Dads Cook – Beer Can Chicken

Another great weekend for the grill.  My husband decided to make a ‘beer-can’ chicken.  Here you see it with grilled sweet onions.  My husband is a charcoal loyalist and believes that to get true grilled flavor, lump charcoal is the way to go.  A beer-can chicken is a whole chicken that is placed over a circular holder, similar to an upright chicken roaster, in which a beer can is in the center.  Open the beer with a can opener and pour out some of the beer and add 1/2 of a cut up lemon.  Slow roast on the grill until desired doneness.

Apple Dumplings

This is a recipe that perhaps conjures up images of the traditional farmhouse kitchen, aprons, and the faint residue of flour on the countertops.  Try this as a great weekend dessert using fresh from the orchard apples.

Four to five small to medium sized apples (cortland or empire work nicely) cored and peeled

1 package pre-made pie crusts

Brown sugar


Cider for basting on top and course sugar

Preheat oven to 400F.

Roll out the pie crusts one at a time on a lightly floured counter per package directions.

Cut the dough into approx. 5-5 1/2″ squares, use scraps to roll out the next square and so on.

Working with one apple at a time, place in the center of a square of dough. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and fill the core with brown sugar.  Fold up the dough one corner at a time, using a little water to get the dough to stick to itself at the top.  I usually take the apple at this point in my hand and squeeze it gently like a softball to be sure it is evenly coated.  Repeat with the remaining apples.

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Brush with apple cider and sprinkle with the course sugar.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove and allow to cool slightly, serve warm with maple ice cream……Heaven!

Grilled Beet and Tomato Salad

If you have ever grilled beets, you will agree they are delicious.  However, sometimes there are leftovers.  I found them too good to throw away so I came up with this salad idea at the end of tomato season to rave reviews by my test kitchen committee (my family). If you don’t have leftover grilled beets, then just grill them first and use still warm from the grill in this salad.

4-6 1/2 thick slices fresh grilled beets*

2-3 tomatoes sliced 1/2″ thick

4-5 thin sliced rings from a red onion (or more as desired)

2-3 oz. crumbled feta cheese

4-5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped

course ground sea salt and pepper

*If you need to first grill the beets, place the slices over a hot grill and cook until soft on both sides.  Baste with olive oil while on the grill.  Remove and put aside.

Arrange the beet and tomato slices on a serving platter.  Place the onion slices on top.  Sprinkle the chopped rosemary evenly over the salad then add the feta cheese.  Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the salad and add salt and pepper to taste.

Raspberry Granola bars

Due to many likes on twitter I feel I need to share this recipe…

2 sticks of unsalted butter – softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

12 oz. raspberry jam

2/3 cup granola

1/4 cup sliced almonds

preheat oven to 350F. With electric mixer cream the butter and sugar just until combined.  Add vanilla. Combine the flour and salt and slowly add to the butter mixture.  Mix until dough almost forms a ball.  Lightly pat about 2/3 of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 9″ square baking pan and about 1/2″ up the sides.  Spread with jam.  Mix the granola into the remaining dough by hand.  Break into small bits and spread on top of jam, covering most of the surface.  Sprinkle the almonds on top.  Bake at 350 for approx. 45 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool completely and cut into bars.

Dads Cook – Caramelized Onion Pizza

This past weekend in the northeast truly assured us that fall is on it’s way.  Days shortening and that familiar crispness in the air.  Sunday proved to be one of those “Dads Cook” kind of days.  My husband makes a mean carmelized onion and feta pizza as well as a great veggie pizza.  Here are just some pics to get you in the mood.  Find the carmelized onion recipe in the ‘recipe’ section.

Carmelized Onion Pizza

One store bought pizza dough

4 large sweet onions, sliced in rings

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. cider vinegar

4-6 oz crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts (depending on which you prefer)

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  If using a baking stone place in oven to preheat.  Shape the dough into one large round.  Place on floured peel for easy transfer into the oven.  Meanwhile, in a frying pan over low heat melt the butter and oil.  Fry the onions stirring regularly to avoid burning, about 20 minutes.  They should be very soft, add a little water as needed if they begin to stick.  Add the sugar and vinegar and continue to cook until the vinegar evaporates.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The onions should have a golden brown hue.

Top the pizza with the onions to cover.  Sprinkle with the nuts and then the cheese.  Place into the oven and bake for approx. 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 400 and bake until the crust is golden.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for approx. 10 minutes.

Presenting snacks..

Here they come, running up the drive, undoubtably hungry!  I try to have healthy snacks around for my children when they come home from the end of the school day, but truth be known, that’s not always what they’re craving.  I like to welcome them from time to time with something warm and sweet from the oven, the smells, the welcome!  However, that is not always feasible with busy schedules and after school sports.  Don’t put the pressure on yourself, it’s fine to purchase those goodies.  Like anything, it’s all in the presentation.  I like to buy brownies cut them up and stack them high on a cake plate.  Who wouldn’t be able to resist.  Purchase a cake plate or even a commercial style stand such as you would see in classic American diners.  Anything presented on a cake stand is immediatly elevated (no pun intended) to irrisistableness.

Oven Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Oven baked stuffed tomatoes


4 large ripe tomatoes


1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice the tomatoe tops off horizontally and scoop the top 2/3’s of the pulp and seeds out.  Salt the insides and rest upside down on a wire rack resting on a sheet pan.  About 15 minutes.  In a medium bowl, mix the bread crumbs, the panko crumbs, garlic, basil, half the parmesan cheese, oil and pepper.  Stuff the tomatoes with the filling. Place in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake until cooked through and tops are golden, approx. 30 minutes.  Enjoy!