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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Grilling some BBQ Ribs and Some Meals This Week, Wow!

I Have gotten way off schedule lately. Michelle has been working a lot of hours, Sean’s school is winding down and I started a new work project that takes a lot of my time, so I haven’t had much time for blogging on either blog lately, but I also have gotten away from our meal plan for the last few weeks. We are going to try to get back to it this week, so hopefully it all works out. In the meantime, while I am not grilling today because we are getting heavy rain here in New York, I did grill yesterday and made some Barbecued Pork Ribs. Now I have made baby back ribs on here before (check here for the recipe), but spare ribs were on sale at the supermarket last week so I got some and made them yesterday and they turned out great. It’s a simple recipe, but they take a long time to cook, which actually gave me a bit of an advantage using the electric grill over charcoal and gas, although maintaining the proper heat levels on the electric grill can get a little tricky. You really have to watch the temperature gauge closely to make sure its working out. Any type of grill will work with this, you just need to keep checking and rotating the ribs. This recipe, from America’s Test Kitchen, is written for a gas grill.

Barbecue Pork Ribs

2 full racks spareribs (2 to 3 pounds each)

1/2 cup Barbecue Spice Rub (This is the same rub I used on the pulled pork a couple of weeks ago, I always make extra to have to use for ribs, burgers, steaks, chicken, etc. You can get the recipe here or I will list it below)

2 cups wood chips, soaked and drained

2 cups barbecue sauce

Massage the ribs all over with the rub and let them stand at room temperature, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for 1 hour. Place the wood chips in a disposable aluminum tray (I actually have a small cast iron smoker box I use) and rest the tray directly on top of the primary burner. Turn all the burners to high, close the lid, and heat the grill until very hot and the chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Clean and oil the grill. Turn the primary burner down to medium and turn off the other burners.

Position the ribs over the cooler part of the grill and cover. Barbecue until the meat starts to pull away from the bones, 3 to 4 hours, flipping, switching and rotating the ribs every 30 minutes. The temperature inside the grill should remain between 300 and 275 degrees. brush the ribs with barbecue sauce during the final 15 minutes of cooking.

Since I was using the electric grill, I had to pay particular attention the temperature. There really aren’t any cool spots to speak of when using electric since the element covers a lot of the surface area, so I would have to make sure to rotate and flip and keep the ribs to the edges of the grill. It took some work, but they were fall off the bone tasty. If you want the barbecue spice rub, here it is:

Barbecue Spice Rub

1/2 cup chili powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup salt

2 tablespoons black pepper

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients until well combined. Store in an airtight container. It will last for about 1 month.

As I said, I use it for a lot of different things, like chicken, steak and shrimp and burgers, but you can use it for whatever you would like. I served the ribs with some of the leftover beans we had frozen from the pulled pork dinner, some corn on the cob, and some potato salad. It was a great Sunday meal.

As for the rest of the week, tonight I am making Pepper Steak, which I have made before on here and you can get the recipe right here. For the rest of the week, I did buy the meat necessary, I just haven’t decided what to make yet, so it will be wait and see when you check on here to see what the meal will be. I did buy some pork chops, a whole cut up chicken, some frozen shrimp and some chicken legs (I’ll probably use some of these to make chicken stock). I’ll have to see what kind of recipes I can come up with. Any suggestions? Any input at all would be greatly appreciated any time. You can leave a comment here, on my Facebook page or on Twitter. Until the next meal, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Pork, Potatoes, Side Dishes

 

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Grocery Shopping for Healthy Cooking at Home | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog

Grocery Shopping for Healthy Cooking at Home | Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy Living Blog.

 

An interesting article on a good way to start eating healthy and potentially save some money in your wallet instead of going out, buying coffee, buying lunch, etc. It might be worth a try to give this a shot, and this seems like a good starter list.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Pantry

 

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Weekend Entertaining: Picnic Primer

Weekend Entertaining: Picnic Primer.

With the warmer weather upon us, our attention turns to eating outside and picnics. This blog post from Williams-Sonoma provides you with everything you need for your picnic, from equipment to beverages, sandwiches, salads and desserts. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Cooking Websites

 

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Time to Get Your Grill On

It’s a beautiful day here in New York and it seemed like a good time to do some grilling. I have a boneless turkey breast, and I thought that would be great on the grill with some potato packets and some grilled asparagus, So let’s go for it!

Grilled Turkey London Broil

2 pounds turkey London broil (this is just one boneless turkey breast)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Montreal Chicken Seasoning

1/4 cup white wine

1 teaspoon honey

Mix all the ingredients together for the marinade and whisk until well blended. In a large plastic storage bag, place the turkey and then cover with the marinade. Close the bag tightly, letting the air out, and mix so the marinade covers the turkey. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Heat a grill until medium-warm. Remove the turkey from the bag and reserve the marinade. Place the turkey and the grill and cover the grill. Cook for approximately 30 minutes per pound brushing often with the marinade (turkey can get dry, so you need to do this) and turning often. The turkey is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Allow to rest after removing it from the grill before slicing and serving.

I like to use the Montreal chicken seasoning with turkey. It’s a nice blend of spices and gives some good flavor. I use it with ground turkey all the time when making chili or turkey burgers.

The potato packets are pretty easy too. My Dad used to make these all the time, and God bless him, he tried, but he inevitably burned these a lot, but Dad also never used an oil or anything inside the packets to help with the cooking. They come out fine with some oil or butter. I only make this to serve the three of us, so you can adjust the recipe for more or less people.

Grilled Potato Packets

3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and sliced

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 onion, diced

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons butter, sliced into 3 slices and then cubed

Cooking spray

Tear off three large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray each sheet with cooking spray. Using 1 potato, place a layer of potatoes in the middle of each sheet (try to keep it to one layer if you can). Cover the potato with one of the sliced carrots and then sprinkle with some onion. Season with salt and pepper. Place one of the cubed slices on top of the vegetables, spreading out the cubes over so they will melt into the vegetables when cooking. Wrap the potato tightly in the foil, folding it over the potato so the packet is thin (if it’s too thick it will take longer to cook). Repeat the process with the remaining potatoes. Place the packets on the hot grill, cover the grill and cook, turning about every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve.

I tried to keep the vegetable simple to by just using grilled asparagus. Nice and easy and only take about 5 minutes.

Grilled Asparagus

1 pound asparagus, the tough ends cut trimmed off

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss the asparagus with the olive oil to coat the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Place the asparagus on the grill in a single layer over medium-high heat. Grill, turning often, until the asparagus are bright green and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

That’s all there is to it. A pretty simple, grilled meal on a nice evening. You can sit outside, enjoy the meal, have a nice glass of wine and enjoy. Until next time, enjoy your evening, and enjoy your meal!

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Potatoes, Turkey, Vegetables

 

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Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

We had an awesome time at the Mets game last night, even though the Mets lost. They just can’t seem to score any runs for Johan Santana, but that’s for another rant and another blog :) . It was great to get out just the three of us and have some family fun and leave work and everything else behind for a few hours.I thought I would do a quick post on some of the things available food-wise now at the ballpark.We all ate ballpark food, well sort of. Ballpark food has sure changed over the years. Sure you can still get a hot dog, a pretzel and popcorn (and we did get popcorn), but you can pretty much get whatever else you might feel like having at Citi Field too. Sean had pizza, which was real New York pizza from Cascarino’s, and I have to say even though I am not a big pizza eater, it looked and smelled really good. Instead of having the usual hot dog, I went off the board and tried a hot pastrami on rye from the sandwich shop they have there. It was an awesome grilled pastrami round brisket that they cut and put on fresh rye bread with some great New York deli mustard and the best half sour pickle I have had in a very long time. It was the best pastrami sandwich I have had in ages and I would definitely get it again. Michelle went with a Keith burger from the Keith Hernandez grill and she was a little disappointed in it. The burger itself wasn’t bad, and the greens and tomato on it were super fresh, but she wasn’t thrilled with the amount of mustard on it and didn’t like the taste of it. For the price of the burger ($11.00) it was a disappointment. Sorry Keith.

They have a pretty wide array of selections at Citi Field that we haven’t tried yet. There is Catch of the Day featuring Shrimp Po’ Boys, El Verano Taqueria, which has Carnitas that looked awesome, Daruma of Tokyo making their own sushi (I don’t think I would go for sushi at the ballpark; I love it, but it just doesn’t feel right) and the World’s Fare Market, which offers Chinese, Korean, light fare and Italian. in the past we have gotten fries from Box Frites, which were cooked perfectly and nice and crunchy, Blue Smoke and their awesome pulled pork sandwich and of course the Shake Shack, where I really liked the burgers but I have to say was a little underwhelmed by the shakes. I just didn’t think they were as good as everyone raves, at least not worth waiting online for 30 minutes for.

We had great seats by the left field foul pole (where we’ll be for 5 more games this season) and had several balls in batting practice come our way, but we didn’t get any of them. Since we’ll be back for 5 more games, it will give me the chance to try some more things and see how they are. How do you rate ballpark food nowadays? Have you been to other stadiums where you can tell us about the food? Leave a comment and let me know!

I need to go shopping tomorrow so I can some things in to cook now that this crazy week is coming to an end. I have already picked up some boneless turkey breast and some pork spare ribs, so I just have to come up with some recipes to try to post this weekend. I promise I will! Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Eating Out

 

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Quick Pan Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

I’ve been working really hard lately doing lots of articles, so I haven’t had much fun time for writing, like taking care of my blogs (I have another blog at www.thoeofficeofiguanaflats.com if you want to check it out) and I haven’t had a lot of time for cooking either. Yesterday I made some meatloaf and mashed potatoes, which I have made before and posted the recipes for on here earlier if you would like them (they are very tasty!). Today I needed something quick and happened to have a whole chicken breast in the fridge to make, so I decided to make a quick pan roasted chicken and potatoes, some asparagus, and I had some all-purpose gravy I made for the meatloaf that we can use as well. Ever since the Ranting Chef did a post on his blog a while back about his cast iron pan, I have been using mine a lot (it always sits out on the stove now) and this dish is perfect for that since I can throw everything in there and then put it right in the stove. Saves time and clean up! This is a super-fast meal that you can throw together pretty quickly and even use boneless chicken breasts if you don’t have the bone-in breasts. You could even just use chicken parts like legs and thighs instead if that’s what you have around.

Pan Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

4 split bone-in chicken breasts (or whatever parts you want to use)

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges

1 onion, cut into wedges

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Pinch red pepper flakes

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the chicken well on the skin side, about 5 minutes.

While the chicken browns, toss the potatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a microwave safe bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until the potatoes begin to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the bowl (without removing the plastic) halfway through cooking.

Remove the chicken and place back down in the skillet skin side up. Add the potatoes and onions and transfer to the oven and bake until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes together. Drizzle over the chicken and potatoes before serving.

Nice and simple for a weeknight meal and the potatoes and chicken are nicely browned in the cast iron pan (don’t forget to season your pan after you wash it; it will last forever if you take care of it).

That’s all I have for tonight. Tomorrow night Sean and I are off to the Mets game so there’s no meal tomorrow night, just hot dogs at the ballpark. I’ll get back to the blog on Thursday. Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Cookbooks, Dinner, Poultry

 

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A Fez Style Fish For Mother’s Day

We’re going out for Mother’s Day today and I am making the fish portion of the meal for those that don’t eat red meat. I was wondering what to make earlier in the week, when luckily I came across this recipe in the New York Times on Wednesday and it sounded perfect. It’s from a restaurant in Marrakesh  at a hotel called La Mamounia and it’s a simple, all in one baked fish. it sounded light enough and easy to make and it will make a great summer dish. I went off the board a little bit with the fish. The recipe calls for sea bass or fluke, but when I went shopping yesterday the halibut looked the best so I am going with that.

Baked Fish, Fez Style

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 pinch saffron threads, crushed

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 1/2 pounds fish fillets (4 fillets): sea bass, fluke, hake or halibut

1 pound large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, in 1/2-inch thick slices

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 red bell pepper, cored and slivered

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

Combine the garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, paprika and saffron in a dish big enough for the fish. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice and tomato paste in a small bowl. Add to the dish and mix. Place the fillets in the dish, turning to coat the fillets, cover and set them aside to marinate, 2 hours at room temperature or 3 if refrigerated.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, add water to cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain.

Brush a baking dish that can go to the table and will hold the fish in a single layer with a little of the oil. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the potatoes in the dish, season with salt and pepper, and place the fish fillets on top of the potatoes. Scatter the peppers and tomatoes over the fish. Add a little more salt and pepper. Spoon any excess marinade over the fish, strew with the olives, drizzle the remaining oil and bake about 30 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Serve.

I think it will be a very nice meal and everything is made and served in one dish, which it makes it even better. I’ll add some pictures later as I put it all together. I hope to actually have some recipes this week to post. It’s been a little crazy around the house the last few weeks. Michelle has been working a lot, I have been working a lot and Sean has been studying for tests so we haven’t had a lot of time to put into meal planning, but hopefully we’ll do that. I know I have the makings for a meat loaf and I bought some chicken breast so we’ll be doing something with it this week. Stay tuned to find out. I hope everyone out there has a wonderful Mother’s Day and all the Moms out there should enjoy their day and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood

 

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As Easy As (Blueberry) Pie

As I have said before, I am not much of a baker. I don’t have the kitchen space to do a lot of baking, and there are plenty of people who make better things than I do that can do it. When Sean asked me to make blueberry pie last week, I knew I could handle it. I have made it before and I have really easy recipe to use for it. I’ll state up front, I did not make a crust. I don’t have the space to roll one out and do fun things with dough, so I went with store-bought, refrigerated crust. It turned out just fine, in my opinion. It’s not homemade, but it works for me  and it makes this recipe even easier.

Easy Blueberry Pie

2 store-bought refrigerated pie crusts

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup Minute tapioca

4 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 lemon

4 tablespoons flour

Salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Remove the pie crusts from the box and, leaving in the plastic wrap, allow them to come to room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unfold the first pie crust and press it into the bottom of a pie dish. Place the blueberries in a strainer and rinse. Drain the berries and add them to a large bowl. Add the sugar and tapioca to the blueberries and lightly mix. Let the berries stand for 15 minutes to allow them to blend with the sugar and tapioca. Add the flour and toss to coat the berries. Add a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt and lightly blend. Pour the berries into the pie shell. Cover the berries in the pie shell with the second crust and crimp the edges of the crust with a fork. Cut 4 small slits into the center of the top crust to allow the pie to vent while it cooks. Baste the top crust with the beaten egg. Bake the pie in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot or allow to cool for 1 hour and serve.

Easy, easy, easy. The tapioca makes a great thickener and binds everything up nicely so you don’t get runny berries in your pie and the egg wash helps to give you a nicely browned crust. Of course, you can serve this with some ice cream, some homemade whipped cream, or store-bought if you prefer. It’s one of my favorite desserts.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and we’ll be out for the day, but I will be bringing a dish over to my in-laws to serve. It’s a nice fish dish that I saw the recipe for in a recent New York Times article and wanted to give it a try. I’ll post the recipe for that on here tomorrow so you can all take a look. It’s simply called Baked Fish, Fez Style and is from a restaurant in Marrakesh. It sounds great, so we’ll see how it turns out. Until then, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Cooking, Dessert, Pie

 

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A Family Favorite: German Potato Salad

Well Wednesday turned out to be much busier than I anticipated so I didn’t get to do much of anything, let alone work on blogs. Anyway, it’s back to it today with a family favorite that I made when I made the pulled pork this past weekend. One of the dishes that I make once in a while, and very often to bring to parties, is German Potato Salad. It seems to be a crowd pleaser and a lot of people like it. I make it every once in a while for just us at home and the recipe makes so much we usually have leftovers for a week to have it with lunches or dinners. If I make when we have people over, there usually isn’t much left for that to happen. I think there is something about the flavor combination of the bacon, onions and potatoes mixed in with the bite of the vinegar that just tastes so good. Give it a try an I think you’ll be pleased with it.

German Potato Salad

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 pound bacon, diced

¾ cup chopped onion

3 teaspoons all-purpose flour

8 teaspoons sugar

Salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

½ cup water

In a large pot, boil the potatoes in salted water to cover until the potatoes are just fork tender, about 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set them aside, allowing them to cool slightly and place in a large serving dish. In a large skillet over medium-high heat. add the bacon and fry until the bacon is just getting crispy, about 7 minutes.Add  the chopped onion and continue to cook until the onions brown lightly, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the flour, sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper until blended. Stir in the vinegar and water into the mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the vinegar mixture to the bacon and simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes Pour the bacon mixture over the potatoes and gently mix until everything is well blended and serve.

This is great for parties because you can easily make this the night before, cover it and refrigerate it and then warm it up in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes (it can get kind of dense when it’s cold, so make sure it’s heated through) and that’s it. It makes a great side dish for barbecues as well.

My next post tomorrow will be the easy blueberry pie I made on Sunday with the pulled pork. If you would like the recipes for the pulled pork, the guacamole, the cole slaw, the barbecued beans or the ranch dressing, I have posted all of them in the past and you can just click on each to go the links of their pages. Hopefully next week now that I have my computer back, I can back on schedule with everything and get us back on our meal plan so I have some recipes to post. Until tomorrow, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Cooking, Potatoes, Salad, Side Dishes

 

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Brewing a Bounty of Barbecued Beans

Well to go along with the pulled pork I made on Sunday, I wanted to make some baked beans. I am not a big fan of the ones in the cans. They aren’t bad, and Michelle likes them and asks for them, but to me they always have a tinny taste to them and they aren’t my favorite. I looked around for a few recipes and found this one and it was perfect since it wouldn’t take up any space on the stove by using the slow cooker. A quick word of warning about this recipe – it makes a large amount of beans, meant to serve 10 to 12 people, so unless you’re having a big group, you might want to cut the recipe in half. I made the whole batch and ended up freezing some of the leftovers for another day.

Slow-Cooker Barbecued Beans

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

3 onions, chopped medium

Salt

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/4 cups barbecue sauce

2 pounds dried small white beans (I used Navy beans), picked over, rinsed and soaked overnight

8 slices bacon, chopped fine

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

6 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

1/2 cup strong black coffee (optional)

Pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in 1 cup of the barbecue sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer, then pour slowly into the slow cooker.

Drain the beans. Add the beans, bacon, brown sugar and then the boiling water to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the beans are quite soft, 9 to 10 hours on low or 7 to 8 hours on high. Before serving, stir in the mustard, coffee (if using) and remaining 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Any store-bought  or homemade barbecue sauce will work for this; use what you like best. We used Sweet Baby Ray’s and it turned out great. To me, the beans were even better a couple of days letter after they have had a chance to set and solidify a bit in the fridge. They had absorbed all the flavors by then and tasted better than anything from the can. And I know it says the coffee is optional here, and if you can’t have it by all means don’t add it, but I think it does make a difference in the flavor and the color of the dish.

So tomorrow we get another piece of the meal that is a family favorite around here: German Potato Salad. Check back for that one, because it’s a good one. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here, at my Facebook page or on Twitter or you can email me at IguanaFlats@msn.com. Until next time, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Cooking, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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