Fresh Water Salmon Fishing and how the Dad’s prepared the Catch!

A few of my husband’s friends and their sons, went fishing for salmon on Lake Ontario.  It was quite an experience for all of them and the amount of fish was crazy!

It was professionally cleaned and packaged up to take home.  We decided to have a fish dinner with all the participants and the families.  The men did all the “fish work”, dividing it up, coming up with a plan to cook, etc.  Some was placed directly on the grill with the simplest of seasonings, butter, lemon and garlic.  They also packaged some for individual servings by placing portions in foil packets.  The fish was placed on top of asparagus spears, then topped with onion, fresh lemon rings and dill.  Then melted butter was spooned over before sealing up the packets and placing on the grill.  The results were a resounding success and utterly delicious.

Grilled Romaine

It seems as the list of things you can throw at the grill is becoming endless.  I’d heard about this and had to try.  Since my husband is the gill master, he did the actually cooking.  This is more of a “how-to” rather than an actual receipe. 

Using whole romaine hearts.  Slice the romaine lengthwise, careful the keep the leaves attached to the stem.  Very lightly brush with olive oil.  Place the romaine on the hot grill cut side down first.  Then flip over and grill opposite side.  This should all be done super quickly – the goal is to just get a little of the grill marks on each side and just slightly wilt.  Remove and place on a serving platter (or individual serving plates).  Drizzle with dressing, top with croutons and blue cheese or any other toppings – optional!  Serve immediately, salad should be warm.

Dressing – I used a buttermilk ranch and diluted it slightly with apple cider vinegar, only because I prefer the dressing to get between the leaves rather than sit heavily on top.

Serving ideas – I served the lettuce with sides of caprese just for color, but it can be served with many options.  Think crumbly bacon, feta cheese, toasted almonds or pine nuts. 

Dads Cook – Stuffed Cabbage Rolls!

Whether you call them ‘Pigs in a Blanket’ or ‘Stuffed Cabbage Rolls’ the same is true that admittedly, these can be pretty labor intensive, but if you have a cold day outside and are hunkered in for the afternoon, pull out the pots and pans because this is a great way to prepare some meals to freeze and enjoy one that day as well.

The ingredients to this dish are pretty simple, just increase amounts if you are preparing several pans for freezing.

One head of cabbage – remove tough outer few leaves

1 1/2 cups white rice (uncooked)

4 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 tbsp. cumin

1/2 tbsp. paprika

salt and pepper

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

Cook the rice according to the directions and set aside. Cut the core deeply out of the head of cabbage.  Place in a large pot and fill with water.  Bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, sauté the onions, add the meat and brown completely.  Add the peppers and garlic and cook until the peppers are completely softened.  Stir in the tomato paste and seasonings.  Cook thoroughly, remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice mixing well, set aside.  As the cabbage cooks, the outer leaves will gradually peel off.  Gently lift them with tongs and put aside.  Place the cabbage back into the boiling water and continue to cook, removing the outer leaves as they cook.  As the cabbage gets smaller you may need to score the bottoms of the leaves near the core in order to remove them, they should easily peel off.  Continue this until you have used almost the entire head of cabbage, there should only be a small grapefruit-sized piece left that is usually too difficult to get apart – set that aside.  Take one of the cabbage leaves and place about scant 1 cup of the meat filling in the center of the leaf, fold the sides in and roll up.  Place in a prepared ‘lasagna style’ baking dish.  Place the rolls in a single layer, they can be packed firmly together.  Spread about 1/2 jar marinara sauce on the rolls and cover with foil.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 40 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake another 15 – 20 minutes.  Serve with a fresh loaf of crusty bread and an extra dish of warmed sauce to spoon on if desired.  Enjoy!

*If you are going to freeze the cabbage rolls, do not add the pasta sauce.  When you remove them from the freezer to cook, add the sauce at that point

Dads Cook – Lasagna!

Now that the cold fall days are upon us – not to mention football season.  It’s back to the ‘Dads Cook’ entries.  My husband loves to cook things that take all afternoon while watching the games on TV and as long as he’s cooking one lasagna, he makes 2 or 3 to freeze for later.  I think everyone has a recipe for lasagna, so I haven’t posted one here, but probably in the future I’ll be posting our recipe.  The pictures below are meant to inspire – and get your hungry on.

Dads Cook – Grilled Beets!

Like most men, I think, my husband loves to work the grill. He is a ‘purist’ in that he only grills with lump charcoal. I have to admit that it truly adds that wonderful bar-b-q flavor.  For Father’s Day he grilled porterhouse steaks and beets.  Just wash the beets, no need to peel, cut into thick slices, brush with olive oil and grill until somewhat soft. Delicious!

Dads Cook – Braciole

My husband loves making this recipe on a long afternoon, watching football in the kitchen, fireplace aglow.  He usually doubles or triples it to freeze for meals later on.

You will need:

2 cloves  garlic peeled and minced
1/2 bunch  flat leaf parsley stemmed and minced
2  large eggs
3 Tbsp  golden raisins
2 Tbsp  shredded pecorino-romano cheese
1/2 cup  seasoned bread crumbs
3 Tbsp  toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb  ground beef
2 pkgs (1-1 1/2 lbs each)  Top Round Beef Cutlets
2 Tbsp  olive oil
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 jars (24 oz each)  good marinara sauce

You’ll Need: Braising pan


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Prepare filling: Add garlic, parsley, eggs, raisins, cheese, bread crumbs, pine nuts, salt and pepper to ground beef. Mix well with hands until well-blended.
  2. Lay cutlets flat on work surface. Place about 1/3 cup filling on lower 1/3 of cutlet. Roll up cutlets; season with salt and pepper. Dust with pan-searing flour; pat off excess.
  3. Heat oil in large braising pan on MEDIUM-HIGH, until oil faintly smokes. Add beef rolls, seam-side down, to pan. Turn over when meat changes color one-quarter of way up and seared side has turned paper-bag brown, about 3-4 min. Sear other side about 2 min, until brown. Remove from pan.
  4. Remove excess drippings from pan, leaving about 1 Tbsp in pan. Lower heat to MEDIUM; add wine, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan. Add tomato sauce; stir to combine.
  5. Return meat to pan. Bring liquid to 180-degree simmer; check using thermometer. Cover; place in oven. Braise 2 hours, until meat is very tender.

Serve with pasta and a green salad. Enjoy!

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.

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.