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Find out Tundra’s staff picks for some of the best recipes they love to cook up!

Let’s Talk Turkey Seasonings

 Raw Thanksgiving turkey

When it comes to seasoning your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, or any turkey for that matter, sooner is better. Two days ahead of time is ideal, but one day is fine too. Let it sit overnight uncovered in the fridge to let the seasoning permeate the bird.

If you don’t have that much time to spare, don’t worry: your turkey will still taste great. In any case, you’ll want to season a thawed, totally dry turkey that has been out of the fridge long enough to get up to room-temperature.

Another question that sparks heated debates this time of year …

Should you brine?

There are well-documented pros and cons to brining, but I’m going to avoid that sticky wicket entirely! I will say this, though: if you’re working with a Kosher turkey, it’s already pre-brined. So instead of giving it a second salt-water bath, you could go with a “dry brine” and rub 1/2 tsp. salt per pound of turkey. Chef and food writer Melissa Clark recommends a dry rub of kosher salt, pepper, citrus zest and rosemary. Sounds good to me!


What other seasonings can you use? Remember that old Simon & Garfunkel song? The usual suspects of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are popular for good reason: they taste great. But there are excellent roast turkey recipes that include cloves, nutmeg, allspice, basil, ginger, lemon, crushed celery seed, cayenne, and paprika. There are many ways to season a turkey.

When thinking about potential seasonings, it’s worth considering your audience before you stray too far from the beaten path. Many otherwise adventurous eaters can have remarkably conservative palates when it comes to their holiday turkey. (In their defense, simple can be sublime, and sometimes salt and pepper are all you need.)

And don’t forget butter!

Not only is butter delicious, it’s a great medium for herbs like sage, rosemary or thyme, and lemon adds a nice flavor too. AND unsalted butter will give your turkey a nice golden hue and delightfully crispy skin.

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Halloween Drink Recipes

I love the fall, especially here in Colorado.  The aspens slowly changing from green to brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges.  The air starts to turn cool, and throughout the day you’re likely to change from jacket, to coat, to rain jacket, to sweating.  It’s totally unpredictable, but it’s exciting to me.  And I think a lot of us up here in Rockies get at least a little excited this time of year, because we know that another ski season is just around the corner.  Of course, you can ask how they feel about all the snow when January rolls around, and it’ll be a much different story.

But let’s stick with October for now, and one of the first holidays that comes up before the end of the year – Halloween.  The flavors of pumpkin, the smell of spice, and just the right amount of tricks to send a chill up your spine. 

After sitting with a bartender friend a couple of weeks ago as he went through his ghostly cocktail creations that he’d be serving the bar on Halloween night, I simply couldn’t resist writing the recipes down so I could share them on The Back Burner.  Besides, Halloween is the perfect time of year to bring in extra revenue because of some attractive spirits (the liquor, not the patrons my friend). 

Alien Brain HemorrhageAlien Brain Hemorrhage

I know, the name sounds awful, but it’s actually a good drink; however, it’s very sweet, so one shot will probably do you.  The taste is very similar to a chocolate covered cherry, so keep that in mind before you dive in.  I’m not a maraschino cherry fan, so this wasn’t my favorite on the list.  For 1 serving, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 1 tsp Irish Cream
  • 2-4 drops Grenadine

Pour the peach schnapps in a shot glass, and then slowly add in the Irish cream.  Top with the drops of grenadine.  I’ve also seen other recipes where they add a small amount of blue curacao to the shot glass before they drop in the grenadine, which adds a blue tint under where the Irish cream settles.

Jellyfish ShotJellyfish Shot

Another very interesting looking drink, and still just as sweet, is the jellyfish. For 1 serving, here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ shot White Crème de Cacao
  • ½ shot Amaretto Almond Liquer
  • Irish Cream
  • 2-4 drops Grenadine

Fill the shot glass ½ and ½ with the crème de cacao and amaretto (leaving just enough room on top to add a hint of the remaining ingredients). Slowly pour in the Irish cream, just to the rim of the shot glass and then add your drops of grenadine.

By this time, I had already had 2 shots, and I never take shots, so I stopped as he continued to mix up and test different concoctions.  Here’s Bloody Brain Shooter, but I’ll give compliments to Geekologie on this one, since that’s where he pulled the recipe.

Brain Shot

Brain Shots

Photo Credit Geekologie

I love me a good Irish car bomb, but I’m not sure if I could have made it through this one before my own stomach curdled.  Again, this is for 1 serving:

  • 1 ¼ oz Strawberry Vodka
  • 1/8 oz Rose’s Lime Juice
  • ¾ oz Irish Cream
  • 2-4 drops Grenadine

Since this drink curdles, it’s best to make sure the vodka is cold to help the shot go down easier (I know, right?).  Shake the vodka and lime juice in a shaker, then strain into a shot glass.  Now, the fun part, dip a straw in the Irish cream, and put your finger over the end of the straw to suck the Irish cream up into the straw.  Now dip the end of the straw into the vodka mix, and slowly release the Irish cream into the shot.  As it releases, you’ll see it start to curdle, and you can slowly form the brain.  Go ahead and get more Irish cream if you need it.  At the end, the grenadine is added to make it look like the brain is bleeding.

The night continued with a few other interesting shots, which included the squashed frog, hellraiser layered shot, a ghost shot, and a vampire blood shot.  All of which looked very intriguing, but I thought it would be fun to share the rest of the recipes on our Pinterest board, Halloween Shots, Drinks and Cocktails.  Let us know what you think, and what other ghostly recipes you have for this time of year.

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40 Yummy Toast Toppers

Creamy Wild Garlic and Mushrooms on Toast

With a toaster in almost every American home, and nearly 75-million Americans eating toast on a daily basis, there’s no wonder that our research has shown that there are plenty of toast-topping recipes to help give plain ‘ole toast the zip that it needs (no offense to butter and toast, we like that too).  Here are a few toast topping ideas that may have you planning on toast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Spreading with butter before adding a topping, is completely optional.


1. Top with avocado slices and a fried egg, then drizzle with honey.

2. Top bread with goat cheese spread, sun-dried tomatoes, and a slice of flank steak.  Garnish with chives.

Spicy Tomato Goat Cheese Steak on Toast

3. Spread your favorite tuna salad across the top, then a nice layer of tomatoes and red onion.

4. Spread mayo across the top of the toast, then top with a lettuce leaf, tomato slice, and grated cheddar cheese.

5. After toasting, rub bread slices with garlic and tomato slices, then top with a poached egg, Parmesan cheese, and basil.

6. Spread smashed avocado across toast, add a hint of lime juice and paprika, then top with sprouts.

7. Cook up a nice, creamy and wild garlic mushroom sauce and top it on a thick slice of toast.

Creamy Wild Garlic and Mushrooms on Toast

8. Spread your favorite pesto across the toast, then layer with sliced radishes and chives.

9. Spread a layer of mayo (mixed with lemon, roasted garlic, and zest) across the toast, then top with a slice of a hard-boiled egg.  Add a mix of crumbled bacon, diced avocado, and cilantro.

10. Place a poached egg on top of the toast – a great spin on the classic “Toad in a Hole.”

11. Scrambled eggs, topped with tomato slices (mayo spread before is optional, but yummy).

12. Raspberry jam spread across the toast, with a nice layer of brie and bacon.

13. Spread cream cheese across toast, then top with prosciutto, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and chives.

14. Rub toast with garlic, place mozzarella slices on top with sliced tomatoes and basil, then drizzle with balsamic reduction.

15.Top toast with ricotta, then put on a layer of arugula and one fried egg.


16. Spread cream cheese across the toast, and top with cucumbers.

17. Top toast with avocado slices and a smear of pesto; finally, top with micro greens.

Avocado Pesto Toast

18. Top with Swiss cheese and turkey slices.

19. Spread cream cheese across toast, and layer with slices of smoked salmon and a sprinkle of dill.

20. Top toast with shredded Colby jack and sliced bell peppers and green chilies.

21. Rub toast with garlic clove, then top with spinach leaves and sliced mushrooms that have been sautéed.

Toast Topped with Mushrooms & Spinach

22. Spread warm goat cheese across the toast, then top with walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

23. Spread ricotta across toast, and top with your favorite bruschetta recipe.

24. Rub a clove of garlic across the toast, smear it with goat cheese, then top with arugula and roasted beet slice.  Finish with a nice drizzle of honey.

25. Rub the toast with garlic, then top with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and a sprinkle of chives.

26. Top with cooked kale, then sprinkle on fresh parmesan.

27. Smear a favorite blend of hummus across the toast, then top with microgreens.

Hummus Microgreen Toast

28. Spread ricotta across the toast, then layer with cubed butternut squash, a sage leave, and a drizzle of brown sugar and olive oil.

29. Top toast with your favorite tapenade – olive, sun dried tomato, creole, almond, Mexican

30. Spread Boursin cheese on the bread, then top with sprouts and radishes.

31. Place roasted tomatoes on a layer of smoothed out ricotta cheese.

32. Top warm toast with sliced artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.


33. Spread a sweet flavored cream cheese on the toast, and top with strawberries or blueberries.

34. Spread Nutella across toast, and top with sliced bananas.  Try sprinkling brown sugar and cinnamon on top to kick it up a little.

35. Apricot jam spread, and then granny smith apple slices added to the top.

36. Smear a healthy layer of Nutella across the toast, then sprinkle with coconut.

37. Top toast with almond butter, then spread on your favorite fruit, like strawberries or bananas.  Finish with a drizzle of honey.

38. Top toast with your favorite jam, then sprinkle on some almonds.

39. Spread cottage cheese atop bread, and then drizzle with honey.

40. Top bread with ricotta cheese, pear slices, walnuts, and a drizzle of honey.

We have pinned a lot of these great ideas over on our Pinterest Board Get Toasty, check them out!

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Green Chili Recipe

Yummy Hatch green chilies for a big pot of green chili!

There’s a large audience out there that has never tasted green chili, but once they do, they’re in love.  This tasty recipe is a Colorado and New Mexico favorite, and there are plenty of variations that are made, but for the most part, the same two rules apply: keep the ingredients simple so the chilies aren’t overpowered and Hatch green chilies can’t be substituted for other chili types.  The timing is always different with each recipe variation, but as most soups and chilies are… the longer they cook, the better they are.


8 Whole Hatch Green Chilies
1 Jalapeno (optional)
Spray Oil
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
2 Pounds of Pork, Cubed
1 Onion, Chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
3 Tablespoons of Flour
5 Cups Chicken Broth
½ Teaspoon Cumin
¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1 Large Tomato, Diced

Roasting Peppers

  1. Rinse the green chilies and jalapeno off and allow them to dry.
  2. Place them on a baking pan and spray each of them down with oil, preferably vegetable oil.
  3. Turn them over and make sure to spray the other side too.
  4. Start your grill on medium, and place all of the peppers on the grate and roast for about 15 minutes.  You’ll need tongs so you can turn them as they begin to brown.  You can also roast them in the oven or on-top of a gas range.  For more ideas on roasting, I like this post.
  5. When the peppers are done, bring them in and stick them all in a big plastic bag.  Seal up the bag and set it aside.  You need the peppers to steam so that they are easier to work with.  Steam for about 15 minutes.
  6. Once done, scrape off the brown bits (the burned skin) the best you can.  Cut out the seeds and de-vein the peppers.
  7. Lastly, dice the peppers up into small, bite-sized pieces and set aside, until you’re ready to mix into the chili.

Note: You can roast a big batch of chilies and prepare the same way as mentioned above.  To store, just place in a freezer bag and take de-thaw whenever you want to use them in a recipe.

Cooking the Chili

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot (large enough to hold at least 3 quarts of soup) and toss in the onion and garlic.  Stir around to coat with the oil, and add the pork.  Cook the pork until it turns brown on all sides.  It’s okay if there is still pink in the center, because it’ll cook through in the chili.  Cooking it for too long can make it chewy, and we want it to be very tender.
  2. Push the pork mix to the side, and let the oil drain away from it.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour, and mix it constantly, while trying to scrape up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Cook the flour until it turns a light brown color.  It should have a very smooth consistency.
  4. Slowly start to add in the chicken broth, while continuing to stir the flour roux.  If you pour the broth in too fast, you’ll risk ruining the roux, or not having it meld well in the chili.
  5. Once all of the broth has been mixed in with the roux and pork mix, it’s time to start adding in the rest of the ingredients.  Throw in the cumin, black pepper, oregano, tomato, chilies, and jalapeno.  Like salt?  Okay, throw in a pinch of that too.
  6. Bring the chili up to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cover.  Let the chili simmer for at least an hour, but if you can go 2-4 hours, it’ll be even better!

Suggested Garnishes: Monterey Jack Cheese, Green Onions, Cilantro, Sour Cream, Hot Sauce, Warm Tortillas

Makes about 3 Quarts.  Serves 8-10.

This makes a big pot of chili, but you’ll want extra to pour over burritos, burgers, eggs, etc.  It also freezes well, so if you can’t use it up before it goes bad in the fridge, go ahead and pack it in freezer safe containers and save for later.

Fun fact about Hatch green chilies, Don Juan de Onate came to New Mexico in 1598 with the green chili peppers that we know as Hatch green chilies today.  Because of Don, New Mexico has been growing those chilies for more than 400 hundred years now!

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Frozen Drink Dispenser Recipes from Bunn

I put this article off for almost a month because I couldn’t think of a fun, exciting way to present beverage dispensers. They are basic pieces of equipment with one purpose – dispensing refreshing and tasty beverages. But after digging and digging through search results I found this fun article from Bunn about their frozen drink dispensers. They share some great recipes to try this summer that will please a wide range of ages.

From milkshakes to margaritas check out Bunn’s frozen drink recipes below!


NOTE: Each recipe makes approximately 3 gallons and don’t forget to set the dispenser setting to “max” for thicker shakes.


  • 1 gallon half/half
  • 1.5 gallons whole milk
  • 60 oz. sugar (by volume)
  • 9 teaspoons of double strength vanilla

TIP: For root beer float – cut recipe in half and replace with root beer from 2 liter bottles.


  • 1 gallon half/half
  • 1.5 gallons whole milk
  • 50 oz. sugar (by volume)
  • 4.5 teaspoons of double strength vanilla
  • 22 oz. chocolate syrup


  • 1 gallon half/half
  • 1.5 gallons whole milk
  • 50 oz. sugar (by volume)
  • 4.5 teaspoons of double strength vanilla
  • 10 oz. strawberry syrup flavoring
  • 32 oz. frozen mashed strawberries. (We find it easier to allow the frozen strawberries to thaw in the bag and mash them by hand while still in the bag before adding to the machine.)

TIP: Add 4 sliced bananas to the recipe above for a Strawberry Banana flavor or substitute strawberries with a mashed version of your favorite fresh fruits and leave the strawberry syrup out. 

Chocolate Chip

  • 1 gallon half/half
  • 1.5 gallons whole milk
  • 60 oz. sugar (by volume)
  • 9 teaspoons of double strength vanilla
  • 24 oz. mini chocolate chips

Kid-Friendly Frozen Drinks

Fruit & Hawaiian punch, orange & grape soda and root beer are classic frozen flavors kids have come to love. Basically, you can put anything into the machine that contains sugar. 2 liter bottles of soda work perfect but steer clear of diet and cola flavors because the carbonation tends to disappear quickly leaving the beverage a bit bland.

Pina ColadaAdult Frozen Drinks

Pre-mixed drinks such as daiquiris, mud slides, margaritas and pina coladas work great! The pre-mixed bottles sold at most grocery and liquor stores including product and alcohol are generally made to be added to a blender with ice. Substitute the ice for water and pour into the Ultra. Bunn has found that one bottle of mix; to one bottle of water (you can use the bottle the mix came in) will typically be the correct ratio.

Have any more delicious beverage dispenser recipes to share? Please comment below.

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Cooking Shortcuts: Corn on the Cob in a Cooler

Cooler Corn on the Cob

With summer weather trying to make up its mind and move in full force, the itch and urge to don the short sleeves and spark up the barbecue is strong. If you’re sizzling some steaks for a comfortable night in or covering the grill with a wide array of meats for a family barbecue, simple yet reliable shortcuts are always welcome; that said, a staple of any good backyard barbecue is corn on the cob.

Here’s an extremely easy, and arguably innovative, way to prepare mouth-watering corn on the cob.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 beer cooler
  • As many ears of corn as you’d like
  • Boiling water

How It’s Done:

  • Wash out the inside of your cooler for sanitary reasons (if extremely dirty you can sterilize with boiling water)
  • Shuck, clean, and rinse your ears of corn
  • Pile corn into the cooler
  • Pouring boiling water over the corn – enough to cover ears and then a little more
  • Let sit for 30 minutes
  • Enjoy!

Cooler Corn, as it’s unofficially being called, eliminates the need to keep your eyes on a big boiling pot of water. It’s simple, safe, and completely hands free after the lid closes. Just slide the cooler into a corner while the corn cooks, and go about your business for the next half hour. It’s that easy. Plus, people jumping on the cooler corn bandwagon insist the corn holds well long after the 30 minute mark – this means no sogginess or overcooking.

So, the next time you’re mouth starts watering over the thought of a scrumptious ear of cooked corn, remember it’s as easy as some boiling water and a cooler!

Great video, although I’d recommend wearing shoes when pouring out boiling water!

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It’s Time to Revamp Your Cocktail Menu!

In with the new, out with the old. 

Spring is the perfect time to freshen up your cocktail menu. New produce is in season, flowers are in bloom and patio pounders are on the mind. Give your guests something to gawk about with a revamped cocktail list that includes refreshing classics, new concoctions and tropical flavor blasts.

Classic Mojito Cocktail

IngredientsMojito cocktail on white background

  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 8 fresh mint leaves 
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 oz. club soda
  • Lime wedge and mint for garnish
  • 1 cup ice


Add lime juice, sugar and eight mint leaves to a cocktail shaker. Use the end of a wooden spoon or cocktail muddler to bash (or muddle) the mint into the lime juice and sugar. This releases oils from the mint and helps the sugar dissolve into the lime juice.

Add rum, stir well then pour into a glass filled with ice, leaving about an inch of room then top with club soda. Garnish with extra mint leaves and a lime slice.

Recipe courtesy of Inspired Taste

Feeling ambitious? Try this trendy combination:

Rhubarb Mojito

  • 1 oz. white rum
  • 2 oz. rhubarb syrup (recipe below)
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • Lime zest
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 cup ice


In the bottom of a glass add a bit of nutmeg, lime zest, mint leaves and the lime juice. Using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon muddle the ingredients. You want to really bruise and break up the mint leaves. Add the rum and syrup, give a light stir then top with ice. Garnish with mint and a thin slice of rhubarb.

Rhubarb syrup:

  • 8 oz. chopped rhubarb (2-3 small stalks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (optional)


Combine all the ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Let cool completely.
Strain the ingredients. The syrup will keep covered in the fridge for two weeks.

Recipe & Image courtesy of not without salt

 Tequila SunriseTequila Sunrise


  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila
  • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. grenadine syrup
  • Orange slice and maraschino cherry for granish
  • 1 cup ice


Stir or shake together tequila and orange juice. Fill a chilled 12 ounce glass with ice cubes; pour in orange juice mixture. Slowly pour in the grenadine, and allow it to settle to the bottom of the glass (be patient). Garnish with a slice of orange, and a maraschino cherry.

Recipe courtesy of All Recipes

Have you ever heard of a Tequila Sunset?

Tequila Sunset


  • 1 oz. tequila
  • 4 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. blackberry brandy
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish
  • 1 cup ice


Fill a collins glass with ice and stir in the tequila and orange juice. Top with blackberry brandy and garnish with a cherry.

Recipe courtesy of Drink Nation



  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • Orange twist for garnish
  • 1 cup ice


Place a cocktail or Old Fashioned glass in the freezer to chill.

Combine the gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth in a cocktail shaker and fill it halfway with ice. Stir until the outside of the shaker is frosted. If you’re using an Old Fashioned glass, add ice cubes to it. Strain the drink into the chilled cocktail or Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the orange twist.

Recipe courtesy of Chow

Make it white

White Negroni


  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. gentian liqeur, such as Suze, Salers or Aveze
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • Lemon twist for garnish
  • 1 cup ice


Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add the gin, gentian liqueur and Lillet Blanc. Stir vigorously, then strain into a chillled cocktail martini glass. Garnish with the twist of lemon peel.

Recipe courtesy of the Washington Post

Pina ColadaPina Colada – Frozen


  • 6 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 1/2 oz coconut cream
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • Pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry for garnish
  • 2 cups ice


Blend all ingredients with approximately 2 cups of ice until nice and smooth. Pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish with the cherry and pineapple wedge.

Recipe courtesy of

Pina Colada – On the Rocks

  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 1/2 oz coconut cream
  • Pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry for garnish
  • 1 cup ice


Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Pour into a chilled cocktail or collins glass. Garnish with the pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.

Recipe courtesy of

Tom CollinsTom Collins


  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • 3 oz. club soda
  • Lemon twist and maraschino cherry for garnish
  • 1 cup ice


Fill a cocktail glass with ice and place all of the ingredients in the glass. Give it a stir and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Over the Hill and on a Roll

Meet Collin’s cousin John

John Collins

  • 2 oz bourban
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • 3 oz. club soda
  • Lemon twist and maraschino cherry for garnish
  • 1 cup ice


Add simple syrup and lemon juice into iced highball glass. Add bourbon and fill with soda water. Stir and garnish with lemon wedge and Maraschino cherry.

Recipe courtesy of The Pour Pro

Also see our Garnish Pinterest board for ways to spruce up your existing cocktails.

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Let’s Take a Bite of our Favorite Comfort Foods

Inventive cuisine has its place, but sometimes all you want is a hearty meal of your favorite comfort foods. There are certain feel-good foods Americans reach for when we need to be comforted – from creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese to a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup, even a quick and easy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and of course an indulgent chicken pot pie.  Here’s a look at where these staple dishes originated from and why they have outlasted food trend after food trend.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Sky High Strawberry-Banana Peanut Butter and Jelly

We seem to be an in a food obsessed era, it’s no wonder we sometimes reach for foods that remind us of simpler, less stressful times. Earlier this month was National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day, which led me to wonder how did this simple, inexpensive sandwich earn its own dedicated day?

This childhood favorite was first introduced in the early 1900’s as a delicacy that was only served at the finest of tearooms. It wasn’t until 1986, when Good Housekeeping magazine published an article urging homemakers to use a meat grinder to make peanut butter and spread it onto bread did the sandwich start entering everyday American homes.

PB&J sandwiches are extremely popular with children; in fact, a 2002 survey revealed that the average American will have eaten 2,500 of these tasty sandwiches before graduating high school.

Macaroni and Cheese

AKA, mac and cheese, might be the ultimate comfort food. It’s hot, gooey texture, and delicious taste has even debuted on many, fancy restaurant menus.

Whose to credit for this American classic? Mary Randolph first released a mac and cheese recipe in her 1824 cookbook, The Virginia Housewife. Mass production of the main ingredients made this dish affordable, accessible and easy to make. Fast forward a few generations and packaged mac and cheese variations hit the market with great success. The United States gave mac and cheese its own day just like the peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Mark your calendar, July 14 has been branded “National Macaroni and Cheese Day!”

Chicken Pot Pie

The chicken pot pie is an American classic. Its rich, savory filling of chicken and vegetables makes this baked dish the perfect meal. When you take that first bite it provides a warming feeling that really satisfies an empty stomach. The pot pie is completely enclosed with a flaky crust and baked in a pie pan to support its shape. The chicken pot pie certainly isn’t the healthiest dish on our list, but this dreamy pie sure does hit the spot for many Americans.

It’s unknown when the dish was introduced to the United States but similar dishes date back hundreds of years in England and other parts of Europe.

Chicken Noodle Soup

A savory broth simmering with chicken, vegetables and noodles has been a classic dish for hundreds of years. Chicken noodle soup may remind you of a time when you were sick or surviving yet another cold winter day, but this all-time American classic has long been touted to help treat the common cold so it’s a perfect pairing.

In the 1930’s the Campbell Soup Company released a condensed version of this soup that helped it make it into millions of American households. Nutritionally chicken noodle soup is by far one of the healthiest comfort foods.

What do all of these foods have in common? All of them are modest, homemade, and in most instances, provide a warm, good feeling! Adding to that, it’s comforting to know that with all the trendy foods being introduced, and fad diets that are marketed, these foods remain the same year after year, generation after generation. We can all feel good about that!

And in case you didn’t notice, you can click on each of the photos above to be taken to the recipe that matches the photo – happy cooking!

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Vegan Recipe: Garlicky Polenta, Tender Eggplant & Marinated Tofu Tower

I recently had a discussion with Tundra’s Senior Graphic Designer, Chase Middaugh. I learned that he was vegan, and with me coming from a family of hunters, my first question to him (of course) was, “Why?”

He explained that it was about making healthy choices and believing that everything he ate should come from the earth.  I never really thought of it that way; I suppose my thoughts on being vegan was that it was because people were against the unethical treatment of animals, (which is exactly why my family mainly eats meat we get from hunting and fishing).  I’ve always believed in feeding my family organic and natural foods, and keeping as many chemicals as possible to the wayside, but I was inspired by what Chase had to say about how his life had changed since being vegan.

He wasn’t eating bland foods – in fact, they seemed delicious!  He woke up feeling better in the morning, and seemed to have more energy throughout the day.  I’m definitely not planning on going vegan, but I do want to try more vegan dishes.  And Chase was nice enough to share his favorite vegan recipe from The Discerning Brute… oh my, doesn’t that look delicious!

Garlicky Polenta, Tender Eggplant & Marinated Tofu Tower with Mushroom & Wine Red SauceVegan Recipe: Garlicky Polenta, Tender Eggplant & Marinated Tofu Tower with Mushroom & Wine Red Sauce


1 Medium Eggplant: Slice into 4, 2-Inch Thick Medallions

1 Package Plain, Firm Tofu

1 Package Italian Herb Polenta: Slice into Four, 1-Inch Thick Medallions

1 Medium Zucchini: Slice, Long Ways Using a Peeler into Very Thin, Long Pieces

5 Cloves Garlic, Diced

2 Tsp Paprika

2 Tsp Onion Powder

1 Tsp Sea Salt

1 Tsp Black Pepper

1 Tbls Dried Oregano

1 Tbls Dried Basil

4 Tbls Olive Oil

1/4 Cup White Wine

1/4 Cup Water

2 Tbls Wine Vinegar

6 Medium/Small Crimini Mushrooms, Diced

1 Can Tomato Sauce

Tofu Marinade Directions

  1. Make tofu marinade by combining the basil, oregano, paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper and 2 tbls olive oil, the vinegar and 1/4 cup tomato sauce in a deep plate.
  2. Cut the tofu into four, 1-inch thick pieces and place in the marinade, coating evenly on each side. Let stand for at least 20 minutes.

Recipe Directions

  1. Place the tofu (along with the remaining marinade) and garlic into a large oiled saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Add the eggplant to the pan.
  3. Every time the pan starts to brown or get dry, add a little white wine and tomato sauce, which will tenderize and keep the eggplant and tofu from sticking.  It also helps to add flavor to the recipe. Saute for about 10-15 minutes or until the eggplant is brown on each side and practically falling apart with tenderness.
  4. Place the polenta in a separate pan, and saute on medium heat with the mushrooms in 1 tbls olive oil and 2 tbls white wine, until golden on each side.
  5. Lay 3 or 4 slices of zucchini on each plate.
  6. Stack the eggplant, tofu and polenta on top of the zucchini, then fold the zucchini over and flip it so the crease is on the bottom.
  7. Top it with some extra wine-infused tomato sauce from the pan and the sautéed mushrooms, and serve!

Get more recipes from the Discerning Brute.

Another favorite recipe blog recommended by Chase was Vegan Yum Yum.

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Super Bowl Slow-Cooked Chili Bar

I love this time of year. Yes, because of snow and being able to enjoy a ski run or two, but also because the Super Bowl is right around the corner – and it’s time to get cooking!

I try to get my menu planned ahead of time so I can enjoy the game and not have to worry about being stuck in the kitchen.  One of my favorite go-to menu items is chili; in fact, I usually make an entire chili bar, complete with slow-cooked red chili that can be eaten Frito-pie style, on hot dogs or over nachos – it’s amazing how many things can be created with just one big pot of chili.  Set everything up (including sides of cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and all of your other favorites) buffet style, with plenty of plates and utensils.  For some great ideas on how to create your own chili/nacho/hot dog bar, visit this Pinterest board.  And for a super game day recipe, here’s my family’s favorite…

IngredientsSuper Bowl Chili Bar Party

Yield, makes 10 servings

1 lb Ground Beef

1 lb Steak, Chopped

1 Onion, Chopped

2-4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced

2 Cans of Kidney Beans with Liquid

1 Can of Black Beans with Liquid

1 Can of Pinto Beans with Liquid

2 Cans of Diced Tomatoes with Liquid

2 Cups of Beef Stock

1 tbls Chili Powder

1 tbls Dried Oregano

½ tbls Cumin

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Cocoa

½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Place ground beef, steak, onion and garlic in skillet over medium heat.  Cook until meat is evenly brown.  Drain grease, and pour into Crockpot.
  2. As the beef, onions and garlic are cooking, you can go ahead and put the remaining ingredients in the Crockpot.  Stir ingredients together.
  3. When all of the ingredients are in the Crockpot, put the lid on and cook on low for at least 8 hours.

Since you’re slow-cooking this, it doesn’t really matter on the cut of meat you use, but when I’m cooking the entire recipe on the stove-top, I try to get a nice cut of meat so that the meat is tender when served.  Also, I recommend preparing this recipe the day before the Super Bowl and cooking it overnight; that way, it’ll be done in time for the game and you can just set the Crockpot to “keep warm.”

Game on!

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