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Odd Craving

I’ve had a nagging craving for something since about an hour after dinner. Couldn’t articulate what it was until about 15 minutes ago.

“Welsh Rabbit!” My mind finally alighted upon something I haven’t eaten in decades.

My family used to eat this for dinner a few times a month. It’s a tasty, rather filling meal that costs a few pennies per person. I’ve made it a few times since I left my mother’s house, but don’t think I’ve made it in the 20 years since Irish Woman and I became a couple.

This recipe is how I remember my bad-side-of-Boston Irish mother making it. It shares a few things with Welsh Rarebit, which I have had when traveling to the United Kingdom and enjoyed with a glass of dark beer. But it’s the trailer-park version, so my description of it to my Brit friends horrified them.

Anyway, I’m the only one up, so I took 5 minutes and made a small batch just as a snack. It turned out exactly as I remembered it, so I’ll have to make it for lunch sometime and teach Boo how to make something tasty for very little money or effort.


  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of bacon fat or butter
  • 1 small can condensed Cream of Tomato soup
  • Salt and pepper (Go easy on the salt, especially if you’re using bacon grease. The canned soup will have quite a bit of salt in it)
  • Liquid (beer, beef broth, water, depending on tastes and budget)
  • Cheese, finely grated (Cheddar is best, but store brand Velveeta will do in a pinch when you’re making dinner with what you can find in the corner of the cupboard)
  • 1 or 2 pieces of toasted sandwich bread

In a small saucepan, melt the fat, then add the onion. Season with salt and pepper, then cook the onions until they just start to caramelize. You want them soft, translucent, and just starting to brown. The onions will contribute flavor and texture, but not crunch.

Add in the tomato soup concentrate, and stir thoroughly. Add enough of your liquid so that the sauce is just a little thicker than a cup of tomato soup. Heat until the sauce is simmering.

Sprinkle in one or two handfuls of cheddar a little bit at a time. Stir each sprinkle into the sauce until it melts, then add a bit more. Your sauce is done when the color goes from deep red to an orange-red. Let sauce come back to simmer, then remove from heat.

You can serve this by tearing the toast up into a bowl and spooning sauce over it. Alternatively, you can lay your toast on a plate and cover it with sauce. I’m a dipper, so I just take triangles of bread and sop up some sauce.

Really good for chilly weather meals and snacks.

Dinner Tonight


  1. 1 Large white onion, sliced into thick rings, then quartered
  2. 1 pound sliced mushrooms
  3. 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  4. 2 cloves garlic minced
  5. 1 pound stew meat in 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. 1 can Rotel tomatoes

Sauté bacon until done to your liking. Add in onions and garlic. Sauté until onions soften. Add in mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms start to give up liquid. Add stew meat and brown on all sides. Pour in rotel and mix thoroughly. Simmer until reduced to about half of liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with steamed vegetables of your choosing. Will also go well with rice. Serves 3 to 4

Recipe – Baked Apples with Cranberries

Boo is learning to cook.  Today, he learned how to smoke a turkey on the charcoal grill.  Not wanting to waste all of the heat left over when the bird was done, we made dessert.


4 large apples, cored, sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces. I used 3 Fuji’s and 1 Granny Smith.
Lemon juice
Half cup light brown sugar,
Half stick of butter, melted
Cinnamon to taste
Handful of dried cranberries

Lightly coat apples with lemon juice in bowl to keep them from browning.

Mix in butter, cinnamon, cranberries, and brown sugar

Lay down two layers of aluminum foil 12 to 15 inches long. Pour mixture onto center of tin foil. Fold aluminum up in a drugstore wrap.

I used the residual heat from the charcoal/wood in our grill to cook the package for an hour. If you want to use your oven, I’d experiment a few times at around 325F to figure out how long to bake. We just let it cook in the grill while we ate.

The apples and cranberries were soft, but not too mushy. The butter and brown sugar made a really tasty sauce without being sticky or overly sweet. Some might like whipped cream or vanilla ice cream with it, but it was good on its own.

Irish Woman said it could probably have included walnuts or pecans. We’ll try that next time.

Made enough for three or four servings.

Recipe – Lemon Seed Cake

So, Boo is re-reading The Hobbit, and wanted me to make ‘seed cake’ like Bilbo served the dwarves. I looked up a few recipes, and it looks like it’s supposed to be a scone with caraway seeds.  Knowing that my sprog wouldn’t eat that, I winged it.  This is basically a pound cake with a little something added.  It came out dense, but with a good texture and flavor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup cold milk
The zest and juice of 2 fresh lemons

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup poppy seeds

Cream the butter and sugar together, then stir in eggs and milk.  Add in lemon zest and juice and mix thoroughly.

Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda together.  Add 1/3 at a time to wet ingredients.  Scrape bowl as necessary. Add in seeds, then mix just until just moistened.

Pour into greased loaf pan.  Bake on center rack of pre-heated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.  A knife inserted into the center of the loaf will come out clean when done.  Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Dinner Tonight


1/4 to 1/3 pound leftover beef roast, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups beef broth
1 cup warm water
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped.
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, deseeded and coursely chopped.
1 cup pearl barley, dry.
1 1-pound bag of frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine broth, water, beef, onion, and peppers in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and add barley.  Allow to steep in broth for 30 minutes.  Prepare mixed vegetables per directions on package, drain and add to soup.  Turn heat back on, low, and bring back to a simmer.

Serve with bread.  Makes two to three servings.

Dinner Tonight


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 turkey breast or 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
10 white mushrooms, cut to your preferred size slices
1 large white onion, minced
1 Braeburn or Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 3.5 ounce Golden Curry packet, broken into pieces.  Use whatever spice level you prefer.  Medium was flavorful, but not spicy.
1 pound frozen peas, steamed
2 cups dry white rice
3 cups water

Prepare rice according to your tastes.

In a wok or large saute pan, heat oil, then add meat, onions, and mushrooms (If this is leftover meat, it can be added after the water later in the recipe).  Once onion has softened and become translucent, add curry and water.  Heat, stirring often, until the curry dissolves completely.  Add apples, peas, and meat, if it is already cooked.  Heat throughly and let simmer for several minutes.  Serve over rice.

Pork Roast with Potatoes and Apple Gravy

It’s officially chilly out there, and it’s time to make something that will warm us all up.


1 3 to 5 pound pork roast
1 bell pepper, with stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
1 large white onion, chopped fine
1 granny smith apple, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes (skin on or off depending on your tastes)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound potatoes, whole if they are small, coined if they aren’t.
2 cups cooking bourbon (No need to use the good stuff here)
1 can cream of mushroom soup, or 1/2 pound of sliced mushrooms and milk or cream if you’re better at this than I am and want to make better gravy
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the bell pepper and onion in the bottom of a crock pot.  Sprinkle the apple and garlic on top of the onions.  If you’re making real mushroom gravy, add the mushrooms to this layer.  Arrange the potatoes in a layer above the apples. Place the pork roast on top of the potatoes.  Pour the bourbon over the top of the pork roast.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook in the crock pot on medium heat for 6 to 8 hours.

When the pork roast is done to your desired tenderness, remove, along with the potatoes.  Use a potato masher to break up any remaining chunks in the drippings left in the crock pot.  Transfer drippings to a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  If you’re making real gravy, stir in the milk or cream and simmer until you get the consistency you want.  If you’re like me, stir in the can of cream of mushroom soup and simmer until the lumps are dissolved and the gravy comes to the desired consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste, although if you used canned soup, you shouldn’t need to add any salt.

To serve, place several of the roasted potatoes on a plate, mash with a fork, top with the pork, then ladle on as much gravy as you like.  Serve with a good vegetable or a salad, and your favorite crusty bread.  Recipe feeds four with leftovers.

Chicken and Rice Soup


Carcass of a turkey or chicken, with the juices from roasting it (Hooray for leftovers!).  If you don’t have juices, a quart of chicken broth will be a good substitute.
1 large white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Chili powder, to taste (I used about a tablespoon)
1 1/2 cups dry rice
2 cups water
Chili peppers (I used 2 pablano, 2 Serrano, and 2 jalapeno).  You can either seed or not seed, depending on the amount of heat you want in the soup.
1 cup stewed tomatoes
Juice of 2 lemons and 2 limes
Salt, to taste


Put the chicken/turkey carcass and its juices into a crock pot, along with enough water to submerge the bones.  Add onion, garlic, peppers, and chili powder.  Set on medium heat for at least 8 hours, stirring occasionally.

Combine the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Shut off and allow rice to absorb the water.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the bones and skin from the broth.  Once the rice has absorbed all of the water in the saucepan, transfer to the crock pot.  Allow to soak in the broth for one hour.

30 minutes before serving, heat the tomatoes in the microwave for approximately 1 minute.  Add to crock pot and mix with rice / broth mixture.  Just prior to serving, add the lemon and lime juice and salt to taste.

I served it with fresh fruit, quesadillas, and chips and salsa.


Pear Upside Down Cake


  • 6 to 8 soft pears, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup lime infused vodka (or your favorite flavor)
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • 1 angel food or yellow cake mix, batter made according to recipe (If you prefer, you can make cake batter from scratch, but this is quicker and easier)

In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter.  Add in the brown sugar and pears, stirring until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add the vodka and cinnamon.  Simmer until mix reduces between by 1/3 to 1/2, stirring occasionally.  If your pan is big enough, pour the cake mix evenly over the top of the fruit sauce.  If not, carefully transfer the fruit sauce to a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, then pour cake batter evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Remove from oven and allow to cool until just warm before serving.  Goes well with whipped cream or ice cream.

Dinner Tonight

This is a twist on my stew recipe.  It’s a cold, snowy, blowy day, and I needed something to bring up everyone’s core temperature.

Beef Stew with Chilis and Tomatoes


1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup seasoned flour, either homemade or commercial
Bacon grease or your favorite pan lubricant
2 large white onions
3 to 4 carrots, washed, peeled, and cut into coins
4 celery stalks, washed, split in two, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 12 ounce bottle of your favorite beer.  Anything with a lot of flavor will work. This might also work well with a good strong red wine.
2 12 ounce cans of beef broth
2 12 ounce cans of Rotel or 1 quart of home-canned tomatoes with chilis and lime
1 pound fresh potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes
Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper

In a large bowl, combine the seasoned flour and the beef until the beef is evenly coated.

In a large soup kettle, melt enough bacon grease over medium heat to thickly cover the bottom of the kettle.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute until the onion softens and starts to become transparent.  Add the meat and flour.  Brown the meat thoroughly, stirring almost constantly.  The flour will want to stick to the bottom of the kettle, so scrape a lot.  If necessary, melt in a little more bacon grease.  Once the meat is browned, add the beer, broth, tomatoes, and potatoes.  Mix thoroughly, scraping the bottom of the kettle to get all of the cooked flour out into the sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes or until the beef and potatoes are thoroughly cooked.  Season with the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.

Goes well with biscuits or fresh-baked bread.

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