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The recipe for this “Dog Rite” is dedicated to my father. In his day, dad and his buddies would stop at the Oelwein Dairy Queen around closing time for a couple of Twin Cronnies. It’s basically a Maid Rite with a hot dog on top. Here’s my ode to those sandwiches and other ideas for easy-to-fix comfort foods to warm autumn’s arrival.

Homemade Dog Rite

  • 1 pound 85-percent lean hamburger
  • 4 hot dogs, sliced down the middle
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dill or sweet relish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 buns, steamed

Brown hamburger and onion. Add chili powder, mustard, brown sugar and white vinegar. Cook until onions are translucent. Stir occasionally and heat thoroughly. Spoon seasoned hamburger onto the bottom all four buns. Place a heated, split hot dog on top. Add ketchup and relish, if desired, and top with buns. Serves 4.

Shrimp Scampi Roll-Ups

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley, plus save some garnish
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1-3/4 cup mozzarella, divided
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, rough chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 10 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add flour and whisk until combined and golden for 1 minute more. Stir in milk, parsley and a pinch of red pepper flakes and let thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine, ½ cup mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and salt and pepper to taste. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes more. Stir in lemon juice.

On a large baking sheet, lay out cooked lasagna noodles. Spread a thin layer of sauce in a large baking or casserole dish. Spread each with a layer of ricotta cheese, then top with a layer of scampi mixture. Roll up and spoon more sauce on top of roll-ups. Sprinkle the remaining ¾ cup mozzarella cheese.

Bake until golden and melted, 20 minutes. Broil 2 minutes if you want to brown the top. Serves 6.

Chicken Tamale Pie

  • 1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Cooking spray for skillet
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • ¾ cup enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare cornbread base: In a medium bowl, combine corn muffin mix, sour cream, egg, corn and melted butter. Whisk until evenly combined. Spray a large oven-safe skillet with cooking spray. Pour in to large cast iron skillet and bake until golden, 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and cook until tender, 5-6 minutes or so. Then add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add taco seasoning and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken meat and ½ cup enchilada sauce. Poke holes in to corn bread with bottom of a wooden spoon. Pour remaining ¼ cup enchilada sauce over the poked holes and top with chicken mixture. Top with cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack and bake 20 minutes more. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 4.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Brunch Casserole Recipe

  • 7 cups whole grain baguette, cubed (about 1-1/2 inch chunks)
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 1
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, divided
  • ½ cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut in to small chunks
  • Maple syrup and/or powdered sugar for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. In a large bowl, combine egg mixture, walnuts, banana slices and 1 cup blueberries. Stir gently to combine, being careful not mash the banana. Cover with plastic or transfer to a large zip lock bag, then place in the fridge and let sit for approximately 30 minutes, or until egg mixture has been entirely absorbed.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly, grease spring form pan. Pour in bread mixture. Add cream cheese chunks, working some down in to the bread mixture and leaving some top. Sprinkle on remaining blueberries.

Top loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden in the middle. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before removing spring form pan.

Drizzle casserole with maple syrup. To finish, sprinkle powdered sugar through sift. Serves 8 to 10.

“The Katman” Bubba D-Lux Burger

  • 8 ounces 85-percent lean ground beef
  • 1 ounce pancetta
  • 2 slices green tomatoes
  • 2 slices Fontina cheese
  • ½ cup Harissa peppers
  • 2 ounces pimentos
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 oz. red onions, carmelized
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 ounce butter lettuce
  • 1 large onion bun
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Let cold ground beef come to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Slice tomatoes nice and thin, then salt and pepper. Place in buttermilk for 10 minutes, then remove tomatoes and add sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Dredge tomatoes in cornmeal. Place in fridge, about 30 minutes. Heat oil in pan and deep fry the tomatoes until golden. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Chop peppers and mix with pimentos and mayonnaise. Refrigerate mix for 30 minutes. Slice red onions thinly and carmelize in the same pan used for tomatoes. Fry pancetta in the same pan.

On medium high heat, place the burger in a screaming hot pan. Flip burger after about 4 to 5 minutes; repeat on other side. For medium-rare, pull off the burger at 135 to 140 F. Let rest.

Toast buns and slather both sides of buns with the mayo mixture. Add butter lettuce and pancetta to the heel, then place the burger on the bun. Top with fontina cheese and fried green tomatoes and top with toasted bun crown. Makes 1.


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