TMc’s Tuna Pasta Salad

I am blessed with a mostly-vegetarian friend who has been known to go a little off-the-approved-eating list for this one.

TMc's Tuna Pasta Salad
 
This one is perfection after 8-12 hours in the fridge.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 8 oz (half bag/box) small shell pasta - the very little ones
  • 6 oz tuna fish in water, drained
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced
  • 1 TBSP minced red onion OR 2 TBSP finely sliced green onion (part bulbs, part tops)
  • 1 C full-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C full-fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried tarragon leaves
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried parsley leaves
  • 1 TBSP dried dill
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta to its al dente rating per the package instructions
  2. While the pasta is cooking, mix together all the other ingredients in a 2+ quart bowl
  3. Drain the pasta (do NOT rinse!), mix into the bowl
  4. Refrigerate at least 6 hours, and stir well before serving
Notes
If you're feeling extra jazzy, toss in a couple tablespoons of Wickles brand Relish!

 

TMc’s Pot Roast

This is ye olde school classic pot roast with veggies – a dish that will be very good immediately after cooking. 12 hours in the fridge, it will be even better. If you let it set for 24 hours before re-heating, grown men will offer you marriage – even if you’re another man and they’re straight.This is The BAMF’s favorite.

TMc's Pot Roast
 
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This recipe will fill a 5-quart crockpot nearly to overflowing, so consider downsizing the whole thing or using a larger crockpot if you own one.
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3-4 lb bonless chuck roast
  • 4-5 medium-large Yukon gold potatoes (you can use regular Idaho potatoes, but I prefer Yukons in my crockpot recipes as they soak up juices and never get mealy)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 small bag baby carrots (about 1 lb bag - not the snack size baby bags)
  • 1 package portabella mushroom caps (about 2 very large ones – portabellas are important here, as nothing soaks up the juices from the roast quite like them)
  • 1 packet brown gravy mix
  • 1 cup wine (your preference - white or rose will have a subtle flavor, red will be very strong)
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic salt
  • Black pepper
  • Flour
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop potatoes into big bites (but not big enough to require cutting to eat)
  2. Peel and chop onion into generous chunks (thinking bite-sized again)
  3. Wash and chop portabella mushroom caps into generous chunks (bite-sized)
  4. Wash baby carrots
  5. Dump all veggies into a crock-pot sprayed with cooking spray
  6. Sprinkle veggies with garlic salt, black pepper, and any other herbs of choice (I am fond of using dried parsley and marjoram with my pot roast)
  7. Toss veggies by hand to mix spices/herbs and the veggies themselves
  8. Rub all sides of the roast with a generous drizzle of soy and Worcestershire sauces
  9. Rub all sides of the roast with a light coating of flour
  10. Sprinkle all sides of the roast with garlic salt and black pepper
  11. Pre-heat a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, spray with cooking spray, and brown roast about 2-3 minutes per side
  12. Set the browned roast on top of the veggies in the crock-pot
  13. Whisk the gravy mix into the wine until smooth
  14. Pour wine gravy mix over roast into crock-pot
  15. Cover crock-pot and cook on LOW setting for 12 hours or HIGH for 8 hours (Do NOT remove the lid to check on things for at least 8 hours if cooking on LOW, or at least 6 hours if cooking on HIGH)
  16. When you check the roast, spoon liquid up over the roast, and give the roast a “fork” test to see how far you are from being done – at this point it should be starting to feel “fork tender” - you will know it's perfect when you twist a fork into the meat and it moves easily
Notes
~ Sometimes if my yukons have a nice enough tender skin on them, I'll just scrub them and not peel them at all
~ I prefer to use a white wine these days - I like that it never overpowers the favor of the other ingredients.
~ The flour is important before browning as it will really thicken up your gravy while the roast is cooking
~ Sweet potatoes are also suprisingly tasty in this
~ I sometimes use a can of cream of mushroom soup mixed with the wine if I am after a thicker, more "homestyle" gravy that day
~ Looking for a simpler, "lighter" pot roast? Use white wine, an au jus gravy mix, no flour on the meat when searing, and just lay it on a bed of thick-sliced onions in the crockpot (this version is perfection for sammiches)

 

TMc’s Cranberry Cherry Sauce

This is a fruity, tangy sauce that wants to hang out with your poultry or pork.

TMc's Cranberry Cherry Sauce
 
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While this sauce is delicious with poultry of all kinds, it really comes into its own as an accompaniment for DMc's Smoked Boneless Pork Loin or a nice ham. Although, it's mighty fine on a nice roll with some turkey, mayo, and lettuce...
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6 Cups
Ingredients
  • 2 (two) 12-oz Bags Fresh Cranberries
  • 1-1/2 C Dried Cherries
  • 1 C White Sugar
  • 1 C Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 C Orange Juice
  • 1 C Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
  • 2 Whole Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • 2 TBSP Ginger Liqueur
Instructions
  1. Put sugar, syrup, juices, and spices into a 4-quart or larger pot (deeper if you hate getting popped by hot liquid)
  2. Over medium heat, cook and stir until sugar is dissolved
  3. Add dried cherries, cook for 5 minutes
  4. Add rinsed cranberries, cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the cranberries have mostly "popped" and are starting to soften
  5. Turn heat down to low, add liqueur, stir
  6. Cook on low for 10-15 minutes more, stirring occasionally
  7. Cool and refrigerate - this is best if you can make it a day before for the flavors to gel overnight
Notes
~This freezes very well - particularly in smaller servings - I use 5-oz disposable cups with lids, load 4 ounces into each, then put those into a gallon freezer bag for storage.
~If you don't have a ginger-based liqueur (I use King's Ginger), I would probably use either an orange or raspberry liqueur, or maybe just some plain brandy.

 

TMc’s Molasses-Spice Cookies

A cool-season classic. Adapted from multiple sources and kitchen experiments.

TMc's Molasses-Spice Cookies
 
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Don't shun the chopped candied ginger or black pepper. Trust me.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup), softened to room temp
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped small
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar (for rolling cookies)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and pepper in a bowl and set aside
  3. In a mixer bowl, beat butter, granulated white sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Add egg, molasses, and vanilla and mix thoroughly
  5. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds
  6. Chill dough for 45 minutes in fridge (for ease of handling)
  7. Scoop out chilled dough and roll each scoop into a ball
  8. Place turbinado sugar in a shallow bowl
  9. Roll each dough ball in the turbinado sugar until coated
  10. Place cookies on parchment paper on cookie sheets
  11. Bake cookies at 350 until the outer edges of the cookies begin to set and centers are soft and puffy
  12. Cool cookies on sheets for 5 minutes before carefully sliding the parchment with all the cookies onto a cooling rack
  13. Let cool for several hours before packaging in air tight containers or zipper bags – these keep a few days at room temp, and up to several months in the freezer
Notes
~You can make the dough up to several days in advance and refrigerate - set out on the counter to soften for an hour or so before you start scooping if you take this route or you may well snap your scoop - I learned that the hard way
~The cookie-ball rolling gets messy - I keep a box of latex gloves in my kitchen and use some for this bit
~For a #16 disher (1/4 cup scoop), one standard cookie sheet accommodates 5 cookies (corners & one in the center)
~For a standard 1-TBSP cookie scoop, one standard cookie sheet accommodates 12 cookies (3 x 4)
~Bake about 11 to 13 minutes for smaller cookies
~Bake about 20 minutes for big cookies
~Rotate cookie sheet(s) halfway through bake time – I switch oven shelves & back-to-front

 

TMc’s Nut Butter Cookies

This was originally my infamous peanut-butter cookie recipe. However, I developed a late-life peanut allergy, so I experimented and adapted. This is good with any creamy nut butter you prefer, but if I can’t have peanuts anymore, I find I prefer using cashew butter for a plain nut-butter cookie. Please note: contrary to the claims of certain fans of this cookie recipe, they do not, in fact, contain crack.

TMc's Nut Butter Cookies
 
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Makes about 5 dozen cookies - works well with any creamy nut butter you prefer
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
  • 2-1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy nut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Stir flour, salt and baking soda together in a small bowl with a fork
  3. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl
  4. Add nut butter, eggs and vanilla and mix well
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix well
  6. Scoop out dough and place scoops flat side down on parchment paper on baking sheets
  7. Slightly flatten scoops of dough with the criss- cross fork move
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees until cookies are light brown (add a few minutes if you are baking 2 sheets' worth at once)
  9. Cool on cooling racks for at least 20 minutes
  10. Continue to cool for a couple of hours before sealing in a container or plastic bag
Notes
Here are some variations that are very successful:
~ Nut-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – Add 1 cup mini-morsels (the tiny chocolate chips) at the end of mixing, bake as above
~ Nut-Butter Kiss Cookies – Don’t press the cookies down, then stick a Hershey’s kiss in the middle when they come out of the oven (freeze the kisses for at least a half hour while the cookies are baking so they don’t melt down too much) – these need to cool completely for a couple hours before eating
~ Peanut-Butter Cup Cookies – Great for a special take on a peanut-butter treat! Roll each scoop of dough into a ball and bake in mini-muffin tins (use baking spray!) for 8-9 minutes, then put a miniature peanut butter cup in each one when they come out of the oven (freeze the pb cups for at least a half hour while the cookies are baking, same reason as above) – these also need to cool completely before eating