All posts filed under: Main Dishes

The Great Outdoors - Dinner & a Movie - Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog-2

Dinner & a Movie: The Great Outdoors

Do you love John Candy as much as I do?  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, and even Home Alone!  All so good but my favorite Candy movie has to be The Great Outdoors. This movie is so hilarious and epic for me on many levels: 1. John Candy’s drive to have the perfect family vacation rivals that of Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation and epitomizes every American family’s vacation experience on some level. 2. Dan Akyroyd has some of the best one liners in this film–hands down. 3. Similar to #1, this movie is basically a compilation of experiences and stories of my own trips in the Wisconsin northwoods to our lodge. Here’s a brief summary from Google: It’s vacation time for outdoorsy Chicago man Chet Ripley (John Candy), along with his wife, Connie (Stephanie Faracy), and their two kids, Buck (Chris Young) and Ben (Ian Giatti). But a serene weekend of fishing at a Wisconsin lakeside cabin gets crashed by Connie’s obnoxious brother-in-law, Roman Craig (Dan Aykroyd), his wife, Kate (Annette Bening), and …






Main Dishes

Seared Elk Ribeye Steaks with Maple Mascarpone Grits

Begging to stay up late, scouring the JC Penney catalog for replica athlete wear, and dreaming of witnessing sport history in the making.  Two weeks every two years were completely preoccupied with Olympic obsession when I was a kid. And I did rock that pink, purple, and white track suit from the ’96 Atlanta games proudly. Not much has changed as an adult.  I’ve traded in my loud-and-proud track suit for more subtle USA mittens but the obsession is the same. I made a huge check on my bucket two years ago when I was lucky enough to attend the London 2012 games and while the summer games will always be my favorite, there really is something to be said for the winter games as well. The artistry of figure skating and hoping this year I’ll learn what a triple salchow is; the knee-gripping excitement of moguls, and the anxiety over the heights reached in ski jumping.  I eat it up. While most parts of the country are exhausted over the snow and cold we’ve …






Turkey Schnitzel with Fried Eggs & Red Cabbage//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Perfect Fall Dinner: Turkey Schnitzel with Fried Eggs & Red Cabbage

One of our favorite family restaurants is a small German restaurant on the outskirts of my hometown.  Our family has been going there for years and they quite possibly have the best German food I’ve ever had. One of my favorite dishes is their schnitzel and red cabbage.  Traditionally made with veal, they also make a version with turkey and that happens to be my favorite. To me, it’s the perfect fall meal.  Warm and homey. The best accompaniment to the crunchy schnitzel is braised red cabbage.  It’s tangy and a little sweet.  My favorite recipe is from Rachel Ray. To make the schnitzel even more decadent, you can serve it à la Holstein (with a fried egg on the top). We now live about 35 minutes from this restaurant so when I have a craving and am in a pinch, here’s how I cope. PrintTurkey Schnitzel à la Holstein Serves 2 Ingredients3 tbsp. flour 2 tsp. all purpose seasoning (or salt & pepper) 1 egg 1 tbsp. dijon mustard 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs 4 turkey …






Mexican Steak Tacos with Lime Crema & Queso Fresco

Mexican Skirt Steak Tacos with Lime Crema & Queso Fresco

In the wintertime, nothing beats a thick steak with a bourbon sauce and a big baked potato. In the summertime, I want my steak sliced, rolled up in a charred tortilla, with fresh lime squeezed all over it. Right now I want more summer in my life. I couldn’t resist throwing these tacos together on our first true night of summer. Now, since that day it’s been either raining or in the 50’s.  I hope when you make these tacos, they don’t have that sort of effect on your weather for the next two weeks. But if they do, I can guarantee they were well worth it!   *Don’t forget!  My giveaway of three fabulous cookbooks ends Friday at 10am CST.  Head over here to enter!* PrintMexican Skirt Steak Tacos with Lime Crema & Queso Fresco Serves 4 (2 tacos each) IngredientsSpice Rub: 2 tsp. chili powder 2 tsp. brown sugar 1 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. onion powder 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 1/4 tsp. cayenne 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp garlic …






Lamb Chops with Chili, Lemon, and Mint

Nigella Nosh: Lamb Chops with Chili, Lemon, and Mint

 After tasting the most succulent lamb chops at the Nigella event, I knew I had to try my hand at them at home. I decided to add some lemon to the chops for a little acidity and sharpness.  I think it was a good move. A key philosophy in Nigella’s recipes are the use of simple, yet bold ingredients.  I agree with her “less is more” approach and the belief that high quality ingredients will sing in a dish. These lamb chops do just that. PrintLamb Chops with Chili, Lemon, and Mint Serves 2 Adapted from Nigellissima by Nigella LawsonIngredients1 tbsp. olive oil 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes 1 tsp. grated lemon zest 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint 2 lamb loin chops (3/4 lb. total) InstructionsMix oil, chili flakes, zest, and mint together in a small bowl. Rub mixture onto chops. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Sear the chops for 2-3 minutes per side or until deep brown. Transfer pan to oven for another 6-8 minutes or until chops reach internal temp …






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Pan-Seared Salmon with Creamy Mustard Sauce, Whole Wheat Spaetzle, and Roasted Mini Brussels Sprouts

Recently,  I enjoyed the best salmon I’ve ever had. That same evening I saw the best guitar performance ever. Who knew salmon and guitars would go so well together? That night I also had my first encounter with a YouTube sensation. I’ve been an enormous fan of Andy McKee for quite some time.  His song “She” played at our wedding. And if after that video, you still doubt his talent, please watch this.  Then pick your jaw back up off the ground and continue reading. I got to see this guy live, in person, at one of the best venues I’ve ever been to. If you’re in the Chicago area, I highly encourage you to check out Space.  It’s hip, cool, and intimate. Andy put on an amazing show and given his talent and rise to fame, he’s incredibly down to earth. Before the show, we ate at the adjoining restaurant, Union Pizzeria where I had some of the best salmon that’s ever passed my lips.  The salmon was simple but the flavors were spot on …






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Turkey Candy and Everything to be Thankful For!

Happy Cyber Monday everybody!  How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I hope filled with as much fun, family, and food as ours was. Speaking of Cyber Monday, I’d much rather prefer Cyber Rewind Day. I could use another two days of vacation, a long weekend, and wonderful food feast just as bad as I could use the Powerball jackpot on Wednesday. Yes, that bad. Our spread (and surroundings) were quite something! Usually our Thanksgivings are spent in the northwoods of Wisconsin but this year we gathered at my aunt and uncle’s house and kept it local. It also allowed us to dabble in Black Friday…and boy was that an experience! Back to Thanksgiving. Doesn’t my aunt make you feel like you’re eating in a Pottery Barn catalog? You felt it too?  See, I knew I wasn’t the only one… We had beautiful weather, which was great for frequent trips out to our smoking turkey on the grill.  Read more about that and get the recipe here. This turkey was affectionately named Cheryl by my cousin.  I think it …






Brined and Smoked

Brined and smoked.  Enough said. The only way to do a turkey in my book. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to link back to my all time favorite way to make a Thanksgiving turkey that I posted last year. Cider Brined Smoked Turkey Regardless of how you prepare your bird, I hope everyone has a fun and family filled Thanksgiving! P.S. My apologies for the lack of finesse in the turkey images.  I didn’t know what I was doing back then–with the camera that is…not the bird!






Maple Mustard Ale Chops with Spicy Cheesy Biscuits

I have un-containable excitement about the upcoming season change to fall.  My last post was a shout out to summer and the bounty of my veggie garden. This recipe is all about rustic, warm, and savory flavors.  It was delish.  A crackling fire, big cable knit sweater, and a cabin in the Rockies are the only things that could have made it better. I should work on lining that up so I can make these chops again and confirm for you.  I have to stand behind what I say, right? The ale I used in this recipe is Spotted Cow by New Glarus Brewing.  It might be the best beer ever.  I know that’s a loaded statement, but I absolutely stand behind this one. Unfortunately it’s only sold in Wisconsin with no plans to start distributing out of state.  My husband has a fraternity brother in Michigan who’s renamed it “Nectar of the Gods”. In fact, we just saw him over Labor Day and he was conspiring to book seats for kegs on the ferry that operates …






Farro & Flounder…Don’t Forget About Football!

I feel like I’m on the cusp. The cusp of that wonderful time of crunchy, fallen leaves, changing colors, and chili simmering on the stove. I didn’t need the air conditioning on the way home (or in the house once I got home for that matter!) and I didn’t regret my decision to wear jeans either.  Fall must be just around the corner… The biggest indicator of the beginning of fall is football. Tonight, my husband and I were having a deep discussion about the current era of quarterback legends and out of the blue he walked over and kissed me. “What was that for?!?”  I asked. “You’re a girl who knows about sports–enough to have a conversation and an opinion.  I just love that.  Oh, and you like to shoot guns.  I love that too.” He’s the cutest. Knowing that tonight was a big football night (even more so for the Cowboys fan aka my husband), I suggested he have leftover pizza for dinner.  Of course he agreed. I’m no dummy.  I know my …