large spoon, and stir the mixture until all the liquid is absorbed and the spaghetti becomes limp.

When the chicken is ready (after pouring the enclosed sauce over them), dump the chicken and sauce into the pot with the spaghetti and mix thoroughly.

Man…you talking about a taste wake up, this dish will make you say “WOW!” out loud!

Look at my Katie Bug enjoying the finished dish!

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