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Monday, December 21, 2015

Grandma's Vege-Chicken Casserole

At the end of the holiday season, you get a lot of stuffing mix on sale at the grocery store. So here's something you can do with all that stuffing. It makes a casserole that's tasty with leftover cranberry sauce.It's based on a Betty Crocker chicken casserole recipe that some grandmother or other made up for a quickie way to stretch out some leftover chicken.  It's perfect for making a large dish from a can of veggie-chicken.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can Loma Linda Chik'n Chunks, Worthington Fri-Chik, Worthington Diced Chik, Loma Linda Fried Chik'n
  • 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
  • 1 package stuffing mix bread crumbs (don't use the spice mix unless the bread crumbs are unflavored)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated cheese. 
Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.   
  2. Place diced vege-chicken in a bowl with stuffing bread crumbs and mushroom soup and mix it up evenly with melted butter.
  3. Spread mixture over the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. 
  4. Top with shredded cheese. 
  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.
Serving Suggestion:

This is one of those make it on Friday and take it to potluck on Sabbath dishes. It reheats well AND it actually tastes better the next day.This is your basic cover it with foil potluck dish; great for reheating.

© 2015 by Tom King

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sheila's Famous Semi-Secret Vege-Chicken Salad Recipe

Vege-Chicken Salad on my favorite Oatnut Bread

I have a recipe for vege-chicken salad that even carnivores will love.  - SK


INGREDIENTS:  
  • 1 box of chick nuggets from Morning Star. 
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup sweet relish 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp celery seed
Directions:
  1. Boil two eggs. Cool them down, peel and grate and set aside.
  2. Finely chop up vege-chicken nuggets. It must be the Morning Star kind of nuggets and it must say "nuggets" not patties on the box. These should stay frozen until ready to use then you can thaw in the M/W just long enough to thaw but still be a little cold. I like to use a food processor to grind them up but if you don't have a processor you can use a plain grater.
  3. Add grated egg to nuggets and mix up.
  4. Add 1/2 to 1 cup Mayo and 1/2 to 1 cup Miracle Whip and mix well.
  5. Chop into small pieces 1/2 onion, 1/2 bell pepper. and I/2 cup celery.  Add them to the mixture.
  6. Add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp celery seed. Stir into mixture.
  7. Add 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish and mix everything well.  
Serving Suggestions:

You are all done! Serve as sandwich spread or as a dip for Christmas with Ritz type crackers. I never add any extra salt but you may want to use garlic SALT or table salt. I promise it's so tasty too!

Sheila King © 2015

Note from Tom:  


This vege-chicken salad is one of our family's favorite picnic treats. It's easy to transport in a big Tupperware container and make sandwiches out of when you get there. Everybody who's ever tasted it raves about the stuff. 

It's also a quite forgiving recipe. Even I can make it. You can vary the amounts of ingredients to taste. If you take out the celery, just add more celery seed. If you take out the onions, just add some onion powder. If you don't like bell pepper, well you're just a Philistine is all.  - Tom


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Vege-Pigs in a Blanket


Here we have the Adventist vegetarian take on "Pigs in a Blanket". This is an easy breakfast potluck or a fun dish to add some variety to a traditional Sabbath potluck.  Better yet, it's easy to make. Here's how.

Ingredients:
  • Biscuit dough (I make my own, but you can use canned biscuits as well). You can also use Crescent roll dough as well.
  • Worthington Saucettes,  Worthington Super Links, Worthington Vege-Links, Loma Linda Big Franks, Loma Linda Linkettes, Loma Linda Little Links, Morning Star Farms Sausage Links
  • Cheddar or American cheese
Directions:
  1. Roll out your biscuit dough flat - a quarter to half inch thick.  Cut in strips a little less wide than the links you are using as shown above.
  2. Place vege-link (whichever kind you want to use) on the strip of dough as shown. The Saucettes, Little Links and Sausage Links give it a more breakfasty taste. If you want this for a lunch or supper, you can make bigger blankets for the longer vege-weiners. It's like pre-made hot dogs.
  3. Place a strip of cheese beside the link.  You can use pretty much any cheese variety you want - even tofu cheese if you want to go full vegan.
  4. Roll the link and cheese in the dough, cut the roll loose and press the end into the dough to hold it together as shown in the picture. 
  5. Bake at 350° until it the dough cooks brown on top and the cheese melts as shown in the photo at the top.
Serving Suggestions:

You can serve this with breakfast food like cereal or scrambled eggs or hash browns for a breakfast potluck. You can also serve them like hot dogs with beans, potato salad, corn and fried potatoes. You might even try these for a Pathfinder fund-raiser.

© 2015 by Tom King



Ranch Fried Vege-Chicken

I like cranberry sauce with vege-fried chicken even if it's not Thanksgiving.

This is more of Sabbath Dinner special than it is a potluck unless you have a lot of big cans of Fri-Chick or Chicken Patties.  This is a really simple to do recipe, especially if you aren't adept at frying chicken already.  Here's how it works.


Ingredients:
  • Loma Linda Fried Chik'n, Worthington Fri-Chik, Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Chicken Patties, or Loma Linda Chicken Patties
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Ranch salad dressing seasoning mix (powdered)
  • Olive Oil or vegetable oil
Directions:
  1. Scramble eggs in a bowl with a wire whisk
  2. Add flour and Ranch salad dressing seasoning to a second bowl and whisk together lightly. Don't use the entire seasoning envelope. A tablespoon or two should work nicely.
  3. Remove vegetarian chicken from can or package and pat the pieces dry with paper towels.
  4. Set up your frying pan and heat oil till it's ready to add the chicken.
  5. Dip the dried vege-chicken in the egg wash, then in the flour and seasoning mix, then place in the hot oil.  Cook till brown, turning once.
Serving Suggestion:


That's it.  After you've fried up a bunch of these, serve with the rest of your meal.  I love vegetarian chicken with mashed or baked potato, some peas, pea salad, or some other vegetable. A green salad goes well with Ranch Vege-Chicken. I love vegetarian baked beans with it too.


© 2015 by Tom King

Shepherd's Pie Variations


LL Taco Filling Shepherd's Pie


There are a lot of ways to do Shepherd's Pie. This is a super-easy one for a potluck. You may have to show people how to fix it on their plates, but it's really a tasty one dish meal much like that SDA staple - the haystack.

There are a variety of vege-meats that work for this dish. You can even use plain textured vegetable protein if you season it up like vegeburger.  Ultimately the barbecue sauce give it the flavor. This dish is really three in one and has always been a King family favorite. You can even fix it up for people so they don't have to assemble it. It's up to you. I like to make mine from separate bowls of potatoes, vegeburger and mixed vegetables. Here's how it works.

Ingredients for Taco Filling version (without mashed potatoes ingredients)
 
Ingredients:
  • Mashed potatoes - (See "Mama's Mashed Potatoes")
  • Frozen or canned mixed vegetables
  • Loma Linda Taco filling, Loma Linda Beefless Chunks, Loma Linda Redi-Burger, Morningstar Farms Recipe Crumbles, Worthington Vege-Burger
  • Bulls-Eye or KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce.
  • Tomato Sauce (for the Loma Linda Taco Filling version)

Directions:

1.  Make up a big pot of Mama's Mashed Potatoes or fix some up your favorite way.
2.  Heat up a big pot of mixed vegetables or put together your favorite mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn, green beans, Lima beans, etc.).
3.  In a large skillet pour in your vegemeat straight out of the can or bag. If you use the LL Beefless Chunks, pour off some of the gravy.  Brown the vegeburger or chunks or crumbles till it looks well cooked.  With the Taco Filling version, add a little tomato sauce to take down the Mexican spices a little bit before you add the barbecue sauce and cook it in a little bit.)
4.  Pour barbecue sauce into the vegemeat to make a kind of barbecue gravy.
5.  Set the skillet out on the counter alongside the mashed potatoes and mixed veggies in this order - potatoes, barbecue vege-meat, and mixed veggies.
6.  If you'd rather make it as a single dish, do this.  In a large casserole or two or three if you make a lot, put a bunch (that's a technical term used by famous chefs) of mashed potatoes into the casserole to make a bed for the other ingredients. Then spoon a layer of barbecued vege-meat and a layer of mixed veggies.  Cover with foil and you can reheat it in the warmers at church as a single casserole dish.


The LL Beefless Chunks version of shepherd's pie.


This is a really tasty dish and one of those King Family favorites. It's in our cookbook.  This is another one that people will scrape the dish clean. The picture to the left is made with either Morningstar Farms Recipe Crumbles or NEAT burger or any other brand of vegeburger. The Recipe is in my Sept. 1, 2016 blog. I have forseen it!   ;-)

© 2015 by Tom King





Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vege Pene Stroganoff

Add some veggies and garlic bread and you've got a nice supper.
This is admittedly an adaptation of a more traditional stroganoff recipe. The beautiful thing about what our forefathers used to call "made" dishes is that there is room for adapting the recipe to what you've got on hand.  This can be made with almost any sort of pasta you want. I chose pene pasta because I was out of egg noodles, but it works either way. It works with several types of vege-meats. This one is pretty adaptable.

Ingredients:

Directions:
Get a great big bowl for mixing the pasta. It's very messy as you can see!
  1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Should be slightly al dente'. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, drain the juice from the Vegetarian meat can into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Brown Beefless Chunks in butter, margarine or olive oil. If you use Choplets or Vegetable Steaks, cut them into strips before browning.
  4. Put browned vegetarian meat into large mixing bowl.  Use the skillet to saute the onions and mushrooms. When ready, add to browned vege-meat in the big bowl.
  5. In skillet add tablespoon or so of flour and stir into olive oil. Heat till it starts to thicken. Add the liquid from the vege-meat can and allow it to thicken slightly. Add evaporated milk, sour cream and allow to thicken again. Add water to the sauce till it thickens again. Add water a little at a time till you have a nice saucy consistency. 
  6. Pour the pasta into the big bowl with the vegetables and the vege-meat. Mix and then add the sauce. Stir in olives and you're done.
As I said you can use several different noodle-like pasta types and any of several beefish vege-meats. Choplets probably make the best stroganoff dishes. It's pretty easy to make, sits well overnight, travels well and is easy to expand to makes lots and lots of delicious pasta.  Sprinkle a little Parmesan on it when you serve it up and it's really nice.

How cool is that?

Tom King
(c) 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

King Hacienda Taco Enchilada Bake




I call this the King Hacienda Taco Enchilada Bake to differentiate from the King Ranch (no relation) dishes I’ve been posting.  So that you do not confuse this example of Tex-Mex cuisine with that developed on the famed South Texas Rancho Deluxe, let me specify that the King Hacienda is rather less imposing.  We are the other King Family enterprise which consists of a pair of Texas ex-pats living up here in liberal Washington State. It's a sumptuous 1 bedroom hacienda located over a garage deep in a South Puyallup cottonwood swamp, just an ash cloud’s throw from Mt. Rainier where Sheila lives with her husband, Tom and Daisy the Wonder Dog.

You may notice that my King labeled dishes tend to have a certain cheesy quality to them. If you object to cheese, you are certainly free to use grated tofu, grated soy cheese or anything else you can find that’s of a cheesy texture and which melts. It is my own belief that cows are quite proud of their cheddar products and don’t mind me using them to create Tex-Mex dream dishes for celebratory purposes.

The King Hacienda Taco Enchilada Bake is a lovely dish that I based on a Krysten Schwartz recipe on tastykitchen.com.  I simply vegetarianized it. The recipe doesn’t call for a lot of spices. I use Loma Linda Taco Filling which is already spiced up. The rest of the flavors come from the ingredients, which are as follows:

Ingredients:

  • Small can or ½ large can of Loma Linda Taco Filling
  • ½ large onion diced
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Picante sauce
  • Small can tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel mild)
  • 10 corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Carmelize diced onions in skillet then add taco filling and brown
  3. In small bowl mix sour cream, tomatoes & green chiles and Picante sauce
  4. Spray the bottom of a 9x12 casserole dish with spray cooking oil and add a few little dabs of Picante sauce.
  5. Lay 3 or 4 corn tortillas over the bottom of the casserole dish
  6. Add a layer of cooked onions and taco filling
  7. Spoon in a layer of the sour cream/picante/chiles mix
  8. Add a layer of grated cheddar
  9. Add a second layer of tortillas. (Tortilla chips will work too, but will make the dish saltier)
  10. Add the rest of the taco filling and onions
  11. Add the rest of the sour cream/picante/chiles mix
  12. Top with cheddar cheese and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. If you are going to reheat it for potluck the next day, pull it out before it browns on top, then heat until the cheese starts to brown on top just before serving.

Note:  This is a great way to use up leftover vege-taco meet after a taco supper or something. I can also get two of these enchilada bakes out of a single large can of Loma Linda Taco Filling – a nice contribution to a big potluck. This dish is even better if you make it the day before. The flavors permeate through the dish and give you a lovely panoply of tastes in every bite.

Have a Happy Potluck!

Tom & Sheila King
© 2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Southwestern Veggie Burgers



This was a fun sort of vegeburger recipe and turned out really tasty.  We had a giant can of Loma Linda Taco Filling and only used about half of it when we made tacos. Sooooo.....

I'm hungry for vegeburgers and fresh out of regular vegeburger, so I thought, "Why not come up with a Tex-Mex vegeburger.  I already know how to give regular vegeburgers a Tex-Mex flavor, but I wonder if Taco Filling will give it a little more bite?"

Here's what we came up with in the El Rancho de' King kitchen.

What You're Going to Need:

Can(s) of Loma Linda Taco Filling (or however much you have left from Taco Night)
Eggs
Flour
Oatmeal (optional for texture)
Chopped onions
Chopped jalapenos (optional)
Mono-unsaturated oil
Hamburger Buns  (# depends on size of group)
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Avocado
Pickles
Mayo/Salad Dressing
Ketchup
Picante sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese or Cheese slices (if you want cheeseburgers - cheddar is best)

Directions:

  1. Get out a big bowl and put all the Taco Filling in it. How many servings you get out of this recipe will depend on how much Taco filling you use and how big you make the patties. You don't need seasoning because the Taco filling is already seasoned. However, feel free to add a little cumin. I did. Gave it more of a Tex-Mex aura.
  2. For every large can of Taco Filling, add a quarter cup oatmeal, a quarter to half of a chopped onion, two eggs (to hold the patties together), 2-4 tbsp of flour and however many finely chopped jalapenos your group can tolerate.  I go very light out of deference to the tender mouths in the group. You can put the rest in a bowl and set them with the condiments. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Chop the lettuce, slice the tomatoes, slice some onions, slice the avocados. Set up a burger bar with a plate for the burgers, then put out buns, mayo, ketchup, picante sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, avocado and shredded cheddar/cheddar slices in that order for successful burger building.
  4. Once the burger bar is set up start frying up the patties so they will be hot as everyone cues up. If your church has a big grill, you've got a perfect setup. I've used 4 large frying pans to keep up with the demand.  It works for a potluck or a burger sale for Pathfinders in the church gym. The hot vege-burger is what's important to making the burgers extra special. 
Note:  Let people know that these are Tex-Mex burgers so they won't think something is wrong with them. Also make sure the tender-mouths know that the bowl of little green bits isn't pickle relish, but jalapenos.  You might make a separate mix without jalapenos and set up a hot vs mild plate of burgers on the burger bar. 

Makes a nice change-up for burger night with your youth group and also is a great way to use up leftover Taco Filling around the house. This is also a fun thing for small church groups or socials.

Bone Appetite!

Tom King
(c) 2015




Monday, August 3, 2015

The South Of the Border Salad



This salad recipe is likely a variant of the venerable Adventist haystack. It was apparently invented by a restauranteur who owned a little cafe in an antique mall in downtown Cleburne, Texas, five miles from Keene, my hometown. Now Keene is an Adventist college town and notable SDA ghetto.  It is little wonder the basic haystack idea drifted into the Tex-Mex cuisine in the nearby Johnson County Seat.  They had a Pappa and Mama version, probably in deference to all the Adventist vegetarians that came into the place.  The Papa version used hamburger and was more expensive. The Mama salad used ranch-style or chili beans, but otherwise, both were basically the same

The South Of the Border Salad was advertised and listed on the menu by it's three primary initials. The South Of the Border Salad was named what it was named I figure, both for its Tex-Mex flavor and because it gave the local heathens a giggle whenever some very proper Adventist customer or little old Baptist lady, when ordering, would nervously point to the menu or describe the salad by its ingredients or call it a Mama Salad, rather than say the name listed on the menu.  It's an easy-to-make potluck dish and can be added to a haystack potluck setup by baking a bag of potatoes or two ahead of time.  It's versatile for a potluck because you just set out the ingredients and let everyone make their own version. Way better than pizza too!  This is pretty much a whole meal by itself, so while it's listed as a salad, it's a lot more than just an appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • Baked Potato, Large
    Start off your South Of the Border Salad with a baked potato.
  • Butter/margarine
  • Salt
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped salad veggies like peppers, onions, cucumber carrots or whatever you've got.
  • 1/2 cup Avocado or make up a big bowl of guacamole
  • Jar or two of Picante Sauce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (for potlucks just buy a big bag of it already shredded)
  • Bit carton of sour cream
  • Bottles of Ranch and Catalina Salad Dressing
  • Black olives
  • Pot of Ranch Style Beans or you can use Loma Linda Five-Bean Chili, Chili Man or barbecue beans of some kind.
  • Loma Linda Vegeburger, Worthington Vegeburger or Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles (you can even brown up some Loma Linda Taco Filling)
  • Tortilla chips and Fritos
  • Chopped Jalepenos
  • Monster jar of Picante' Sauce (Pace or San Antonio Riverwalk is great)
Directions:
Add tortilla chips and beans or chili


  1. Bake up a bag of potatoes in the skins before the event. You can take them already baked and heat them up in the church's warming ovens.  Most Adventist churches have these. By the time potluck is on, they should be nice and fluffy inside. 
  2. Cook up a big pot of Ranch-Style beans or Vege-chile.  
  3. Chop up your veggies, grate your cheese and set out the sour cream, tortilla chips and what not all out in a row in order of how you build your South Of the Border Salad.
Constructing the South Of the Border Salad: 
Next add all the salad stuff and voila!  You're done.
  1. Break open the potato and spread it out over the bottom of the plate. You can leave the skin on or peel it off.  It's up to you, but I like all the vitamins to come with my potato.
  2. Butter and salt is optional.
  3. Add a layer of tortilla chips
  4. Spoon on a layer of chili, barbecue or Ranch Style Beans
  5. Make a a bed of lettuce and start adding all your chopped veggies. Get what you want. Make it with onions or without. There are no rules. 
  6. Sprinkle a bunch of shredded Cheddar over the top.
  7. Decorate the whole beautiful pile of stuff with dollops of avocado or guacamole, salad dressing, Picante sauce, olives, crouton, vege-bacon bits (TVP) and chives or whatever else you like.  Add a little peak of sour cream and you have created a magnificent meal - run for the table
This salad is best consumed quickly which is never a problem for me. That way, the salad stays cool and crisp while the potato and chili give you a nice warm base. It's great!  I've seen teenage boys consume two or three of these in a row. Sadly, this feat of gastronomy is no longer permitted me by either my physician or (more importantly), by my Sweet Baboo who does not wish me to explode and die.
Bon' appetite!*

(c) 2015 by Tom King

*And, yes I spelled it "appetite" on purpose - the American way not "appetit" like the French. This is, after all, an American Tex-Mex dish and we don't pronounce words all French and sissified.  Just sayin'.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

King Ranch Vege-Chicken, Mac and Cheese

King Ranch Vege-Chicken Mac & Cheese

Once again we journey back down to the King Ranch (no kin of mine - they're rich/I'm not) to borrow a recipe and vegetarianize it for potluck. This is a lovely one that turned out ridiculously delicious. Again, this is a potluck dish and therefore celebratory in nature. I do not suggest you make a whole skilletful of this stuff and eat it by yourself (even if you do share some with your wife and the dog). It's made to be consumed in normal portions at Sabbath potlucks where calories do not count as we all know.

If you've tried out my King Ranch Chicken recipe, you have a general idea where we're going. It's a fresh, Southwestern Tex-Mex take on the macaroni and cheese casserole. Mostly, the big difference between it and King Ranch Chicken is that we're substituting macaroni for tortillas. It's really good and won't last long on the potluck serving table, especially if you draw attention to it by baking it in a big iron skillet. There's just something about serving things in a big iron skillet that makes them look that much more tasty.

Here's how it works:

Ingredients:
  1. Macaroni or similar pasta
  2. Salt (to taste)
  3. Milk
  4. Loma Linda Chicken Chunks or other vegetarian chicken substitutes like Worthington Fri-Chik, Worthington Diced Chik or even cut up Morningstar Farms Chicken Nuggets or Patties.
  5. Cream of Mushroom soup
  6. Cheddar Cheese
  7. 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  8. Velveeta
  9. Chopped onion
  10. Chopped bell peppers
  11. Margarine
  12. Picante sauce or (if you like it a bit hotter) Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Chilis (small can)
  13. Chili Powder
  14. Cumin
  15. Tortilla chip crumbs
  16. Black olives (optional)
Directions:
  1.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put a big pot of water on to boil.
  2. When the pot of water boils add enough macaroni to fill the skillet after the macaroni swells up, or (as I did) throw in bits of leftover rotini, pene or whatever loose leftover dried pasta you have hanging around the kitchen. I like the variety and it's a great way to use up any leftover macaroni products you have in your cupboard. Don't worry about quantity. The recipe is very forgiving.
  3.  While the macaroni is boiling, get out your big iron skillet or a dutch oven and saute' a handful of chopped onions and a handful of chopped bell peppers till they soften. I threw in a few mild red bell peppers and an even fewer hot red peppers for color.  You can use any color bell pepper you want. 
  4. When the peppers are done, set them aside in a small bowl, put a light smear of olive oil on the bottom of the skillet and cook the Chick'n Chunks till they start to brown.
  5. Meanwhile back at the Ranch, your macaroni should be done.  Drain it and pour it into a large mixing bowl.  Add a tablespoon of margarine and an eighth cup of milk or so, 4 to 6 ounces of Velveeta cut into cubes to make them easier to melt.  Stir well until the cheese begins to melt. Add sour cream if you want to. Makes things smooth and nice.
  6. At this point, I like to add leftover cheeses to the mix. This time I had some provolone slices I cut into strips and some Parmesan I sprinkled into the mix. You can also add the cheese packets from Kraft Mac & Cheese boxes too. The cheese flavors make a nice mixed flavor. Don't add the cheddar cheese yet.
  7. As the cheese gets melted, add the onions, peppers and by now cooked Chick'n Chunks. Stir vigorously.  Stir in Rotel tomatoes & chilis or Picante Sauce. For a nice Tex-Mex I use either Pace Picante Sauce or San Antonio Riverwalk Picante' Sauce (available at Walmart). I go mild, but knock yourself out. Both come in medium and hot also.  Rotel even has a "mild" version but where's the fun in that?
  8. Add salt, cumin and chili powder to taste. I only added about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of each. My folk like their Tex-Mex mild. 
  9. Stir it all up thoroughly.  Wipe the inside of the skillet with margarine to coat the sides and reduce stickage.  Pour in all that cheese macaroni.  Top with shredded cheddar and lightly crushed tortilla chips.  I always save the crumbles at the bottom of the bag for use on casseroles. I've got a special jar just for chip crumbles. My Sweet Baboo hates when I leave a bag with just a few crushed chips at the bottom. I respect that and have changed my methods of chip crumble storage.
  10. Now that you've got a mound of cheesy mac casserole in your skillet, covered with cheddar and tortillas, pop it all into the oven and cooked till bubbly on top with little browned spots - 20 minutes or so, but watch it so you don't burn it.
Presentation:
Take along one of those nice straw hot pads and set the skillet on top of it. I make an aluminum tent over the whole thing while transporting it. One of the great things about this dish is that it tastes even better if you make it Friday and take in on Sabbath. It holds up nicely in the warming oven, especially if you freshen it with more crisp tortilla crumbles. It looks great. has a name you can remember so you can tell people exactly what it is when they ask you for the recipe. 

Neat Trick for Would-Be Potluck Legends:
If you want to be really helpful to your fellow potluckers, make up a stack of business cards (you can get them for your computer printer at Office Depot or someplace like that).  Print the name of the dish and the web address where they can pick up a copy of this or any other recipe we've shown you here. People like knowing the name of the dish and where they can get the recipe without having to follow you around to get it.

I like this dish because it doesn't taste like ordinary Mac & Cheese. It has a nice Tex-Mex flavor. If I would do anything different, next time I'd make sure I had some black olive slices to put on top.

You should pester all the great cooks at your potlucks to send me their recipes at twayneking@gmail.com . I'll post it on the website and give them credit as the chef who donated the recipe. Then they can do handout cards to share recipes with fellow potluckers.  The younger moms will really appreciate getting new recipes that can one day become family favorites.

Let me know how it comes out. 

Tom King
(c) 2015

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Frito Chili Pie


This is a variant on one of my favorite dishes, adapted for easy prep for potluck in place of haystacks. There's two ways you can do this. Either is good. The first one we'll talk about is the easier to set up and faster to fix if you need a large meal, a few simple ingredients, for a lot of people and quickly or a quick supper for just one or two people.  Frito Pie is just the thing. This version is made with a new Loma Linda Product - Five Bean Chili. I like it because it's sweeter than most chilis. It's not up for sale on Amazon yet and at this writing they don't even have a picture of the can (below) on the website, but it should be appearing in ABC's around the country soon. Frito Pie is a Tex-Mex dish that works like this:

Just 4 simple ingredients.


Ingredients:

1. Loma Linda Five Bean Chili. Worthington Chili is a little sharper if you prefer.
2. Chopped sweet onion (chopped green or jalapeno peppers are good but optional)
3. Fritos
4. Grated cheddar cheese

Directions:
  1. Heat Loma Linda Five Bean Chili in a pan - enough to feed everybody - a can feeds 3 or 4 with this recipe.
  2. Once the chili is hot set out the pan with a bowl of chips, a bowl of grated cheddar and a bowl of chopped onions.
  3. Now get yourself a bowl and cover the bottom with corn chips.
  4. Spoon a generous portion of chili over the corn chips.
  5. Sprinkle chopped onions over the chili.
  6. Cover with grated cheddar to taste.
This is an easy casserole version I made the other day. I sauteed onions
and peppers to add over the chili and as I only had 1 can of chili, I added
some leftover Manwich I'd made with Griller Crumbles. It toned
down the heat a bit and made it a milder version. I put a layer of Fritos on
the bottom then a layer of chili, a layer of grated cheese, a layer of
Fritos, then a layer of Manwich sauce and Fritos and cheese. Follow
the directions below.


Alternative Preparation:
  
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a casserole dish, cover the bottom with Fritos.
  3. Spoon chili over the Fritos and cover well.
  4. Sprinkle with sauteed onions and peppers if you wish
  5. Sprinkle a generous layer of cheddar cheese over all.
  6. Bake until the cheese is fully melted, bubbling and brown slightly on top
Final comment:

Cover the casserole with foil and it's ready to transport to potluck. If you're in a hurry, you can simply heat the chili and let everyone make their own. as in the first set of directions. This is some good stuff any way you dish it up. I really like the slightly sweet taste of the new 5-Bean chili, but then I'm getting old and my stomach lining isn't as tough as it once was.

However you make it, this is a handy recipe to have in your potluck kit bag.

(c) 2015 by Tom King


Hobo Dinners

My wife thinks my putting ketchup on this stuff is
a desecration. She may be right.

Hi, folks. I'm back. I've been off the grid for a bit. Sorry about that. But in the meantime we've cooked up some really good meals and taken pictures. This time I'd already put ketchup on mine and Sheila had hers half eaten before I remembered to take a picture of it.

This is one of our very favorite recipes and it's probably the easiest one of the bunch.  Sheila calls this a "hobo" dinner because theoretically you could make this with a campfire and a big piece of foil and a few odd root vegetables.  Here's how it works:


Ingredients:

  1. Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  2. Onions, peeled and quartered
  3. Carrots, peeled and cut in chunks (peeled baby carrots are perfect)
  4. Can of Loma Linda Swiss Stakes or Worthington Vegetable Steaks or Loma Linda Redi-Burger
  5. Salt & your favorite seasoning  (Make one for everyone and a really big one for yourself)
  6. Foil

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375° 
  2. Spread out large sheet of foil - 12x12 inches will do it.
  3. On foil place carrots, onions, potatoes and half pieces of vege-meat
  4. Salt and season. For added flavor you can sprinkle a little olive oil over all
  5. Wrap ingredients with foil to make a little bundle.
  6. Place foil wrapped veggies and vege-steaks in oven and bake till fork passes through potatoes easily.
  7. Gently open foil wrapping and place hobo dinner on plate
  8. The taste is incredible. The flavors blend so beautifully you don't need anything else except a tall cold glass of iced sweet tea (caffeine free of course).
This is a great recipe for a youth campout and really healthy to boot. Bring a sack of potatos, a sack of onions and a sack of carrots and cans of Vege-steaks. Have the kids peel their own veggies. Several rolls of foil and you're in business. These will cook in the coals of your campfire and come out amazingly tasty.

You can even do this with Redi-Burger since it can be taken out of the can in chunks and cooked that way and it will hold together. The original recipe uses balls of hamburger.  It's good stuff. If you wait around, you'll be sorry you did.

© 5/23/2015 by Tom King 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Potluck Pizza Party

Home pizza done right!
We used to have these church get-togethers at our house where we made homemade pizzas. Friends would gather in teams around a dough ball, smash it flat, roll it out and then decorate it with sauces, cheeses and veggies. This was an SDA group, so the cuisine du jour was lacto-ovo vegetarian. Everybody brought their favorite topping ingredients and cheeses. We the hosts provided the pizza dough (see the recipe below).  It takes just a few minutes to make up a pizza ball. Start an hour or so before the event and you can make up plenty.  

Have any of your guests who have a pizza stone or pizza pan to bring them along. And you'll need a sturdy pizza cutter and a stack of paper plates.  I usually find a volunteer to make a gigantic bowl of salad and have people bring their favorite salad dressings to show off. The handy thing is that a lot of the leftover pizza toppings can be tossed into the salad.

Homemade pizzas are also a great place to test vegetarian meat substitutes. For instance if you want to make a vegetarian sausage pizza, you can use Loma Linda's Little Links or Worthington Saucettes or crumble up some Morningstar Farms Sausage Patties. You may want to brown them in a skillet before putting them on the pizza. Just slice the links into little round disks, fry lightly and scatter them over the pizza. I also like to brown some Loma Linda Redi-Burger or Worthington Vegeburger or Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles and then scatter them over the pizza. Just put a lot of loose cooked vegeburger in a bowl and let pizza makers add as much as they'd like. If you like chicken, Worthington Fri-Chik or Worthington Low Fat Fri-Chik diced up and browned makes a nice topping as well.

The crust is the secret to the whole thing. This never-miss medium to thin pizza crust recipe came from a bread machine recipe book where it was called "New York Style" pizza. I toss in a little whole wheat flour and sprinkle the bottom with corn meal to give it a little Texas touch.



Start with a dough ball.
By making it a potluck homemade pizza party, you not only get healthier pizza, but you also have a fun activity for everybody to do at the party. Lots of friendly conversation, sharing of pizza "secrets" and sharing of ingredients and experimentation. I like to put out a little fresh spinach. Someone inevitably groans until someone adds it to the pizza and tastes it. It's quite good. Everyone will bring all kinds fo stuff from traditional olives, mushrooms, onions and peppers to more creative veggies like artichokes and chives. Some pineapple will inevitably show up and if you're in Texas, watch out for some clown to spike a pizza or two with jalapenos or habanero peppers and cover it with cheddar to hide the trap. Goat cheese is also acceptable as are other unusual cheeses. In Texas somebody inevitably brings a big block of Mexican Cheese, which is an acquired taste.Your pizza is only limited by your imagination.

Ingredients for One Crust:
Cover a 16" pizza stone for a thin crust.

  • 2/3 cup warm water – 110° to 115°
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
  • Whole wheat flour (substitute measure for measure for white flour if you want to fiber up your crust a little)
Directions for making crust:
Spread the sauce thinly over the crust.
Top with cheese and toppings.
  1. Dump the dry ingredients (not the yeast or cornmeal) into a mixing bowl
  2. Put the yeast into the warm water and whisk to blend.  Allow it to sit for maybe 10 minutes till it starts to bubble at the edges.
  3. Add all the liquid ingredients and any sediment in the yeast water cup to the mixing bowl and mix it all up with the dough hook.  You can knead it by hand, but I highly recommend you give the barely formed dough ball to the guys in each group and give them the job of kneading the ball for ten minutes (or till they start to whine and then you can probably let them stop, although the crust won't be as crisp and may crumble. You want a very smooth dough ball when you are done kneading. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour till dough is just barely dampish on the outside, but not sticky to touch.
  4. Lightly oil the pizza baking sheet or pizza stone. I like olive oil, but any vegetable oil will work. Sprinkle a little corn meal over the surface of the stone.
  5. I'm not too proud to use a rolling pin to flatten out the pizza dough, but some clown in the group will inevitably try to twirl it in the air like you see on TV.  Make sure your kitchen floor is very clean so you can just brush off the dough and go ahead and use it.  Lay the dough
    Hot from the oven.
    over the pizza stone and spread it to the thickness you want. I like a flat thin crust pizza and this recipe is perfect for a thin crust on a 16 inch pizza stone. I like to raise the edges so they keep the sauce and melting cheese from running over the side and mucking up the oven.
  6. Preheat oven to 450° to 500°.  The higher temp is better with thin crusts. Go lower if you're doing a thick crust. 
  7. Each group then gathers around its pizza crust and decorates it with pizza sauce, cheeses and toppings. Depending on the size of your oven, you can only do a couple at a time, but they only take 8 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of crust and ingredients. Let the edges darken and the cheese melt till it bubbles a little or the crust won't cook through. See the picture for an idea of how it ought to look. Use the middle rack as much as possible. If doing two at a time put the top and bottom racks as close to the middle as you can get them. Fortunately pizza isn't very thick, so the racks can be close together.
Makes enough crust for one 12-16 inch pizza

Conclusion:

As the pizzas come out, everybody will want to sample each other's handywork. Cut the pizzas in 8 to 16 pieces at first. As the later pizzas come out, you'll be able to cut larger pieces. Push the salad or people will forget it's there.

Sneaky Trick:

You can do this in a big hurry if you just go out and buy a bunch of ready-made pizza crusts - enough for everyone to have a whole pizza; they tend to me a small to medium pizza size.  Then you just deal out the pizza crusts and turn the young-un's loose.  Takes about 10 minutes each to cook from a ready-made crust. 

This make-it-yourself pizza party is a lot of fun for all ages and a particularly good way to generate good fellowship, stimulate conversation and help forge new relationships among people who may not know each other well.  Kids get a kick out of it too, you just have to make sure they wash their hands first.

Tom King © 2013

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Oatmeal Patties

As an Adventist I grew up in a vegetarian community; an SDA ghetto if you will in Keene, Texas. For a long time you couldn't buy meat hardly anywhere in the city. You had to drive five miles to Cleburne five miles away to get a hamburger.

My grandmother who was a cook at Southwestern Adventist college where she worked magic with vegetarian substitutes, some commercial and some the ladies just made up.  Any vegetable protein you could think of seemed to form the basis for local vegetarian cuisine. One ingredient in particular found it's way into everything from bread to "patties".  Oatmeal.

Oatmeal is an Adventist staple. Oatmeal forms the basis of many Adventist vegetarian main dishes. When I say oatmeal is versatile, I mean you can throw all sorts of stuff into a mixing bowl with oatmeal and fry it up. This version is a kind of clean out the leftovers version. If I'm out of vege-meat, these oatmeal patties are my fall-back. Here's how you make them:

Patty Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats, instant or regular oatmeal (it all works)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecan meal or slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 package Lipton Onion Soup mix
  • 2 eggs
Gravy Ingredients:
  • Handful sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 1/2 package of Lipton Onion Soup
  • Leftover oil from frying patties
  • 4 tbsp. flour, (for the gravy)
  • 1 cup Water
 Directions:
  1. Pour the oil in a skillet and preheat it while you make up the patty mix.
  2. Mix together all the patty ingredients in a mixing bowl. Note: you don't have to have pecan meal. If you have pecans or walnuts, just whiz them up in the blender till they are the consistency of meal. The pecan meal really kicks up the protein levels in the dish. You can add soy sauce or leave it out and just go with the pecan meal for flavor. I recently tried slivered almonds when I didn't have pecan meal and it's amazing. Really great flavor.  I've even added leftover cottage cheese and sour cream (or onion dip) and given them a little pizzazz. Some crushed Special K Cereal is nice too if you like. The recipe is very flexible. The trick is to get the consistency of the mixture right so that the patties don't fall apart. If you add too much extra stuff you should add an extra egg or some of that new Vegan egg replacement that just came out.
  3. Once you've got the patty mix prepared, form the mixture into balls and place the balls in the skillet and flatten them with a spatula. Allow them to cook until brown and flip them over to brown on the other side. 
  4. Set the patties aside. They make pretty good vegeburgers as this stage. To complete this as a main dish, you need to make the gravy now.
  5. Turn down the heat a bit under the oil. Toss in the chopped onions and carmelize them by cooking them slowly on low heat. Takes about 15 minutes or so, but well worth the time. After the onions are about halfway done, add the mushrooms.
  6. Next, sprinkle a handful of flour into the skillet with the oil, mushrooms and onions. 
  7. Turn up the heat a little and lightly blend the flour into the oil until it starts to brown. Add Lipton Onion Soup and water, stirring constantly till the gravy forms. Stir until all the lumps of flour are absorbed.
  8. In a Pyrex casserole dish, spread out the cooked patties and pour the gravy over the patties.
  9. Place the dish in the oven at 350 degrees and bake until the gravy bubbles. 
  10. Now you can work on the rest of the stuff to go with it while the oatmeal patties bake. 
Conclusion:


These go well with anything that would go with vege-burger, hamburger or most any vegetarian meat substitute. The wife usually makes mashed potatoes and corn. Baked potatoes, broccoli and a salad are also nice. Throw in some homemade bread or wheat rolls and you've got a lovely meal.

Leftover oatmeal patties make nice sandwiches or vegeburgers too. I love leftover oatmeal patty burgers.

Enjoy.

(c) 2015 by Tom king

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Tender-Rounds Murphy

I ran out of Fri-Chik or this would be Fri-Chik Murphy. As soon as I get some more vege-chicken, I'll do the Vege-chicken Murphy recipe. My wife and I love this little Italian restaurant in Tyler. It was the first restaurant we ate at after we moved there back in 1995. We'd been separated for a while and I was sure glad to see my Sweet Baboo again.

Little Italy, the restaurant in question, makes a dish called Chicken Murphy. Chicken Murphy is a pasta dish made with an amazing pasta sauce that's something somewhere between a marinara sauce and an Alfredo sauce. We've tried for years to duplicate it with mixed results. One of the problems with duplicating it is that the sauce used to vary depending on which chef was in the kitchen the night you went to the restaurant. 

I think we've finally got it, though. It's an unusual "Italian" dish in that it uses jalapenos in the sauce. It sounds strange, but the stuff is amazing. It's a sherry wine sauce, but like they say, the alcohol cooks off. I thought, if the alcohol cooks off, what's the point of putting it in.  So here's what I came up with in our latest experiment.  It takes a couple of diversions from the original sauce, but it's really pretty good. You can tell it's good by how much I overdid the sauce in the picture.


Murphy Sauce Ingredients:


  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
  • Small can mushrooms or 1/2 cup fresh slice mushrooms
  • 2-3 whole jalepenos
  • 1/2 bell pepper sliced
  • Sparkling grape juice or sparkling apple cranberry juice
  • Loma Linda Tender Rounds or Worthington Fri-Chik or
Directions for the sauce:


  1.  Slice jalepenos into round segments. Cut out and remove the seeds and centers so the jalapenos will be milder while still retaining their flavor
  2. Place butter in skillet and sautee jalapenos, bell peppers and mushrooms until softened
  3. Add evaporated milk, garlic powder, Parmesan and spaghetti sauce
  4. Heat till bubbling. Add 2-3 tablespoons of sparkling juice. Grape works, but I like the apple-cranberry better. I discovered it by accident when Walmart was selling bottles of the stuff for a dollar after the Christmas season. I wish now I'd bought the whole case of it they had on the clearance rack. 
  5. Add Tender-Rounds, Fri-chik or Diced-Chik as you wish.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cover. Make spaghetti according to directions on the box.
Serving suggestion:

Ladle sauce over a bed of spaghetti. Serve with salad and wheat rolls.


Alternate suggestion:



  •  Pour spaghetti sauce in a skillet
  • Add Tender Rounds and heat.
  • Works like spaghetti and meatballs 
  • Also tasty with salad and wheat rolls.

Bon appetite!

Tom
(c) 2015





Friday, May 1, 2015

Hearth Bread - A Simple Daily Bread

This recipe makes a nicely textured loaf.*

One day I was looking for a bread recipe without any egg in it because I had flour that day but no eggs. It being a 3 mile walk to the nearest place that sells eggs, I went looking for an egg-free bread recipe. I found this bread machine recipe in a book my daughter gave me.  I fiddled with the recipe a bit over the next few times I made bread and finally got it to come out just like I want. This is my favorite bread recipe now. The original had no whole wheat, so I added some to good effect and it was even better.

I'm not sure why it's called "hearth" bread. I suppose it's supposed to be the sort of bread pioneers made on their hearths or something. Either that or it's something tasty to eat around your fireplace, which fact, I can attest to. 

First allow me to repeat my grandmother's bread-making secrets:
  1. Dissolve the yeast first in warm (not hot) water - till it bubbles a little
  2. Knead the dough adding flour or water till it feels like a baby's bottom when you spank the dough.
  3. Be patient - give the dough plenty of time to rise.
  4. Let the dough rise twice - the second time in the bread pan.
  5. Wheat germ or something crunchy like flax seed, chia seeds or some such. You can even add a little oatmeal to beef it up some. .  I run flax seed through a blender till it's about like pecan meal. You can also use pecan meal to give it a crunchy texture and some extra protein.
Tools:
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Bread pan or roll pan (if you're making rolls)
  • Kitchen-Aid Mixer (Every manly man who cooks needs one of these in his kitchen)
The ingredients are pretty basic.

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup very warm water
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey, light molasses or a handful of brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ if you've got it. I also grind up flax seed in the blender to use when I don't have wheat germ. Make it about the texture of pecan meal. Pecan meal also works for bread too. Flax seed has got lots of Omega 3's in it and gives the bread a slightly crunchy texture as do various nut meals.  You can also add a handful of oatmeal which gives the dough a nice oatey flavor too.  Here's a post I did about making nut meal and flour with a blender.
Directions:
Letting the dough hook do the work!
  1. Add the yeast to the warm water and stir vigorously with a whisk to dissolve it into the water. Let the yeast sit till it bubbles a little on top.
  2. Place all the sugars, fats, and fluids together in the mixing bowl and whisk or beat with a wire beater.
  3. Start the dough hook turning slowly on your stand mixer and add flour and dry ingredients to the liquid stuff (oil, yeast and sugar mixture). You can also knead it by hand, but who wants to do that? You will need a very large bowl for hand kneading to avoid coating the kitchen in a fine layer of flour.
  4. Add flour or water as needed to make the dough the texture of a baby's behind when you pat it. It should be not quite sticky to the touch. Run the dough hook or knead for a good ten minutes to achieve the proper texture for the finished bread.
  5. Cover the mixing bowl and set it in a warm place. Cover with a cup towel and allow the bread to rise to double it's original size.
  6. Return the bowl to the mixer and run the dough hook for another ten minutes. Don't add water or flour unless you absolutely have to to maintain the correct consistency.
  7. Lightly oil the the inside of a bread pan.  Cooking oil spray is perfect for this. 
  8. Form the kneaded dough into a loaf shape.
  9. Place the kneaded dough into the pan. Put the bread pan somewhere warm with a towel over it and allow the loaf to fully rise. It should rise well above the top of the bread pan.
  10. Dough ball before rising
  11. When the dough is fully risen, place the bread into a preheated 350° oven. Bake until brown on top.  You can enhance the color of the top of the bread by pulling it out before it darkens good and brush the top with butter or margarine, the put it back in the over to bake that nice golden brown color.


Final Notes:  This recipe makes a 1½ to 2 pound loaf. It makes great sandwiches and toast. As a sandwich, the bread adds a whole other dimension to the taste of a sandwich. You can also form the dough into rolls or hamburger or hot dog buns with a little practice. You'll learn to go a little spare when you make buns. They rise a lot during the second rising and then again in the oven. In my early experiments I had a couple of vegeburger that could have handled a 2 pound patty, a small head of lettuce and a dozen tomatoes.  They were wonderful. I wanted seconds, but I couldn't get up from my chair to make another one.  A vegeburger on whole wheat homemade buns is a treat not to miss!

*
This looks like white bread, but it's actually wheat bread. I used some oat flour in this one which lightened the color.  You can substitute oat flour for some of the other flour in the recipe. Just dump some oatmeal into a blender and whiz it up. Makes a nice flour for giving bread a kind of oatey flavor.

© 2015 by Tom King

Cottage Cheese Loaf





This is a half recipe - I used a bread loaf pan.

Okay every potluck chef's got one of these published in their church's recipe book. Everybody's version is just a bit different - cottage cheese loaf offers a lot of room for individualization. So I'm picking out the one my Sweet Baboo contributed to the Tyler Adventist Church's "Bountiful Blessings" cookbook.  As I said, this is a high protein vegetarian casserole and works with a variety of ingredients, so experiment with it a little and come up with a recipe that works for you. It's not vegan, so you may have to warn the vegans in your group that there are some eggs and dairy in it. If you use a larger box of Special K, use a larger carton of cottage cheese.

This is a full recipe with a little extra Special K,
cottage cheese and eggs to make a potluck size dish.


This is one of my top three vegetarian dishes.  You already know my number one. This one's probably number two.  Enjoy.....

Ingredients:

  1. 1 16-18 oz Box Kellogg's Special K Cereal
  2. 1/2 cup pecan meal*
  3. 1 large 24-32 oz container of cottage cheese
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1/4 cup oil
  6. 1/2 stick butter/margarine
  7. 1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  8. 1 cup water
  9. 2-3 tbsp George Washington Golden Broth (Chicken soup base which doesn't have any chicken in it works too)
  10. Cooking oil spray
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, crush the Special K Cereal into a meal-like consistency
  3. Melt the butter/margarine in a small skillet, then pour into the mixing bowl.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Walnuts can be substituted for pecans in a pinch and it's quite good.*
  5. Once everything is mixed up, spray the inside of a 9 x 12 casserole dish with Pam or a cooking oil spray. I like olive oil spray for this recipe.  I used a loaf pan in the picture below because I made up a half recipe for the Missus and I.
  6. Press the mixture evenly into the casserole dish.
  7. Place the casserole dish in the hot oven on a middle rack. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until the top is brown as shown. The loaf should be firm throughout when it cools. Don't be afraid to let the top get good and dark.  
  8. To serve, slice the loaf into slices. If you make it in loaf pans, cut it up like thick slices of bread.
Serving Suggestion:

Serve with vegetables, a salad and mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes or potato salad - some nice starch to go with your veggies. Throw in wheat rolls and you have a perfect meal. Take a big old casserole dish of this stuff to potluck and you will certainly take home a nice clean dish. 


Cottage Cheese Loaf, Brussels Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes and Salad

Do not forget to make an extra cottage cheese loaf to leave at home in case you're like me and always let everyone else go first at potluck. Your cottage cheese loaf will likely be gone before you get there, so to avoid being unhappy at potluck, you have to have a spare one back at home. I have to have cottage cheese loaf leftovers, because they make such wonderful sandwiches. If you like meat loaf sandwiches, I promise you're gonna love cottage cheese loaf sandwiches!

Bonny Appetite!
Tom King
(c) 2015


* Pecan and walnut meal can be made by simply pitching some pecans into an ordinary blender. Blend the nuts till it is the consistency of corn meal, although pecan and walnut meal are a little more moist than corn meal.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Great Pathfinder Vege-Corn Dog Cook-Off

Okay, we've been promising this for more than a week 

There are all sorts of recipes out there for corn dogs. Many are complex and confusing. This one uses just three basic ingredients. This recipe has been bumping around Pathfinder clubs for ages. I got it from a Pathfinder director out of California. Let me warn you. If you're expecting beautiful pristine looking corn dogs like out of the box, you're likely to be disappointed. These things are ugly.

The ones made with Loma Linda Linketts or Worthington Vege-Links are well-tested at countless Pathfinder weiner roasts campouts and more than a few corn dog fund-raisers in the church gym during the Saturday night basketball game/family night. We sold them for $3 a pop one night and went through a bunch of the big deluxe sized cans of Big Franks and paid for a campout. People couldn't get enough of them.

I'm going to give you the recipe here and also do a side-by-side taste test for you. Atlantic Natural Foods provided me with a can of Loma Linda Big Franks and a can of Worthington Super-Links, the deluxe versions of Linketts and Vege-links. So let's see how the big boys stack up against the familiar regular-sized veggie dogs.


Here's what you need:
  • A Fry Daddy - For this experiment, however, since the Pathfinders have the Fry Daddy, I used a Wok, which actually worked pretty well and didn't spit and pop, so I didn't have much trouble cleaning the kitchen.
  • Skewers - Finding actual corn dog skewers usually requires a trip to a restaurant supply, which is worth it if you're doing a fund-raiser. You can also use bamboo skewers found in the grilling section at your local Walmart or you can use flat shish-kebob skewers that I found elsewhere at Wally World.
  • Paper towels - Lots and lots of paper towels
  • Very large or very deep mixing bowl - you have to be able to submerge the dogs entirely in the corn dog batter.
  • Wire whisk - For stirring
  • Metal tongs - Sometimes the sticks get suprisingly hot after cooking, especially the shorter corn dog sticks.
Ingredients:
Super Links on the left; Big Franks on the right.
  1. All the veggie wieners you can eat -There are the brands I've mentioned and a few others you can find in the frozen section of most stores. Stick to the canned ones from LL and Worthington. They're the best, especially for corn dogs.
  2. 1 box of “complete” (add water only) regular-sized box of pancake mix - This usually surprises people. Cornbread mix just won't do it. If you can, get Krusteaz. It's the best.
  3. 1 Box Corn Meal Muffin Mix - Be careful here. Most muffin mixes use lard which can get you in trouble at an Adventist fund-raiser.  Martha White brand is safe. They use vegetable oil in their muffin mix.
  4. Gallon bottle of Canola Oil - Healthier oils are best. That way you can tell your wife they're made with "mono-unsaturated" oil when she fusses at you for how many corn dogs you ate.) Safflower oil works too. Some like peanut oil best for corn dogs. You just have to watch out for people with peanut allergies. There's always one!
Directions: 

  1. Fill the Fry Daddy - About 3/4 full enough to cover the entire wiener.  Plug it in and let the oil heat up while you make the batter.
  2. Make the Batter -  In the big mixing bowl, dump a regular size box of pancake mix and 1 box of corn meal muffin mix. Pour in water and whisk it up till the batter is smooth and not too thick, not too thin.
  3. Prepare the Weiners - Wiener preparation is the secret to delicious homemade corn dogs. You have to thoroughly dry off the wieners. I use paper towels myself. Wet wieners prevent the batter from adhering to the dog long enough to cook. When cooking for a crowd, have one person in charge of weiner drying. Skewer the dried wieners on the corn dog sticks.
  4. Dip the Corn Dogs - Dip them into the batter bowl and make sure they are thoroughly coated with batter. Lift them from the batter one at a time, letting the excess batter run off.  
  5. Set the Coating - Set each dog gently into the Fry Daddy. Hold the corn dog by the stick, suspended in the hot oil for about 10 to 15 seconds to allow the batter to skin over. Don't let them touch the bottom of the fryer until the outside is firm.
  6. Rotate the Dogs through the Oil - Put them in one at a time and allow the outside to cook enough so that the next dog you put in won't stick to the first one.   I like to put them in from right to left so I know that the one on the left is always the one ready to come out soonest.  Let them cook till they are golden brown.  Don't let them get too dark or they'll taste burnt.
Serving Corn Dogs
When the dogs are ready, I just put them out on a big serving plate next to a couple of open bags of chips and a stack of paper plates. I set out bowls to put the ketchup, mayo and mustard in rather than letting the guys dip straight out of the jars. That way, I don't have to throw away half a jar of mayo because it's "contaminated".  It just costs less to put it out a bit at a time in bowls with a hand-washing obsessed adult in charge of filling the bowls. Also, you don't lose a whole jar of condiment if some dribbly kid dips his weenie in the mustard jar. You learn this stuff if you do Pathfinders a lot.*

The Results of the Test:

I used bamboo skewers with the Super-links and shish-kabob skewers with the Big Franks so I could tell them apart (see picture). And I did my best to give them a fair side by side comparison, both with ketchup and without. To be frank (no pun intended), this old dog (that one I did on purpose) ate my corndogs so fast it was hard to tell. Man those things are good. Ugly as all git-out, but delicious.

I like both types of super-sized vege-weiners almost equally as well. Which one you will like best kind of depends on whether you're a Linkett or a Vege-Link man. Big Franks definitely come off the Linkett family tree and Super-links are pretty much a giant Vege-Link.

I, myself, have always preferred Vege-links as my dog of choice. They have a smoother taste that I prefer when I'm burning a vege-dog over an open campfire.  So I leaned toward the Super-Links in my judging, but only just. My Sweet Baboo, the culinary expert in the family had no opinion at all on which was better, other than that I kind of burn one of her corn dogs.

I'll just say that, your choice of "Super-sized" corn dog is probably going to depend a lot on which regular-sized veggie dog you prefer. Really, guys, it's a corn dog!  It's hard to go wrong with any sort of weiner if you coat it with corn batter and deep fry it.

For you militant vegans out there, yes, I know that this is probably not the healthiest sort of vege-food when prepared corn dog fashion. It is, however, I'd venture to say, the healthiest corn dog out there (unless you can show me some batterless, baked tofu dog on a stick and then I'd be willing to bet it's not nearly as tasty as these crispy beauties).

So I'm going to call it a tie for right now, with me buying regular-sized Vege-links for most of my future corn dogging efforts. There are more of them in the can so it feels like you're getting more corn dogs for your money. But I'm just weird like that. Anyway, enjoy some corn dogs soon. If you help with a Pathfinder club, make you some money. You'll make more every time you do this as word gets around about how amazing Pathfinder veggie corndogs taste.

* No Pathfinders were harmed in the making of this weblog.