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Egg Salad

4/22/2024 – This is a kicked-up version of our traditional egg salad and was good. This was inspired by the recipe here.


  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. yellow mustard – See note below.
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to serve
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper – Next time use 1 tsp.
  • 1 tbsp. dill pickle juice – See note 1 below.
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika, plus more to serve
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper – Next time use 1/4 tsp.
  • 12 whole hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped dill pickles juice pressed out in the spoon – See note 1 below.
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill – Did not have it for this prep but it should be a good addition. See below where another recipe used 1 ½ teaspoons of dried dill weed.


  1. Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne until well combined.
  2. Coarsely chop the hard-boiled eggs; fold into the dressing with the onion, pickles, chives, and dill. Cover and refrigerate the egg salad until ready to serve.


  1. An alternative to the dill pickle juice plus finely chopped dill pickles would be to use dill pickle relish with the juice. 3 tbsp of relish with the juice would likely be too much. Try 2 tbsp.
  2. The 2 tbsp of yellow mustard was too much for us. Try 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard.
  3. Use more cayenne pepper and black pepper.
  4. Some finely chopped celery would be a good addition.
  5. A tsp of horse radish could be a good addition.

Ingredients from other recipes to try with 12 eggs

  • Bacon
  • 2 tsp chile-garlic sauce such as Sriracha
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 stalks celery, minced

Hamburger Steaks with Onion & Mushroom Gravy

4/15/2024 – This is a kicked-up Salisbury Steak dish inspired by the recipe here. It was very good.


  • Hamburger Steaks:
  • heaping teaspoon of ground mustard
  • heaping teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20)
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Onion and Mushroom Gravy:

  • 10 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • dried thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth, hot
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • red pepper flakes


  1. For the hamburger steaks: Whisk together the mustard, smoked paprika, egg, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Mix in the ground beef and breadcrumbs by hand, then form into 4 oval patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Set a large pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the patties and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the patties to a plate; set aside.
  3. For the onion and mushroom gravy: Turn the heat down to medium and add the mushrooms and thyme. Cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and are browned. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate; set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in the pan, add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until lightly golden. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring. Pour the broth and Worcestershire into the pan and stir until the flour is dissolved.
  5. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir the mushrooms back into the pan and nestle in the beef patties. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium low. Let simmer until the sauce has thickened and a thermometer inserted into the patties registers 165 degrees F, about 10 minutes.
  6. Turn the patties over a few times to coat in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad

3/30/2024 – This dish turned out very good and was a nice change from our family’s traditional salad. It was inspired by a recipe at who got it from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, cook Blair Hobbs of Oxford, Mississippi. Servings: 12. We made a half recipe for the two of us and had a lot of leftovers. This would be fun to take to potlucks as it is different from the usual potato salad. It was very good when still warm from the hot potatoes and the next morning cold from the refrigerator.


5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
4 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled. In our half-recipe we put 3 eggs.
1 Tbsp. table salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 cup sweet pickle relish, drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
2 Tbsp. seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
~1 rounded Tbsp of pickled jalapeño peppers, chopped small
1 to 2 tsp. celery salt
4 drops of hot sauce
smoked paprika sprinkled on top for looks


  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover 20 minutes or until tender; drain and cool 15 minutes. Chop potatoes into 1″+ pieces and place in a large bowl. Add eggs. Season with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
  2. Blend the mayonnaise and next 13 ingredients. Gently stir into potato/egg mixture.
  3. Sprinkle with paprika; adjust seasoning.

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

3/23/2024 – Made for the Fellowship Sunday School class at Christ United. Inspired by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. This dish was very good and well-liked by many.


  • 16 ounces of breakfast sausage.
  • 1 cup small diced multicolor sweet peppers. Mell called for Bell Peppers.
  • 1 cup small diced yellow onion
  • 8 large eggs – See Next Time below.
  • 1 cup half an half milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ~1 teaspoon salt
  • enough fresh-ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces frozen tater tots but only use enough to cover the bottom of the dish.
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chopped green onion or chives, for garnish
  • Sour cream and salsa, for serving (optional)


  • Remove the sour cream from the refrigerator ahead of time to warm up some so it will blend into the milk. Then add the eggs.
  • Whisk the eggs, milk, sour cream, salt, and pepper until smooth.
  • Brown the sausage, peppers, and onions, crumbling the sausage into small pieces as it cooks, until it is no longer pink and cooked through and the veggies are tender. Drain the grease.
  • Spray PAM in a 9×13-inch Pyrex casserole dish. Place the tater tots in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. (Use only as many tater tots as will fit in a single layer).
  • Sprinkle sausage over the tater tots followed by the veggies. Sprinkle cheese evenly across the top.
  • Pour the egg mixture evenly over and across the top. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake covered for 25 minutes. Uncover and baked about 45 minutes until set. To set took longer than Mel’s recipe even though it was in our convection oven.
  • Sprinkle with green onions.
  • Put into the insulated carrier and took in the SS. Cut into approximately 2.5-inch squares and served about an hour after removal from the oven and it was still hot. It cut better after it had rested and set more firmly.

Next time:

  • Chopped ham or cooked bacon would work great, too, in place of the sausage or in addition to the sausage.
  • Add jalapenos depending on the crowd. Cilantro could also be interesting.
  • Substitute shredded hash brown potatoes as the tater tots were large chunks of potato.
  • The tater tots needed to be seasoned as the chucks were a bit bland. Salt and fine ground pepper would have helped and clung to the rough exterior.
  • Alternatively, to help the tots break down use 2 additional eggs to add to the moisture that soaks in overnight. The sausage and veggies were protruding from the sauce a bit much and could have been more covered.
  • This cook used Rouces store-brand sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack shredded cheese. The cheese flavors were mild and could be improved.
  • Given it was not set after the original recipes time ran out, and once it did the edges seemed not as moist, take it out of the refrigerator ahead of time to warm up some to allow it to cook more evenly.
  • Serve with something other than the small triangular cake/pie spatula as some of the class embers had trouble keeping the large high square on the narrow pointed spatula until over the paper plate.

Pastrami from Store-Bought Corned Beef

3/17/2024 – St. Patrick’s Day

This smoke is cheating as we did not corn the brisket but bought a 2.66 lb. Murphy and David’s Corned Beef Brisket at Rouces. The piece selected appeared flat in the package and without muscle seams. Once opened it was a very clean, square piece of the brisket flat. This cook turned out great.

  1. Preheated the Recteq to 225° with Master Blend Pellets.
  2. Washed off the red basting liquid from the package and let drain, then used a paper towel to remove most of the water.
  3. Seasoned moderately with 6POGS and heavily with fresh ground coriander seed.

Mediterranean Chicken Recipe

3/2/2024 – This was the first time we made this recipe inspired by Suzy here. It was very good and has a lot of potential for mods based on what is on hand. The leftovers were even better.


  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
  • 2 tablespoons EVO
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped to ¼ inch.
  • 1 large can of Marzano tomatoes. She called for 4 small tomatoes, diced, about 1 ½ cups.
  • ¼ cup capers or she said to use sliced green olives.
  • Crumbled feta cheese to garnish


  • Dry brined the skinless thighs two hours ahead.
  • Rub the garlic on both sides of the chicken, pushing some garlic into slits made with a knife. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with our Mediterranean Grilling Rub, blend no. 4.
  • In the large Calphalon skillet, heat the olive oil and sear the chicken on both sides. Then add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Then simmer to reduce by half.
  • Add the lemon juice and chicken broth. Sprinkle the remaining ½ tablespoon of oregano on top and turn the heat to medium. Cover with the lid. Cook, turning the chicken over until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Top with chopped onions, tomatoes and olives. Cover again and cook for 3 minutes. Finish with feta cheese (if using).

Suzy suggested adding chopped spinach.

Pork Chops Seared on the Recteq

2/22/2024 – Seared 5 ½-inch thick, large bone-in pork chops on the Recteq Searing Grates. They turned out good.

  • Preheated recteq to 400ºF with a Sear Kit on the right side of the grill.
  • The chops had been dry brined several days ago. Seasoned them with 6POGS on one side and Creole Seasoning on the other.
  • Sear pork chop for 10 minutes per side.
  • Allowed to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Next Time – Preheat to 450 for thin chops and let it go for 10 minutes or more once it reaches temp to be sure the grates are also hot so there are darker sear marks as opposed to indentions with little color.

This follows a Recteq recipe for “thick” chops where the smoker was preheated to 500° and grilled on each side for 6 minutes each to an IT of 140°.

Greek Roasted Chicken on the Recteq

2/13/2024 – This quick smoke turned out very moist and flavorful. Used it first for lunch today in wraps with cilantro, red onion, fresh tomato, and sriracha. It was great as were the warmed-up leftovers.

  1. Thawed a whole chicken and spatchcocked it.
  2. Preheated Recteq to 325?.
  3. Seasoned the outside of the chicken and under the skin with a Greek Seasoning blend from the Spice Sage, Za’atar and Ladolemono (Greek Salad Dressing by
  4. Placed on the Recteq and cooked for about an hour until 165° in the breast. Covered with foil and allowed the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Try this with our Mediterranean Seasoning Blend.

Rump Roast Recipe

2/4/2024 & 2/27/2024 – The roast was great, simple, and quick to get into the oven. It also cooked quickly. The cook was inspired by the recipe by Julia here. On 2/27/2024, Mary tweaked the recipe and those adjusted and included below


  • 4-5 pound boneless beef rump roast.
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • One TBS fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • One tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • Enough garlic cut into slices to be inserted deeply into knife slots in the roast
  • 1 chopped into long thin slices and caramelized onion.
  • 1-2 tsp dried thyme & rosemary minced
  • Red pepper flakes from our garden-grown cayenne peppers


  1. The day before, salt the roast to dry brine.
  2. Mix olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder seasoning to make a seasoning paste.
  3. Remove meat from the fridge and let sit covered on the counter for at least ½-1 hour to get closer to room temperature.
  4. Preheat your convection oven to 425°F.
  5. Pierce the roast with a paring-style knife and insert slivers of garlic about 2″ on center, all over. Push the garlic in deep so it does not pop out while roasting.
  6. Rub the roast with the seasoning paste from Step 2 so that it is well coated with the paste.
  7. Caramelize the onion in the EVO in the skillet, with red pepper flakes, until lightly wilted. Move to a bowl.
  8. Sear the roast with EVO in the hot cast iron pan. Add more EVOO if needed.
  9. Pour into the pan: 1 cup beef broth and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
  10. Place hot pan with seared and seasoned rump roast into a preheated 425°F convection oven.
  11. Roast for 20 minutes at 450°F.
  12. Add the caramelized onion on top and around the roast.
  13. Turn the temperature down to 225°F and slow roast to 135° IT.
  14. Remove the roast, cover it with aluminum foil, and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing thin and across the grain.

Greek Chicken

1/13/2024 – This dish turned out great and will be one we make again more than once. It was inspired by a recipe by Suzy at here.

Note: We dry-brined the boneless/skinless thighs 24 hours before this cook.


For Greek Salad Dressing aka The Ladolemono (how to pronounce)

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice Juice of 2 large lemons
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

For The Chicken And Veggies

  • 1 large red onion, halved and sliced into ½ -inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced into ½-inch pieces (half moons)
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, cored and sliced into ½-inch thick slices
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 yellow squash
  • fresh green beans
  • Kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 6 large boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled roughly
  • ¼ cup of our homemade Italian Seasonings.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Mix the lemon juice, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper and whisk vigorously to combine. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified.
  3. In a bowl drizzle about half of the dressing on the veggies and stir to coat. The coating will be light as there is not that much dressing.
  4. On a large sheet pan, spread the onions, zucchini, squash, and green beans. Season well with salt and pepper, then spread the vegetables out so they are all touching the surface of the pan.
  5. Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and our homemade Italian Seasonings. Nestle the chicken, olives, and chunks of feta in between the vegetables and drizzle with the remaining sauce, making sure the chicken especially is covered with the sauce.
  6. Bake on the center rack of your heated oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes.
  7. Finish and serve. Remove from the oven, plate, and spoon the pan juice over the chicken.