Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hill Country Pot Roast

Geranium in my kitchen.
 The weather has turned cool. Time for some comfort food.

Hill Country Pot Roast 


1 eye of round roast beef 
1 recipe of Hill Country Rub*
Large Dutch Oven
Cast Iron Skillet
Olive Oil
1 large onion
5 carrots peeled and chopped in half
8 potatoes
1 envelope Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
Directions for making Hill Country Rub

Combine in a bowl:
1 1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/4 black pepper
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper

til mixed well and use to coat the outside completely of a roast beef

Package up any remaining and put aside in an airtight container.

Here is how my hill country rub came out looking. I canned up the left overs.
This is a Texas specialty and Texans know how to prepare beef! 

Once the roast beef is coated brown the outside to sear it in a hot cast iron skillet
with olive oil in the bottom coating it.  This can be done in your Dutch Oven but I do NOT recommend it. It nearbout ruined my Dutch Oven.  This time I took it out on the
grill and used the side burner and the iron skillet and kept the mess to a minimum!
Works better and faster.

Once that roast beef is seared on all sides place it in the Dutch Oven.
Pour the pan drippings over it.

Add the veggies peeled and chopped around it.
Add one envelope Lipton beefy onion soup mix
Add a kettle full of water.

Add to an oven preheated to 400 degrees.
Allow to roast for 1 1/2 hrs then reduce heat.
Simmer for additional hour or so until tender.

Makes a wonderful pan gravy.

This is my families favorite way for me to fix a pot roast.
It is savory and every morsel gets eaten!

***Cleaning Tip***
The time before when I nearly ruined my Dutch Oven enamel...
I learned that Polident denture tablets make short work of cleaning a mess off enameled cookware!  I cleaned this thing in 5 minutes flat after soaking it with four polident tablets
hot water and a drop of Dawn dish liquid. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chessie's Veggie Pasta Variations

Cleopatra the man-eating plant.  She's on the porch.
Eat up or she may eat you AND your dinner.

Chessie's Veggie Pasta--Variations on a Theme
One of our favorite restaurants in Virginia is The Depot Grille in Staunton.
They have a dish I love called Veggie Chessie Pasta er sumptin' like dat.
The last time I ordered it .. it was not as good. It was very very greasy.
It was flavorless.  I knew I could learn to make it myself at home and improve it.
And I did!
Great Success!


3 large uncooked chicken breasts
1 bottle Newman's Own Balsamic Vinagrette Salad Dressing
meat mallet
plastic wrap
cutting board or butcher block
one can shoepeg corn
1 medium tomato--diced
1 jar capers-drained
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 packet Knorr Parma Rosa Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups milk
olive oil
Sicilian Herb seasoning
Parmesan cheese grated not powdered
1/3 cup Pinola nuts
2 cups basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
pinch of fresh rosemary leaves
pinch of fresh lemon thyme leaves 

Place each chicken breast in between layers of plastic wrap
Pound on board with meat mallet until flattened and tenderized
on both sides.
Place in glass baking dish and marinate coating well
with balsamic vinagrette dressing. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes in refrig.

Homemade Basil Recipe:
 2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves minced
salt and pepper to taste
* optional .. add two sprigs fresh rosemary
and two sprigs fresh lemon thyme 

Puree basil and herbs in food processor
Add other ingredients and puree together.

 Pre-heat your grill
Turn on your water to boil for pasta
I used the side burner on my grill to saute' the veggie mixture since I needed to
watch the chicken closer than I needed to watch the boiling pasta.

Boil your pasta til al dente' and drain. Set aside over steam to keep hot.
Grill chicken breasts til browned. Hot all the way through and juices are completely clear.
Takes 10 minutes or less over high heat since you've pounded the chicken flat.

Grilled Balsamic chicken

Veggie  Mixture:
 1 small can shoepeg corn--vacuum packed with little juice or drained.
1 drained can capers
1 medium tomato diced and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons pesto

Saute' in skillet over high heat corn, tomatos, capers.
Add pesto.
Do not add a single bit of extra salt! Capers are extremely salty.
Their tangy, salty taste is wonderful, but you don't need any extra.

Veggie Mixture

Parma Rosa Sauce:
Take the envelope of Knorr Parma Rosa Sauce
and follow the directions on the back. At my age they are tiny and hard to read.
Here is how it goes.
Place 1 1/4 cups milk in a non-stick sauce pan with contents of sauce mix envelope.
Whisk together well over high heat.
Add 1 Tbsp butter
Whisk continually until the sauce comes to a rolling boil and thickens.
Takes about 3 minutes.

Slice the grilled chicken into strips and plate up your dish in one of a couple ways.

Grilled Chicken Parma Rosa--Kenny's favorite. Vegetables are against this man's religion.

Chessie's Veggie Pasta--vegan style!

Chessie Veggie Pasta with Grilled Chicken--This was very flavorful and satisfying!

White Wine pairing for this meal, but I think its too sweet.
I'd prefer a Pinot grigio or a Cavit Moscato which is not as sweet.

Sitting on the porch having a good after dinner conversation with Kenny ... and this appears. FIRES!  Our fire bug neighbor Tim was out there burning stumps in the dark.
He saved them til dark so it would be prettier! We're a cultured bunch of hillbillys!
Thanks for the after dinner entertainment Tim! :-)