Five Easy Oklahoma Cold Weather Eats
I don't know about you, but I love sandwiches. They're the best. Delicious, storable, and all around a good snack that travels well. But when it's cold outside, nobody really wants to chow down on a crisp and cold sandwich.
It's understandable. But if you take just about any sandwich and toss it in a skillet with some butter, that becomes a rare cold-day epic dish that's both easy to make and easy to mess up.
First off, you have to use cheese. Not cheese food. Not cheese product. It has to be real cheese so it'll melt evenly and creamy within your 'wich.
Secondly, when using standard-cut sandwich breads, only use one slice of cheese. There's no reason to make a grilled cheese sandwich a stringy, half-melted mess. That ain't right. If you're busting out the Texas Toast that'll take enough of the heat, then two slices would be appropriate.
Third, you have to use butter. Margarine doesn't melt into oily goodness like butter does. It might taste like butter, but you'll burn your bread super quickly and not in a good way.
If you have to use a sandwich press cooker, that's fine. I like that hard over-cooked chewy nub of cheese that always finds its way out of the seam. Also, if you want to really pack a punch in that sandwich, put in a little baby spinach and a very thin layer of mayo. Serve with your choice of tomato soup.
Although it's hard to mess up chili, I've had to throw away whole six-pound pots before because I didn't know how to cook with ultra-lean venison.
Keep it simple and only loosely follow the online recipes. Better yet, buy the chili kits if you're more comfortable with that.
Most importantly, don't overcook the deer meat and balance it 50/50 with a quality sausage. Jimmy Dean Hot packs a flavor punch.
When you want to skim the fat out of the crock pot, use a cold pack and dip it in the liquid. The fat will solidify on the cold pack and it peels right off. That way you're not wasting your seasoned juice.
Also, toss a can or two of beans in it. While a lot of people swear that beans don't belong in chili, they're wrong and probably just used to calling hot dog sauce "chili." Beans belong in chili.
This one is super easy too. You basically make chili but substitute the tomato sauce/paste for a bunch of cumin. Make it super complex with a touch of chicken stock and your basic "White People Taco Night" will elevate to a true level of Tex-Mex.
You can even make it a truly cold weather eat by adding that chicken stock and either queso blanco or regular old cream cheese to the meat in the skillet to make a very rich and creamy taco soup. Just top it with cheddar and sour cream. Maybe even green onion if you're fancy. It's the bomb.
I get it. As we age into adulthood, the idea of eating bologna/baloney isn't super appealing. It's mystery meat, but it's also delicious when prepared correctly in a glorious bath of smoke or a stint in a hot skillet
"But I don't have a smoker..." Psshhh
You don't need a smoker to smoke bologna. You can do it on your grill. YouTube it. Smoked bologna is an increasing rarity in our growingly healthy culture, but with a good bark and thin slices, it's just about the best thing you'll put in your mouth this year.
All the same, charring it up in a cast iron skillet is also a 10/10 way to have an Oklahoma original cold weather meal.
Some like it with mustard, I'm not a mustard fan. I like mine with hickory smoke BBQ sauce from Head Country - AKA - the only BBQ sauce on the planet. Add a slice of cheese and slap it in some bread, it's amazing.
Protein and starch is a cold-weather staple across the state. Back in the old days, potatoes were almost exclusively a cold-weather dish because they'd keep in the root cellar all winter long.
At least five hours before you toss your steak down on the grill, season it and let it rest in the fridge. Trust me, this turns a Walmart steak into a steakhouse steak. Any seasoning is fine as long as it has a little salt in it. The salt will pull moisture out of the steak and then release the salty juice back into the meat.
Grab some of those tiny golden potatoes at the store, cut 'em into big chunks, toss them in a bag with olive oil, onion powder, garlic, thyme, lots of black pepper, a little salt, and a shake of cayenne and let marinade just like the steaks.
When you're ready to grill, wrap those oiled taters in tin foil and toss those on the grill first. Let them sizzle for a good ten minutes before you put your steaks on.
When you flip the pouch over gently enough to not pierce the foil, then start your steaks on the heat. They'll both steam and fry in the bag at the same time. Let it rest just like you do the steaks, and when you spoon those golden lumps of magic onto your plate, you'll wonder how you've never thought of it before. Really easy and delicious.