Category Archives: If it’s not a meat or sauce, look in here

if it isn’t meat nor a sauce, hmm, well it’ll be in here I suppose.

Smokey & Spicy Pinto Beans

Been trying to find time to make some good ole pinto beans and corn bread for a few weeks now. Just could never find time to get it done. So Friday I was determined to make it happen. But I of course, they can’t be normal. I went for smokey & spicy Pinto Beans.

So I put some hard beans in water to soak over night. I know I know not a necessity but it makes for a quicker cook time (2.5-3.5 hours versus 4-6 hours).

Beans are great! Cheap, easy, and full of protein and fiber. Good for your heart. Hell, the more you eat them the more you…

Any toot, some good friends invited us over to watch some football today. That invite was Friday, after I started my bean soak. Hmm…I wonder if can I wreck the pinto beans well enough that a football crowd would like them? I mean, who serves pinto beans at a football game? They would have to be wrecked enough to be able to stand proud in the same room as barbecued sausages and expertly made chicken wings? By the way, STELLAR wings Eric. Stellar. Pancake syrup, would have thought. haha Well anyway, let’s give it a try.

Bag of pinto beans, mine were soaked over night. You don’t have to if you don’t want. 2 cups of Vegetable Broth and 4 cups of water. Cut up 5 thick slices of bacon into about 1 inch pieces. Throw them in. Bring to boil and then back it down to a simmer for an hour to hour and a half. Always keep an eye on your water level. Basically, make sure the fluid starts off about 2 inches over the beans.
At about hour and a half add 2 medium onions, diced up. 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced and/or diced up. Dice up a whole green bell pepper (red is better for color, but I didn’t have any) Throw them all into the pot. Continued cooking for about 15-20 minutes.
Alright, add 3 big pinches of salt, 1/2 TBSP of chili powder, 1/2 tsp of black ground pepper, 1/4 tsp of crushed/ground celery seed, 4 TBSP of frankenspam smoked jalapenos. Stir Well
Add a hunk of Pork Sirloin. But cut it into large chunks. Chunks small enough they will cook fairly quick yet large enough you can pull them out in about 1/2 hour.

I don’t have a picture, I was rushing, but in about 20-30 minutes take that pork sirloin back out. Let it cool (rest). Then throw into a food processor on “chop” for a couple of seconds. Or dice up with a knife. BUT let it REST! Don’t chop it up hot! In food processor for only a couple seconds. Not long. Just a chunky chop. Throw it back in. Stir it up. Taste your creation, salt and pepper as needed. Now, let it stay just below simmer for another hour and you’ll have some really damn good pinto beans. Or eat right away for some very good pinto beans. Don’t forget the cornbread.  I took this to a party of about 20-25 people, they loved it. Just used chips as scoops. I gotta say, this was some really good pinto beans!

YUMMY! Obviously you could have not soaked your beans, used a ham hock, or whatever you want. I bet it’ll be good. Give it a try!

Did you keep the pumpkin seeds from those Jack O’Lantern?

I hope so! Simple recipe I have been doing every year for a couple of years after we carve our pumpkins. Except I change the spices each year.

  1. Boil some water with a tablespoon of salt. Enough water for all the seeds you have. We have two medium pumpkins. So you may need more salt with more seeds and less salt with less seeds.
  2. Let water cool.
  3. Put seeds in a container (I use a vacuum container). Pick out any seeds that look “sick” or unappetizing and get any pumpkin pulp out. I also put some garlic powder in the container once I am done getting the pulp and bad seeds out. Store over night.
  4. Next day, preheat oven to 300*.
  5. Put seeds in a colander and shake dry. Yeh yeh, they aren’t dry but get most of the water off. Now add whatever seasoning you want. I used more garlic powder (not a ton), some more salt, and a creole spicy mixture.
  6. Spread the seeds over a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread them out good. Try not to let them layer. Use two sheets if you have lots of seeds.
  7. Bake at 300* for one hour.
  8. Eat.


Put seeds in salty brine. Pick out bad seeds and pumpkin pulp.
Put on parchment paper. Spread out (not like in the pic!)
Finished product. Yummy and crunchy.



Chow Chow frankenspam style

For those that don’t know me, I am from Coalwood, West Virginia. Now I only lived there until 11 years old, but I do take pride in being from there. 30 years of being here in Maryland just can’t seem to wash it away either. I still have the best aunts, uncles, and cousins living there. I surely have my memories of growing up in tough financial times. Not to say I don’t have the memories of good either. I threw a rock AT the stream one time to try and splash my Uncle Greg. I can’t explain it, the rock never went to the water, just straight across the stream and nailed Greg right in the eye. LOL  At that age I couldn’t figure out if my grandfather was more mad about Greg’s eye or that he had to waste a good piece of meat laying it on his eye. Come to think of it, I think they had meat that night for dinner. hahaha!!  My mom and dad were able to escape the coal mine crisis of the early 80’s and find work here in Maryland. To top it all off I had a sister with Sickle Cell Anemia that would later need a life saving plasma transfusion. To which we later we found out was tainted with HIV. Another story for another time, but times were hard and as such we depended on dad’s gardening skills! I was so blessed to live with an awesome family and friends and as such never realized the difference between having it tough and having it good. As far as I am concerned, I had it good.

Now as a kid, I didn’t like lots of foods that I have come accustomed to liking these days. Ha, that’s all of us right? I used to spit the Lima beans out in my hand and try to feed to the dog. The damn dog wouldn’t even eat those things. I would smash them up under the table after mom and dad would leave me at the table to “finish my dinner”. I am still not a Lima bean fan, but if you invite me over I won’t smash them up under your dinner table either. Now if I figure out your dog is a vegetarian, well, no promises there. So I find it fun to listen and read online posts of old-time dishes and cooking procedures. They are always attached to great stories. Ever notice that? Food and good times go together. We even mourn the loss of our loved ones with food. There is nothing more attached to the very fiber of our past than food. Okay okay maybe that nasty dirty stuffed teddy bear you have hidden in your closet, but I am not blogging about that.

So one food I could never wrap my head around that all the “older” folk liked when I was young(er) was chow chow. I hated it. Which by the way, my theory on why kids never liked anything as kid, our taste buds actually WORKED. So now I am little older and taste buds are a little dead.  Let’s go down memory lane and make some chow chow. Now, depending on who you ask, the recipes are all over the place. Which is the signature line of So it seems fair to me anything goes with making chow chow. As long as you keep with using veggies that are associated with late season harvest. If you like it sweet, you’re probably from Pennsylvania and the hotter the chow chow the further south you go. It also seems Pennsylvania to West Virginia recipes had a more wet/thinner base where as the further south you go the thicker the base. I like the idea of a thicker base, but I am going to try my best to keep it West Virginian. So I am making two batches, one with smoked jalapenos and a few extra spices and the other what I’d call “normal”. haha.

Here’s the recipe(s).

Chow Chow Version 1.0 Recipe Click Here

Stuffed mushroom wrapped in bacon

Stuffed Mushroom wrapped in bacon, but first…a good friend who is the star bartender at Buffalo Wings and Beer in Gaithersburg (by the way,check their wings out frankenspammers! LINK for their site is HERE) saw a recipe for stuffed mushrooms wrapped in bacon and got all excited last Friday. Well  she brought that in today to make. Of course having the edge with a commercial kitchen she threw them in the broiler (I am guessing broiler) and, well, they were freaking good. Really dang good. Even with cheap cheese that separated in the shroom and cooked out some, they were actually very delicious. Not that they shouldn’t be, she’s high on the list of good cookers as far as I can tell. For being a 39 yr old woman, you’d think she has the cooking experience of a 50’something year old woman. When I was first listening to her exploits of cooking she mentioned that the syran wrap and aluminum foil boxes had tabs in them to keep the rolls in the box as you pull them out. I was like, “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SORCERY YOU SPEAK OF?” rushed home and checked her babble out, and there they were. The tabs. Sigh. All these years, cussing…

Picture courtesy of

Anyway, I came home and realized I forgot to set something out for dinner. In my house that means hot dogs, meatless spaghetti, or veggie night! 🙂 As I threw some noodles in the water and some broccoli in the oven I thought to myself, “I have a bag of baby portabellas that need to be cooked asap. ooh and I have bacon. Ooooooooh and I have some cheese…” Oh game on, ready to completely wreck Linda’s winning mushroom concoction.

So, I threw a yellow onion, garlic and some butter in a pan. Got the onions nice and gooey then threw in some spinach.

Got that out when yummy looking and diced it up.

Diced up some, not all of the broccoli I had in the oven (EVOO, garlic, salt, and pepper) and then threw in some shredded Parmesan, manchego (oh man, so yummy), and a little bit of cheddar cheese.

Now if you haven’t already cleaned and de-stemmed those portabellas get to it. Now stuff em.

Now wrap em in bacon and stick em. (if you can remember, soak your meat sticks in water so they don’t burn up, hehe I said meat sticks)

Now I think the success to Linda’s mushrooms is, well, following the instructions HAHA. That and that delicious caramelized BBQ Sauce she brushed on the bacon. I did not put BBQ sauce on these as I couldn’t imagine BBQ sauce going with the ingredients I picked. Well, all my cheese cooked right out. All of it. Not a drop left. So here is a pic of the done product with the cheese completely coming out.

Not bad looking in my opinion. Smelled okay. I ate one. Pretty good, portabellas are just yummy, but I was bummed all the cheese had left the building. I gave one to the wife. She wasn’t too impressed either. No cheese. But again, not a bad appetizer.

So I topped one with a thin slice of manchego cheese.

Now we are talking. I liked it. Then it dawned on me. In me making the Smoked Cherry Sauce (LINK) I used a stick of Manchego cheese for my tasting stick. Pic from that recipe below.

So why not put some of that sauce on it?

Here they are dusted with Parmesan, which I didn’t like. BUT as usual, the sauce helps pick the product up. I like it. It’s the damn sauce. LOL By itself, that sauce doesn’t do much talking, but add it to something and it sings. My wife gives the final product 3.5 out of 5 stars, I’d agree, 3.5 out of 5. Linda’s basic white mushrooms with cheese sauce and good ole BBQ sauce was a solid 4 out of 5. It was the crispy BBQ. You just can’t go wrong with bacon and some crispy BBQ sauce. Sorry for the phone pics, the life of frankenspammers, rush home and start cooking, I ain’t got time for a camera.

All my cooking for the next week or two will be me detoxing all this pork fat out of my veins.