• Food

    Recipe: Baked Club Loaf

    Baked Club Loaf {recipe} | rainerlife.com

    Football Season! I love watching college football and, of course, I enjoy eating game day foods. I make a variation on the club sandwich that is really easy to prepare and tastes good. This recipe could be made for other occasions, but I seem to only make it during football season.

    Ingredients:
    1 can Pillsbury® Crusty French Loaf
    12 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
    12 cup shredded Swiss cheese
    5 slices deli turkey
    5 slices deli ham
    4 slices bacon, cooked

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

    2. Unroll the dough. Sprinkle the cheeses over the dough.

    Baked Club Loaf {recipe} Step 2 - cheese | rainerlife.com

    3. Place the turkey, ham, and bacon on the dough.

    Baked Club Loaf {recipe} Step 3 - meats | rainerlife.com

    4. Roll the dough and press the edges to seal. Make 4 slits in top of loaf. Place on cookie sheet.

    Baked Club Loaf {recipe} Step 4 - roll | rainerlife.com

    3. Bake the club loaf at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch slices.

    Baked Club Loaf {recipe} Step 5 - baked | rainerlife.com

    Baked Club Loaf {recipe} Step 5 - sliced | rainerlife.com

    Enjoy! And Geaux Tigers!!

  • Food

    Recipe: Spaghetti & Meatballs

    20160322food_spaghetti01

    Michael and Gavin both love all types of pasta dishes. Going through my recipe box, I came across an old recipe for a copycat Monjuni’s spaghetti sauce. I made a couple of changes, added meatballs, and a new family favorite was made! This is a super easy recipe, and I can keep everything on hand to make whenever the mood strikes.

    Servings: 8
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 12 hours

    Ingredients
    2 (28 ounce) cans tomato puree
    2 tablespoons basil
    2 tablespoons oregano
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    12 teaspoon black pepper
    1 (1 pound) package of frozen meatballs
    thin spaghetti

    Directions
    1. Combine tomato puree, basil, oregano, garlic, olive oil, onion powder, black pepper, and frozen meatballs in a large pot, cover, and simmer for at least 1 hour.

    20160322food_spaghetti02

    20160322food_spaghetti03

    2. Cook spaghetti.

    20160322food_spaghetti04

    3. Serve sauce over spaghetti. I usually make garlic bread to go with it.

    I put the cook time as 1 12 hours, but sometimes I cook the sauce a little longer. Also, you could substitute ground beef for the meatballs, or the sauce can be made without adding any meat. This is easy to make and we all enjoy it.

    Gavin eating spaghetti | rainerlife.com

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Whiskey Barrel Porter

    We brewed a whiskey barrel porter in January 2013. It was a Austin Homebrew extract kit. This brew sounded really good; however, it did not turn out as well as we had hoped.

    Whiskey Barrel Porter {Homebrew} | rainerlife.com

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 33
    OG: 1.063
    FG: 1.015
    ABV: 6.3%

    Grains used for this recipe were 34 pound of chocolate malt, 12 pound of crystal 75L malt, 12 pound de-bittered black malt, and 12 pound Maris Otter malt. After we heated two gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 25 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping to drain. When it was finished draining, we discarded the grains, added one gallon of water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once boiling, we turned off the heat and added 3 pounds of amber extract and 6 pounds dark extract. We continuously stirred the malt to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the wort to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 ounce of Galena hops to boil for 60 minutes for bittering. After 45 minutes of boiling, we added 12 ounce of Kent Golding hops for flavor. With 5 minutes of boil time left, we added another 12 ounce of Kent Golding for aroma.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 30 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    We pitched a wet yeast (White Labs Edinburgh 028) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled (72°F) chest freezer.

    We used primary and secondary fermentation for this brew. We left the beer in the primary fermentor for nine days, and then racked to a secondary. When racking to the secondary, we added 212 ounces of whiskey barrel oak chips. The beer was in the secondary for three weeks before bottling. Before bottling the beer, we moved the beer to a bottling bucket and added 112 cups of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. We bottled 53 12-ounce bottles of beer.

    Our biggest problem with this homebrew was diacetyl. We tried to solve this problem over the summer by pouring the bottled beer back into a carboy, adding yeast, and letting it ferment for 40 days. We rebottled the beer and tried it again after a few months. This did help tremendously with the diacetyl, but the beer still seems off. We have left the bottles set aside and will continue to try a beer every so often to see if it starts to taste better.

    Cheers!

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Our First Lager

    We wanted to try brewing a lager, and decided to start with a maibock. It was an extract kit that was available from Austin Homebrew Supply.

    Maibock {Homebrew} | rainerlife.com

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 30.8
    OG: 1.057
    FG: 1.017
    ABV: 5.25%

    Grains used for this recipe were half a pound Munich malt. After we heated two gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 25 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping to let water drip back into the pot. When it was finished, we discarded the grains, added another gallon of water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once boiling, we turned off the heat and added seven pounds of Munich LME and one pound of extra light DME. We continuously stirred the malt to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the wort to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 ounce of Nugget hops to boil for 60 minutes. After 45 minutes of boiling, we added Whirlfloc for the remaining 15 minutes of boil time.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 30 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    We pitched a dry yeast (Saflager S23) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled chest freezer. We started the fermentation temperature at 70°F to get the fermentation process started. After a day at 70°F, we slowly reduced the temperature to 50°F. After 10 days at 50°F, we raised the temperature to 60°F. The wort stayed at 60°F for three days. The total amount of time in the primary fermentor was 14 days, and then we racked to a secondary. The beer was in the secondary for 29 days at 40°F. We bottled 54 12-ounce bottles of beer. This beer seemed to peak after four months in the bottles.

    Cheers!

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Belgian Caramel Wit

    We brewed a Belgian Caramel Wit to have ready for Thanksgiving. It was a Brewer’s Best extract kit that was available from the local homebrew store. We wanted a homebrew that wouldn’t take too long to be ready and that was an easy drinking beer most people would like.

    Belgian Caramel Wit {Homebrew} | rainerlife.com

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 6
    OG: 1.053
    FG: 1.013
    ABV: 5.25%

    Grains used for this recipe were 12 ounces of crushed 2-row pale malt, 12 ounces of flaked wheat, 6 ounces crushed Munich, and 6 ounces crushed caramel 30L. After we heated 1.25 gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 45 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping and poured a half gallon of warm water over the grains to rinse into the wort. When it was finished draining, we discarded the grains, added three quarters of a gallon of warm water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once boiling, we turned off the heat and added 3.3 pounds of pilsen light LME. We continuously stirred the malt to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the wort to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 ounce of German Hersbrucker hops to boil for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes of boiling, we added two pounds Bavarian wheat DME, one pound blonde Belgian candi syrup, and Whirlfloc for the remaining 15 minutes of boil time.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 30 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    We pitched a dry yeast (Saf-brew T58) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled (72°F) chest freezer.

    We used primary and secondary fermentation for this brew. We left the beer in the primary fermentor for seven days, and then racked to a secondary. The beer was in the secondary for 14 days before bottling. We bottled 53 12-ounce bottles of beer. This beer seemed to peak after three months in the bottles.

    Cheers!

  • Food

    Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Soup {Slow Cooker}

    Slow cooker recipes are great! I’ve previously mentioned my love of Tex-Mex food, and with winter here, I’m loving the soups…. so obviously, one of favorite recipes is chicken enchilada soup. This is a super easy recipe, just add everything to your slow cooker and come back to a yummy meal at the end of the day.

    Chicken Enchilada Soup {Slow Cooker Recipe} | rainerlife.com

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 6-8 hours

    Ingredients
    1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained or 34 cup dry beans that have soaked overnight
    1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
    1 can (4 oz) green chiles, chopped or 2-3 jalapeños, chopped
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 red or green pepper, diced
    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    12 teaspoon sea salt
    18 teaspoon black pepper
    18 teaspoon oregano
    18 teaspoon parsley
    dash of paprika
    1 cup chicken broth
    112 cups milk
    112 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

    Directions
    1. In a slow cooker, add the black beans, tomatoes, green chiles/jalapeños, onion, and bell pepper. Place 2 chicken breasts on top of the mixture. Note: I use a 7-quart slow cooker.

    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, paprika, chicken broth, and milk. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours (or on high for 3 to 4 hours).

    3. After cooking, remove chicken from slow cooker and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken back into the soup.

    4. Top with cheese and serve. This soup can also be topped with avocado, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, or other shredded cheeses. Makes 6-8 servings.

    Enjoy!

  • Food

    Recipe: Potato Bacon Soup

    With the weather getting colder, I’ve been in the mood for soup lately. A couple of weeks ago I made potato bacon soup using my Mama’s recipe. Potato soup is one of my favorites, and I love this recipe.

    Potato Bacon Soup | rainerlife.com

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes

    Ingredients
    12 ounces (8 slices) bacon
    1 white onion, diced
    12 cup celery, diced
    12 cup carrots, diced
    2 pounds red potatoes, peeled and diced
    1 can or 134 cup chicken broth
    12 teaspoon salt
    Dash of black pepper
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
    1 can cream of chicken soup or 1 cup homemade cream of chicken soup
    1 cup sour cream
    134 cups milk
    2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
    2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

    Directions

    1. Cook bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon to drain on paper towels; dice and set aside.

    2. Add onion to drippings in pot and cook over medium heat until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

    3. Add bacon, celery, carrots, potatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire, and Tabasco. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, about 25 minutes (until potatoes are soft). Coarsely mash the potato mixture with a potato masher or large spoon.

    4. Blend soup, sour cream, and milk together. Gradually add to potato mixture and simmer until thoroughly heated, do not boil. Add water if it is too thick.

    5. Remove soup from heat; top individual servings with parsley and cheese. Makes 8-10 servings.

    Enjoy!

  • Food

    Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Extract

    Several vanilla extract recipes are floating around the internet, and I thought I’d try my hand at making some. I used four different liquors (vodka, bourbon, brandy, and rum) to compare the differences in flavor. The cheaper brands of liquor seem to work fine for making homemade extracts. Vanilla beans at our local stores were way too expensive, so I checked into ordering vanilla beans online. After comparing prices and reading reviews of different places, I found an online supplier to use.

    Supplies:
    Four jars with lids
    1 cup of vodka
    1 cup of bourbon
    1 cup of brandy
    1 cup of spiced rum
    12 vanilla beans
    Kitchen shears
    Funnel

    Supplies for homemade vanilla extracts.

    Supplies for homemade vanilla extracts.

    Directions:
    1. Split beans lengthwise, leaving the ends attached.
    2. Place the split beans in the jars.
    3. Add booze of choice (vodka, bourbon, brandy, or rum) to the jars. I used a funnel for this part, but it’s not really necessary.
    4. Label jars with liquor choice used, especially if doing multiple ones like I did.
    5. Store jars in a cool, dry place. Remember to occasionally shake the jars.
    6. Wait. The vanilla extracts should be ready in two months. I waited longer (about 4 months) before using the homemade extracts.

    Jars of homemade vanilla extracts.

    When the vanilla extract was ready, it was time to taste the differences. I made basic sugar cookies, using more vanilla than I normally would. I previously made cookies using the recommended amount of vanilla, but we couldn’t taste much of a difference between the extract recipes. So, I doubled the vanilla extract the second time I made the basic sugar cookies. I also made a batch of cookies using store brand pure vanilla extract – thought it would be good to compare the homemade versions to store bought vanilla extract.

    I used the Sparkling Sugar Cookies recipe from Southern Living Cooking for Christmas 2012. I halved the recipe since I was making multiple batches. So, I made about a dozen cookies per batch instead of the 2 dozen that this recipe will make.

    Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

    Ingredients:
    1 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt

    Directions:
    1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy.
    2. Slowly add sugar, continue beating.
    3. Add egg and vanilla, mix until well blended.
    4. Combine flour and salt. Slowly add to butter mixture.
    5. Cover and chill mixture until it is firm (about an hour).
    6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    7. This cookie dough can be rolled and cut into shapes, but I didn’t get that fancy. I placed spoonful sizes of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
    8. Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
    9. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute and then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling. Enjoy!

    After baking cookies (5 small batches), Michael and I did a taste test.

    Basic sugar cookies made using different vanilla extracts.

    Results:
    Michael liked the cookies made with store brand extract and spiced rum extract best.
    I liked the cookies made with bourbon extract and spiced rum extract best.
    I thought the cookies made with vodka extract were closest to the store brand extract.

    Turns out the homemade vanilla extracts were all good, and I’ll be using them in future recipes.

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Rainer Extra Porter

    Earlier this year we made a brown porter extract recipe. We mainly used ingredients we had on hand, hence the “extra” in the name. We’ve considered redoing this recipe using black patent malt instead of chocolate malt… would probably taste more like a porter if we did.

    Carboy of Rainer Extra Porter.

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 16.4 IBUs
    OG: 1.082
    FG: 1.021
    ABV: 8.0%

    Ingredients
    Grains
    6 oz Coffee Malt
    10 oz Chocolate Malt 60L
    10 oz Crystal Malt 120L

    Fermentables
    8 lbs Golden Light DME
    2 lbs Sparkling Amber DME

    Hops
    12 oz Kent Golding – 60 min
    12 oz Millenium – 60 min
    14 oz Fuggle – 15 min
    12 oz Kent Golding – 5 min

    Yeast
    White Labs Edinburgh Ale Yeast (WLP028)

    Directions
    Fill a stainless steel pot with two gallons of water and heat to 155°F. When the water is heated, steep the grains for 25 minutes. After steeping, discard the grains, add another gallon of water to the pot, and bring to a boil.

    Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the golden light DME and sparkling amber DME. Continuously stir the malts to prevent boil over. After the malt is dissolved, return to a boil. Once a good rolling boil is established, add the hops – 12 oz Kent Golding and 12 oz Millenium for bittering (boil for 60 minutes), 14 oz Fuggle for flavor (boil for 15 minutes), and 12 oz Kent Golding for aroma (boil for 5 minutes).

    When the boil time finishes, remove the pot from the heat and cool down to 80°F. Pour the cooled wort into a 6 gallon carboy and add enough cool water to bring the volume to 5 gallons. Stir the wort to mix well with the added water, and then check the specific gravity.

    Pitch the yeast directly into the carboy and stir the wort so it is well mixed. Keep in the primary fermentor for 9 days at 70°F. Rack to secondary fermentor, and keep at 70°F for 18 days.

    Bottle and allow the beers to bottle condition for 10 12 weeks.

    Cheers!

     

  • Drink

    Homebrew: Irish Red Ale

    A few months ago we brewed an Irish Red Ale that was available as an extract kit from Austin Homebrew Supply.

    Irish red ale homebrew.

    Recipe Specifications
    Batch Size: 5 gallons
    IBU: 24.3
    OG: 1.044
    FG: 1.020
    ABV: 3.1%

    Grains used for this recipe were 12 pound of Crystal 40L, 14 pound of Crystal 120L, and 2 ounces De-bittered Black. After we heated two gallons of water to 155°F, we steeped the grains for 25 minutes. We placed the grain bag in a strainer over the pot after steeping to let water drip back into the pot. When it was finished, we discarded the grains, added another gallon of water to the pot, and brought the mixture to boiling.

    Once boiling, we turned off the heat and added seven pounds of extra pale extract. We continuously stirred the malts to prevent boil over. After the malt was dissolved, we returned the mixture to a boil. Once a good rolling boil was established, we added 1 ounce of Whitbread Golding hops for bittering (boil for 60 minutes), 34 ounce of Select hops for flavor (boil for 15 minutes), and 14 ounce of Select hops for aroma (boil for 5 minutes).

    Irish red ale homebrew.

    When the boil time finished, we removed the pot from the heat and placed it in an ice bath to cool down to 80°F. This took about 30 minutes. The cooled wort was poured into a 6 gallon carboy and cool water was added to bring the volume to 5 gallons. We poured the wort through a strainer to help prevent sludge from entering the carboy. We stirred the wort to mix well with the added water, and then checked the specific gravity.

    We pitched a dry yeast (Windsor Ale) directly into the carboy and stirred the wort so it was well mixed. Our brew was stored in a temperature controlled (72°F) chest freezer.

    We used primary and secondary fermentation for this brew. We left the beer in the primary fermentor for six days, and then racked to a secondary. The beer was in the secondary for 19 days before bottling. We bottled 53 12-ounce bottles of beer. This beer seemed to peak after three months in the bottles.

    Cheers!