Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Farewell to Steve Jobs, rest in peace

My life and careers would have been so different without Steve.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rice Crispie Opera - How to make Rice Crispie Treats

Here's the written recipe:

In a large bowl measure out 6 cups rice crispies

In a large pan melt 1/2 stick of butter over low heat,
Once melted add 10 ounces of miniature marshmellows
Stir until melted.
Add 3 large spoonfuls of peanut butter.
Stir until melted.
Turn off the heat.
Add the Rice Crispies.
Add 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (chocolate chips)
Stir until coated.
Put in a 9 by 12 pan.
Use wax paper to spread.
Let cool
cut and serve and eat and smile.

Cook well it's worth it.
Rob Barrett

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rising Sun Quick Flatbread with pesto, bacon, tomatoes and basil.

The Sun is our friend. She gives us tans, life, warmth and helps our bread to rise.  Here's how to make rising sun quick flatbread. Grill it and add traditional pizza toppings or do a pesto one like I did. (you can learn more by watching the Upside down pizza video)

Start with the dough.

Rob's rising sun quick bread
dough ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 spoonful salt
2 spoonfuls sugar
1 spoonful yeast
1 spoonful olive oil
3/4 cups water

shredded cheese
sliced tomatoes
basil leaves

Mix together ingredients for dough, stirring with a fork.
Knead for a couple minutes, adding flour as needed to keep from sticking to your hands.
Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place dough in middle of paper and roll dough out until 1/4 inch thick.
Brush with olive oil or butter until completely covered. 
Set in direct sun for 30 minutes to an hour. 

Let rise for 30-60 minutes.

Dough should double or triple in height. Roll back in to a ball and cut in half. 

Clean, brush and oil grill.
Heat grill to 300 degrees.
Grill bacon, one minute each side.

Roll both dough pieces into 1/4" thick rounds. They don't have to be perfect.
Lay one piece of rolled out dough on grill. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until grill marks appear.

Flip over and immediately with sprinkle cheese. Close lid and grill for 1 minute more, making sure bottom doesn't burn.

Add pesto and spread.
Add tomatoes, basil and bacon. 
remove from grill and cut into small pieces.
Serve to hungry family.

Repeat with other dough.

Serve hot and enjoy.

cook well.
Rob Barrett

Sunday, July 24, 2011

1 steak 3 people, how to stretch a steak for 3 people with balsamic and naan

3 people one strip steak, what's one to do.  

First spiral cut the steak into one long strip. Place in bag with a little olive oil and 3 or 4 spoonfuls or balsamic vinegar. Mix it around and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Heat your grill to 400 degrees and grill long strip, turning once, about 2 minutes a side or less.
Cut into small pieces and place aside.

Place naan bread (Costco) on grill for 1 minute a side or until warm 

Remove and spread with ranch dressing

Add the steak pieces
Then some tomatoes, these are purple tomatoes but you can use whatever king you'd like.

 Add a little corn relish.  (Recipe at bottom.)

fold over, eat and enjoy, It should  be enough for almost 4 sandwiches of goodness.

Cook well and have a great summer, 

Here's our favorite Corn Salad recipe (inspired by the Barefoot Contessa's version)

in a large bowl combine:

  • 4 cups of frozen corn niblets
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion 
  • 4 spoonfuls cider vinegar
  • 4 spoonfuls olive oil
  • 1/2 spoonful coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 spoonful freshly ground black pepper
  • When ready to serve, add the basil, toss and serve.
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Rob Barrett

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cheetos, coconut and beer batter fish, fresh fish ideas for the cabin

Here are some fun ideas for cooking fresh fish.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lemon Steak, using lemon juice to tenderize your steak

Here's a great way to tenderize your steak and give it a little zip without making it taste lemony. Try it and let me know what you think.  I really like these chuck eye steaks when you can find them.  Make sure it's a chuck eye and not a chuck steak, big difference.

cook well,
Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads

Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to make a hamburger - props, pears, and peanut butter

Hamburger with lemon marinade.

For every pound of hamburger add the juice of one lemon, Combine with fingers and et aside for 15-20 minutes.  The juice tenderizes the meat without leaving a lemony taste.

Pear and jalapeno burger.

Heat grill and coat with olive oil.
Place a 1/3 inch lice of pear on grates, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook for 2-3 minutes or until grate marks appear. Flip over, add a slice of swiss cheese and thinly sliced jalapenos.  Close grill lid and let is cook for 2-3 minutes.  Place on top of cooked burger and serve hot.

cook well,
Rob Barrett

Friday, June 10, 2011

Raspberry Mango Lemonade and other fun "seize the day" summer drinks

Here are the written versions:

Cucumber Water:
1 gallon of water
1 lemon sliced
2 handfuls sliced cucumber
combine and store in the refrigerator,
Use within 2 days.

Fresh Limeade - (Lemonade):
1 large glass of water
add the juice of two small limes (1 large lemon) about 4 T
3 spoonfuls of sugar.
Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add a piece of the rind and a handful of ice.
Drink and go "Ahhh!"

Barrett Special: (from our friends the Bains)
1 large glass filled 3/4 with Sparkling lemon water and ice.
Add a splash of cranberry juice
take a small piece of lime and rub tit around the rim of the glass
Squeeze in leftover lime juice and toss rind in glass.
Serve cold.

Strawberry Lemonade:
1/2 gallon of water
juice of 3 lemons 1/2 C
5 sp sugar
1 handful strawberries mashed
Place everything in large coffee press.
Squeeze down pulp.
Pour over ice and enjoy.

Raspberry Mango Lemonade (limeade):
In a large pitcher add 3/4 gallon cold water.
add 10 spoonfuls of sugar (about 3/4 cup) and stir until dissolved
In a medium bowl combine 1 small carton fresh raspberries (just over 1 cup), 1 cup fresh mango pieces and the juice of 6 lemons (almost 1 cup). Using a potato smasher or a big spoon, smash fruit until it forms a paste. Place a colander or strainer over another bowl and pour mixture into colander. Let the juice fall through. Use large spoon to smash down pulp to remove last bits of juice.
Pour juice mixture in to pitcher and stir to combine.
Add some lemon slices to pitcher.
Pour over ice to serve.

Cook well,
Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads

Friday, June 3, 2011

Crispy Egg and Cheese Sandwich or How to Fry an Egg

There are a couple keys to these sandwiches.

1. Get a good non-stick pan.  Not having to add any oil or butter when frying an egg is a huge saving in the calorie area.  I love my Anolon Advanced.

2. I've used quite a few different cheeses but this Kirkland Mexican mix really works well.  You'll find that shredded cheese crisps up better than big pieces.

3. You can also do this with rolls or bread, but I really like these 100 calorie English Muffins.

Here's the Calorie Breakdown.
1 egg                               70 calories
1 english muffin            100 calories
1 thin strip of bacon        40 calories
2 T of shredded cheese   80 calories
1/2 t of butter                  30 calories
Total -                           320 calories

Cook well and enjoy.

Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Healthy Fast Food, a review of grilled Chicken Sandwiches at Burger King, McDonald's and Wendy's

Eating healthy can be tough, but even more so when you're relegated to fast food. If you're able to bypass the Big Mac or Whopper, which grilled chicken sandwich should you get? We at Cooking for Dads set out to answer that age old question.

We narrowed the options down to the grilled chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, the most nationally available chains. Both McDonald's and BK only have one option while Wendy's has 3. We chose the basic grilled chicken sandwich at each, with lettuce and tomatoes and accepted the way they served it to us. Here is the run down on the information for each sandwich.
The Review

Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich - $4.60 - 370 calories

BK Tender Grill Chicken Sandwich - $4.60 - 470 calories

McDonald's Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich -$4.19 - $420 calories

All of them come under the Big Mac as far as calories (576) so right off the bat you're ahead. Here is our take on their tastes by each component.

The Meat:

BK - Nicely seasoned and juicy, cooked just right. We like the char burns on the meat from the flame broiling.

McDonald's - Surprisingly bland. We were surprised there wasn't more sodium at least. The chicken was in dire need of seasoning.

Wendy's - The meat has nice texture but the seasoning is a little sweet, and there's a chemical after taste.

The Buns:
BK - Tougher than the rest but a nice taste. The Wendy's and McD's buns were much softer.

McDonald's - The best bun of the bunch with great texture and nice white bread taste - just like mom. The Classic McD's bun.

Wendy's - Again nice texture but really quite sweet. The is a lot of sugar in this bread.

Over all Sandwich:

BK - Well, you can tell from the picture which one we liked. The only one that's almost gone. The BK Sandwich was heads and shoulders above the others in over all taste as a sum of it's parts. The meat matched the bread and the crisp lettuce and juicy tomato, they all worked together in ensemble. We will definitely get this one instead of a Whopper.

McDonald's - Not a terrible sandwich, but definitely lacking in interest. We would have expected more McDonald's magic in this one. Definitely get the Big Mac. This one's not worth it.

Wendy's - I'm a big Wendy's fan, but this sandwich is not an option. The bread is sweet, the meat is sweet, the sandwich is way too sweet. (We like sweet things but this is just too much of it) Maybe if you got it without the sauce it would help, but I would stick to the burgers or the fried chicken here.

So that's it for healthy fast food for today.

Remember when possible, cook well.
Rob Barrett, Jr.
Cooking for Dads

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu with White Wine and Lemon Cream Sauce

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu with White Wine and lemon Cream Sauce

for chicken:
2-4 thawed Chicken Breasts
Dijon Mustard
salt and pepper
thinly sliced honey ham
sliced Swiss Cheese

Butterfly chicken breasts by slicing longways but not completely through (see video). Open up chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a small dollop of honey on each side of the breasts and spread with a knife. Do the same with the Dijon mustard. Place a small slice of Swiss cheese and a small slice of ham on each side of the breast and close breast by folding over. Place a toothpick to hold breast closed while cooking.

Grill over high heat (400 degrees) for 3-4 minutes a side or until completely cooked.

for white wine and lemon Cream Sauce
3 spoonfuls of white wine
1 inch of butter
the juice of one lemon
1 spoonful grated lemon peel (lemon zest)
1 spoonful finely chopped onion

Combine in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium low heat until butter is melted, onions are softened and the combination starts to thicken slightly.

Add 1 cup heavy cream while stirring to combine. Continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes. don't let it boil.

Pour over chicken.

© 2011 Cooking for Dads

Cook well, it's worth it.

Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pecan Salmon for Mother's Day


1 1/2 lbs salmon filets
3 spoonfuls honey
1 inch butter
4 spoonfuls mustard
chopped pecans
bread crumbs
fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
parchment paper


In a small bowl combine: 3 spoonfuls of honey, 1 inch butter (melted), and 4 spoonfuls of Dijon mustard. Stir.

In another small bowl combine: small handful(1/4 cup) chopped pecans, small handful (1/4 cup) of bread crumbs, and 1 spoonful chopped parsley.

Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper, place skins side down on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and brush with mustard and honey mixture on one side. Add a layer of pecan mixture and pat down. Bake at 450ยบ for 10-15 minutes or until salmon is just cooked through (just firms up). Serve with couscous and broccoli.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Easy French Dip sandwiches in under 5 minutes

Trust me, you will really like these. Try 'em and let me know what you think.

Cook well,
Rob Barrett

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rob's Buttery Pull-apart Bread

This is one of my family's favorites. It pulls apart into lovely bits of goodness. I have no idea how it long it keeps as it immediately disappears once it comes out of the oven.

for the dough:

add one spoonful active dry yeast to 1/2 cup warm (105 degrees) water. Add a sprinkle of sugar and stir. Set aside for 5 minutes until foamy.

Add 1 spoonful salt and 2 spoonfuls sugar to 1/2 cup warm milk. Stir until disolved.

In a large bowl add 3 1/4 cups of flour, 2 spoonfuls olive oil, milk mixture and water mixture. Stir with a fork until combined. Place on counter and knead for 5 minutes, adding additional flour if dough sticks too much to hands.

Form it into a ball, place back in bowl, cover with a towel and set aside for at least 2 hours. Let it rise for up to 5 hours if possible.

Lightly flour counter top and place dough in the middle.

Roll out as thinly as possible. Cover with a think layer of butter, sprinkle with garlic salt, and add a small amount of parmesan cheese if desired.
Starting on one end roll dough into a tube.
Fold in thirds and smash down, slowly stretching it back to its original length.

Preheat the oven to 450. Place on baking sheet, put in the oven and lower temp to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

For extra credit, once the dough is rolled up into a tube the first time, fold in half, and then in half again. Place back in bowl and let it rise for an additional hour. Repeat the process, roll out as thinly as possible, thinly coat with butter, garlic salt and parmesan and roll into a tube. Fold in half and slowly stretch back to its original length.

Cook well,
Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads

© 2011 Cooking for Dads

Friday, March 11, 2011

Top Ten Kitchen Gadgets from the 2011 International Home and Housewares Show

Here are the top ten gadgets and products from this year's IHS in Chicago. I'll post the links to the products or if you know them post them in the comments.
It was a fun show and way too hard to pick just ten, so I included some more at the end. Enjoy, subscribe, comment and enjoy.

Microwave potato chip maker - (not available for a couple months)

Solar Grill -

Retractable peeler -

Quick Popsicle maker -

ISI soda maker -

Packit freezer bags -

The Cookie Dipr -

OXO hand mixer -

Bodum grill -

Stanley outdoor cooking set -


Nordicware grill -

Lekue Decorator -

Roscan food storage -

DrawerDecor -

Bartule -

Sensio CBLT Machine -

Gyro Bowl -

Lapper trays -

cook well,
Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Top 10 tips for grilling after a long winters solstice

1. Clean the grates, take them inside to the kitchen and give them a good cleaning. You can also put them in the oven and use the cleaning cycle. Start the season fresh.

2. Oil the grates. Take a paper towel and apply a liberal dose of oil to the grates before grilling. The cleaning probably removed some of the natural lubrication.

3. Buy a new brush, Your old one is probably really grody. New brushes are $3 at Rainbow.

4. Check your hoses. Turn the gas on at the tank first and listen for any leakage before opening up the burners. If you hear gas escaping but haven't opened up the burners, turn off the tank and replace your hoses.

5. Buy a meat thermometer. Make a deliberate effort to not over cook you rmeat this summer. Meat thermometers are $29 at the Kitchen Store in the Eden Prairie mall and really help take the guess work out of grilling meat. This especially helps with thicker cuts of meat. Chicken is the most likely to be over cooked. Remove chicken when the thickest part is at 165 degrees.

6. Whenever possible, try to use only fresh meat. Frozen steaks never get their texture back due to cellular damage from the freezing process. Buy steaks the day you need them and avoid freezing them. If you must freeze them be sure to squeeze out any air before placing the bags in the freezer.

7. But grown up salt - coarse kosher salt. The taste is much cleaner than iodized salt and do you really need more iodine?

8. Get a good pepper grinder. Most meats need nothing more than kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Try one of the dual slat and pepper grinders from Chef'n.

9. Get some firewire. The flexible grilling utensils are great for marinating meat in.

10.Learn at least one new recipe a month. Here's my favorite.

1 - 1.5 lbs flank steak
1/2 C soy sauce (2/3 C)
1/2 C canola or vegetable oil
4 spoonsfuls molasses
2 spoonfuls fresh ginger
2 spoonfuls mustard
1 spoonful sugar
6 garlic cloves, chopped

Mix together all the ingredients. Marinate flank steak for up to 24 hours but at least 1 hour. Grill over high heat for 3 minutes each side. Let rest and then cut across the grain and on an angle.

© 2008 Cooking for Dads

Cook well, It's worth it.

Rob Barrett
Cooking for Dads

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grilling a Steak in MInnesota

Grilling steak in a Minnesotan winter offers unique obstacles to overcome but there are principles that anyone can use for just normal grilling.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Eating Beautifully

A couple years ago my wife was given a book by our friend Christy Hunt on how to live the Beautiful life. It's all about doing some small, special things that bring beauty to the world and to your life. While it is TOTALLY for women, I was thinking about it this morning and decided to have a fun breakfast for my wife and me. I'm always surprised how much the little things in life can make a big difference. Total cost was around $5 and it was worth every penny.

Happy Breakfast:
1 toasted fresh bagel
1 small package Morey's Lox
some spreadable Neufatel Cheese (like low fat cream cheese)
thinly sliced tomatoes and red onion



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day Contest

Make your favorite Cooking for Dads meal for Valentine's Day, send me a pic and you could win a brand new set of Anolon Advanced pans.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crispy Rice Tortillas, Gluten Free

These have a great crunch and texture as well as a nice roasted flavor.

Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Make Cream of Mushroom Soup

This was for a Chef Challenge on a local TV Station. i didn't win. :-)