Beer Infused Roast Beef for Sandwiches

Every once in awhile, you just need to eat something that sounds tasty.  For me, that frequently is the sandwich.  I love a good salad, hotdish (casserole), grilled meat, but on occasion, the only thing which will satisfy my hunger is two pieces of bread with meat sandwiched in between.  Sometimes its cold cut meats.  Other times my preference is a creamy hot mess including some meat.  Hummus and veggies are a good option, too.  But, if I’m wanting to cook for a week and be able to freeze some of the food, a pork or beef sandwich is what tastes the best.

When these situations arise, I want to use my crockpot.  Smelling the meat cooking throughout the day, with different flavors cooking into the meat is preferable.  And, when trying to stay on budget, it’s a great way to cook a otherwise undesireable roast into an edible and delicious part of a meal.  The meat mixture is also flexible enough to use almost anything up.  I’ve used different dried fruits, beer I like and beer I don’t.  I have yet to find a combination I haven’t liked.

For this meal, I tried to replicate a recipe I found a few years ago and cannot find again.  Ugh.  I hate it when that happens.  Good thing I started this blog so I can write down recipes as I go.


Beer Infused Roast Beef for Sandwiches

3-4 lb roast – whatever cut is on sale

1 onion, sliced and diced

Seasoning salt of your preference

1/3 c dried cranberries, blueberries, or fruit of your choice

1 bottle of beer

Place the meat in the crockpot and sprinkle a generous tablespoon of seasoning salt on it.  I used Lynch’s Steak Shaker.  Dice the onion and throw it in the crockpot.  Throw in the dried fruit.  Open the bottle of beer and pour it on top.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  At the end, shred the beef and stir so onion and fruit is mixed in.  Serve on whichever preferred bread object you like!



Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

A few weeks ago I was charged with making the potatoes for dinner.  I don’t recall at the moment what the meat we were serving was, but I am sure it was something on the grill.  It was when I was home with my family, which means grilling at every possible moment.  If you have doubts, take a moment to consider the fact that my dad has three grills and then realize this is reality for the family.  We were having company, so the request was something a little bit flavorful, but not so out of bounds that someone wouldn’t like it.  We are not a family of risk-takers.  Generally, if we are going to serve a “new” recipe, it means we’ve tried it at least once and tweaked it accordingly.  But, this was a true new recipe.  I was a little tired of the standard roasted potatoes, served with rosemary and wanted to kick it up a notch.  After surfing the internet for a little while, I came across two or three recipes that looked interesting.  Ultimately, after searching my parents’ spice cabinet and then came up with this recipe.  And, if you are wondering, I would serve them again, and for company, with no general changes.

Roasted Parmesan Potatoes

4-5 large baking potatoes

5 Tbsp olive oil

¾ c Parmesan cheese (I used ½ c shredded Parmesan and ¼ c grated Parmesan)

3 tsp Lynch’s Sweet Rub Seasoning

1 tsp salt

Healthy sprinkle of granulated garlic

Wash and cube potatoes into chunks you’d like them to be.  Mix other ingredients and toss together.  Line a jelly roll (10×15) pan with foil.  Spread potatoes to one layer.  Bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.  Toss the potatoes and bake another 15-25 minutes, until you can insert a fork with ease.

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

I love cranberries.  I love their tart flavors and the way they provide a different fruit option for part of the year.  Some of it might have to do with taking journalism classes in college and having a faculty member who spent half, if not the whole, semester with us writing press releases for Ocean Spray and the cranberry world.  For some reason, they have always stuck with me.  In fact, I think of jellied cranberries as a big treat.  Who does that?  I never think to open a can for myself, but  if we’re having a family meal and they get opened, I am delighted by it.

Back in the initial Pinterest days, when we were looking for holiday snacks and what we could bring, cranberries were on the list of things which stand out as particularly holiday-like.  With today being the Superbowl, folks might be looking for something they can bring which add a different take on meals as well.  Might I suggest exploring the Cranberry Feta Pinwheel?  Some places I’ve lived have had tortilla roll-ups in different formats be a staple of the cuisine.  Although Iowa doesn’t seem to be one of those places, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring these to a Superbowl gathering tonight.

I found the original recipe on through Pinterest, as I shared.  I don’t think we modified it a whole lot, although we did try freezing one of the roll-ups for 3-4 days before cutting it.  It was slightly soggy, but not so much that it we couldn’t serve it, so in a pinch, you could consider doing that.  Generally, though, the tortillas should be spread and cut on the day you are serving them.

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

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Pumpkin French Toast Bake

When looking for the perfect autumn breakfast recipe, pumpkin is immediately a go-to ingredient.  In the fall, I want things that are warm and toasty (and this desire has continued through the winter months).   One Sunday during my lack-of-blogging last fall, I still managed to cook a few things and eat them.  I took quick photos and wasn’t sure whether to always post about them.  But, this is a recipe which I think could be fixed a little bit to made phenomenal.  If I’m trying to log my recipes, it’s good to do it in a few ways.

After finding this recipe on the AllRecipes web site, we tweaked it with ingredients in the house.  So, instead of using Texas bread, we used a loaf of bread at home.  I would, in the future, be inclined to used a loaf of Texas bread.  I don’t think regular bread was absorbent enough to meet the needs of the eggs and other ingredients.

Pumpkin French Toast Bake

8 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 Tbsp sugar

1 can pumpkin puree

1 loaf Texas toast bread, cubed

1/3 c brown sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Whisk eggs, through sugar in a bowl.  Beat the pumpkin until fully incorporated.  Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer over the baking dish.  Pour pumpkin mixture over the bread cubes and gently toss to coat.

Stir 1/3 c brown sugar through butter together with a fork until mixture is crumbly and sprinkle over the bread cubes.

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown on top, 30-40 minutes.

Purple Wednesday & Purple Shoe Friday

Around campus, we celebrate Purple Wednesday.  I’ve worked on campuses where students almost always wear clothing with their institution on it.  I’ve also worked on campuses where students have rarely worn their institutional logo.  It is fun to see students take such pride in their institution.  Now that I’m working at Cornell, staff has started a new movement, known as Purple Wednesdays.  I am pretty sure folks who work in the primary administrative office will turn into dust if they walk in the door without wearing purple.

My former supervisor wore purple every day, so I had intentionally weeded most of the purple out of my wardrobe.  But, now I find that when I am shopping for clothing, I rarely will consider purchasing it if it is not purple.  A few of us around campus have also started to turn Fridays into Purple Shoe Friday.  While we haven’t fully moved to a campus-wide movement, it has been fun to see purple shoes show up in a few different places.  The winter months have also adjusted the way we wear shoes.  Boots have quickly become more fashionable in lieu of snow and slush.

It’s fun to see the ways that staff and students take pride just through a simple clothing choice.  The shame that comes in not wearing purple, the strategies and tactics we use to make sure we’re always wearing purple on Wednesday.  Purple has become a theme in our lives, rather than something secondary to our campus culture.

With a new year, new president, new academic calendar, new building renovations, and other components of new, it’s fun to be part of a transformational campus culture.  What is seemingly a way to create enthusiasm across campus is also a way to change the way we interact, engage with, and work together.

Have you found a pair of great purple shoes?  I’ve got a pair from Lands End I bought a few years ago and a pair of double-tongue Converse.  Do you have purple shoes?  Are there wardrobe trends at your campus or place of employment?