Acorn Squash, Roasted Corn on the Cob, Skillet Steaks, & Duquesne Beer

Recently, we had a ridiculously excellent fall dinner.  I could eat this meal several nights a week, and not grow tired of it.

Delicious Fall Dinner
Acorn Squash, Corn on the Cob, Skillet Steaks, & Duquense Beer!

First up was the acorn squash, which is really easy to prepare once you get the damn thing cut open.  I have recently stopped trying to go through the whole thing at once.  I use a serrated knife and poke from the beside stem into the center, then slice out form the stem all the way back around until I hit the stem again, then crack it open.

After scooping out the seeds (which I always wonder about cooking like pumpkin seeds) and stringy gross stuff, I placed the two halves orange side up in a glass baking dish in about ½” to ¾” of water.  Don’t worry, they actually generally do sit up that way without a problem.  I sliced the tops/insides a little in preparation for the next part…

Acorn Squash, after roasting.
SQUASH!

I melted some butter (or some Country Crock spread actually) in the microwave, probably about 3 tablespoons worth, and added a little bit of brown sugar, stirred, then ladled it on the top & into the cup formed in the middle.  Add it to taste.  I don’t really ever measure this.  If you’re looking for a measurement form me, add what you think is too much brown sugar, then add a pinch more.  I also added a tiny bit of black pepper & paprika to mine this time… but I add that to almost everything.

After that, I placed it in the already pre-heating oven at 400° for about an hour and 5 minutes.  I was going for somewhere between an hour and an hour & 15 minutes, and it worked out closer to the hour this time.  Check on it around the hour mark.  This one was roasted perfectly… the meat of the squash was just melting on to the spoon, & peeling right off of the skin inside.  It was really a great flavorful vegetable.  I don’t know if this is baking or roasting, but whatever it is, it works.  It would have also been good scooped out & served like groovy orange mashed potatoes.

Corn, unressed, re-dressed, & bound for doom!
Corn, undressed, re-dressed, & bound for doom!

Up next was the corn, figuring temperature was more important for the squash, I typically roast corn at 425° or 450° for 20 minutes to a half hour… but figured why not let it ride along with the squash here?

My wife & I carefully pulled back all the husks… just pulled them back not off, then removed the silk.

We buttered (again, we used Country Crock’s butter approximation), salted, & peppered the corn.

Next we wrapped it back up, and tied the tops back together using a loose strand of the husk.  This doesn’t always work out, so sometimes I use foil & make little caps to keep ’em all bound together.

I did a whole post on corn & why you should keep it in the husk, and never ever boil it unless you’re making soup.  You can read that here if you’re interested.  As you can see, “other stuff in the oven” is not even a good excuse to boil corn.  It can go along for the ride.  Proof?  It turned out beautifully:

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob
Why would you boil corn, when you could have this awesomeness every time?

I wish my cell phone’s camera got better shots.  I need to think farther than Facebook or Twitter when taking food photos, and get the real camera so I can post more to this blog.  The corn husks did smoke a little… but I didn’t see any flames, and it let me know when it was done.  Ha ha ha.  I’ve grown to not rely on timers so much, but to go with temperature and a gut feeling.

Oddly enough for a carnivore like myself, the steak was not the star of this meal.  We just got some thin  skillet steaks and put them on the Foreman grill oiled, salted, & peppered for about 5 minutes, maybe a little less.  They turned out fine.  The Foreman Grill seems to be my go-to tool for cooking meat until I get new knobs for by real grill outside.  I’m in a Yahoo! Group that’s a really good resource for innovative GFG cooking.

I topped it all off with the newly resurrected Duquesne Beer.  [Insert zombie and or Jesus joke here.]  I have a collection of antique bottles and have a Duke beer bottle in with my local stuff… so when I heard that they were making it again, I knew I had to try some.  I was born after the company was dissolved the first time, so I can’t compare it to the original… but it is a nice mellow pilsner that goes well with this kind of dinner.  It rounded out the meal perfectly.

It was aggravating to get my hands on some though… they’ve had a weird release schedule, and no 6 pack shops around me were carrying the stuff.  When one local pizza joint was listed as having the stuff, I went there to buy some and they had no idea what I was talking about.  I ended up buying a case, but luckily I don’t feel “stuck” with something that I don’t like.

Chili à la AiXeLsyD

Originally from a post at PittsburghBeat.com, here’s a few consolidated chili recipe/methods…


I’ve never made chili before, and in researching, I came across 50 billion recipes. So, this morning I made my own in the crock pot…

  • 2 cans of condensed tomato soup
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 packet of chili mix
  • about ½ cup of water
  • 1 tsp. of beef bullion
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • however much ground meat was leftover from last night
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • a dash of paprika
  • a dash of garlic

…and I slapped it into the crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Hope it tastes good when I get home. I’ve got shredded cheddar cheese for the top of it, & Super-Pretzels to go along with it. They always served pretzels & chili in my elementary school cafeteria so they belong together in my warped mind.

…Most of them use tomato paste, soup, sauce, juice, or diced tomatoes as a base… I even saw one that called for Spicy hot V8… and I think my mom always used soup. Tomato paste is usually bitter, so I figured the tomato soup would counteract it. All of the spices should be rockin’. I like my chili thick.

Oh yeah, about 1/2 the ground meat was cooked w/ some seasoning salt & A1.


Here’s what basically went into my chili. I’ll probably eventually make a blog about it with a narrative so I can remember what I did this time for next time… to see what I wanna change or what I wanna do again.

CannedStuff.jpg

ChiliSeasoningPackets.jpg

Spices.jpg

Peppers.jpg

Peppers-Diced.jpg

RedHot.jpg

groundbeef-inpackage.jpg

groundbeef-MEAT.jpg

groundbeef-littlepan-raw.jpg

groundbeef-bothpansonstove.jpg

groundbeef-bigpan-cooked.jpg

chili-pre-cooked-incrockpot-lidoff.jpg

chili-pre-cooked-incrockpot-lidon.jpg

crockpot-overflowingmaybe.jpg

crockpot-fatontop.jpg

crockpot-fatskimmedoff.jpg

I ended up only using the one can of diced tomatoes (the one with jalapeños) and still kind’ve overflowed the pot by a small amount. So, next time I may cut out one can of tomato soup or a can of beans. Also, I want to try garbanzo beans in my next batch… and I’ve heard chocolate powder goes good in chili some times… so I wanna try that one day too.

I also tossed in 2 slices of Velveeta ripped apart, a dash of spicy brown mustard, and a drop or 2 of A1 Cracked Peppercorn Steak Sauce.

I think the meat that I used was too fatty or I didn’t drain enough fat (…even though I got a about ⅔ of a regular sized plastic cup full of fat out of it). I had to skim some excess grease off of the top when I popped it open this morning.

I’ll let you know the general consensus after it’s been consumed.

Meatloaf with a surprise…

This is all from a post on my other blog:  So, I made a meatloaf last night.


I was hungry for meatloaf, so the other day I asked my wife to pick up some ground meat and croutons at the store, and last night I decided I was in the mood to cook.

Every time I make meatloaf, I think of my mom & grandma telling me how my grandpap used to make it with hard boiled eggs in the middle. I always thought that would be fun to try… but something pushed me into finally doing it. A look at Wikipedia seems to indicate that the eggs-in-the-middle is a Hungarian, Phillipino, Bulgarian or Czech thing… Thanks for the help, Wikipedia. As far as I know, that side of the family is mostly German & Irish… so who knows where it came from? Not like people couldn’t come up with this stuff independently… but I like to read useless information.

Whenever I make meatloaf, I never use a set recipe. I always end up googling something like “How long and at what temperature do I cook a 2 lb. Meatloaf?” or going to Cooks.com and simply searching for “Meatloaf” right before I start. This time was no exception. I also usually end up calling my mom, to see what she would do as far as time/temperature.

I’m amazed at how many things you can do to meatloaf. I’m gonna try shredded carrots some time. And maybe I’ll even try soaking bread crumbs or croutons in milk before mixing them in. I have used just chunks of bread, crumbled crackers, bread crumbs, and even mashed potato flakes… but too many bread crumbs or crackers and the meatloaf is just gross… more loaf than meat, and that’s certainly not a good thing.

This time though, I kept it pretty simple… except for the eggs, I guess… and the bacon…

Here’s what went into it…

  • About 2 lbs. ground chuck… I think it was the 90/10 stuff.
  • 2 handfuls of “seasoned” croutons… one crumbled, one not…
  • 1 egg (raw)
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • assorted spices… minced garlic, fresh ground black pepper, whatever else I grabbed out of the cupboard… no real discernible measurements here. I think I even popped in a little ketchup, A1, and Parmesan cheese…

All that got mixed together, well, without the hard-boiled eggs… then I formed the bottom of the loaf in a glass pan, on top of 3 slices of white bread… made spots for the eggs, placed them gently in the raw ground goodness, and covered them over with the rest.

Eggs in meatloaf mixture, on top of the bread slices...
Eggs in meatloaf mixture, on top of the bread slices...

I picked up the meatloaf on top of slices of bread trick from my dad. It serves a double purpose, it prevents the bottom of the loaf from burning, and soaks up any extra grease… I needed a loaf rather than a few slices for this one, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Grandma used to usually put ketchup on the top of her meatloaf. My mom said that my grandpap used to sometimes top his with some mashed potatoes & brown them for a potato frosting. My meatloaf needed something on top… my signature, if you will.

This is where we cross from odd into ridiculous. I couldn’t decide, so I made a triple topping. Typically I go with a glaze on top that’s a mixture of Ketchup, whatever honey mustard, and A1. But the eggs in the middle told me to do something goofy… so I got out some shredded cheddar jack cheese… Then the eggs reminded me of bacon… so I got that out too.

So for the top of the meatloaf we had…

  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Frech’s Honey Mustard
  • A1 Steak Sauce
  • shredded cheddar jack cheese
  • Bacon

The glaze is probably about 2/3 ketchup, 1/6 mustard, and 1/6 A1. How much of each? I dunno. I eyed it & mixed it in a coffee mug. I put that on top of the meatloaf. It looked pretty good. Then I sprinkled the cheese on top of that… Still lookin’ OK, albeit a little brighter.

Meatloaf + Cheese & ketchup/mustard/A1 glaze...
Meatloaf + Cheese & ketchup/mustard/A1 glaze...

Then the “aaaaaaaaah”/choir of angels moment… BACON.

I’ve used bacon-bits in meatloaf and chili before, but I’ve never wrapped anything in bacon. There’s a first time for everything, right? Of course, I had to top the bacon with more fresh ground pepper.

After reviewing a bunch of stuff on line, and talking to my mom… I decided to cook it for about an hour and a half and make sure the meat thermometer reached 160° F. I had it covered in foil for about an hour, the last half letting it go uncovered to get the bacon nice & brown… maybe a little too brown this time, but oh well.

I realize this isn’t the most healthy meal in the world, but I seemed to offend the senses of some and become a champion of sorts to others simply by posting photos in photobucket and sharing the link on facebook.

Its... BACON!
It's... BACON!

My sister-in-law asked how many calories it was, and while I know it was in jest, it got me wondering, so I asked Yahoo!.

The finished product!
The finished product!

This is the meal of a carnivore, as it has stuff from three different animals… although one didn’t have to die in the process of harvesting its delicious nutrition.

Next time, I may not use so much bacon… because it made a pool of grease at the bottom of the baking dish that wasn’t all that appealing.

The eggs are a neat surprise, and a good way to stretch it I suppose… but I doubt I’ll do every meatloaf like this from now on. But, at least I can say I’ve done it, and I know what it looks and tastes like.

I hope you enjoyed my tale of meaty decadence… and I hope to hear others recipes/ideas/surprise ingredients!