MTTS: Day 9 – Memphis, TN

10580188_10152330338893668_5972410947265355868_nDay NINE? Really?

We started out this morning in Dallas…. I’m starting to get confused…. We’ve stayed in four different Texas cities and everything is starting to run together.  I’m not the only MTTS-er who can’t remember where they’ve been.  When you meet new people you ask where they started and how far they are going… The long distance people are starting to look a bit dazed.  Too many early Rise & Shines following too many late Evening Owner’s Events.  I don’t know how else MINI could do it… there is just so much road to cover in a day and only so many hours… We need a Nap Day thrown in here and there maybe.

Today was probably our longest drive…. 488 miles.  I slept A LOT… thank goodness.  My mom wishes that I had slept that good in the car when I was little… maybe I would have, but she just didn’t drive long enough…. 100-150 miles… bam… I’m asleep.

We didn’t get to see many interesting things along the way today.  There was a lot of construction on the highway and we ended up taking a couple of creepy back roads (and we’ve been in the no-man-lands of New Mexico, and I say these were creepy….)

We finally made it out of Texas and into Arkansas around lunch time.  I’d swear that the moment we crossed the state line the humidity quadrupled.  That is something that I’ve discovered on this trip… I’d always thought that state lines were an imaginary kind of line… something drawn on a map and marked with a sign…. nothing tangible….. Nope!  Crossing state lines begin/end all different kinds of landscapes, languages and heat indexes.  Who knew!?photo 1

Since we got into Memphis in the late afternoon on a Sunday… and all the sights were closed… Our big thrill of the day was dinner.  My Father-In-Law loves… absolutely loves…. plans trips around… Corky’s Ribs & BBQ.  Now, unlike my SIL, I totally get my FIL’s food style.  If it’s food… it’s probably good…. if it’s different… we should try it.  Yep… I get that.  We tend to like a lot of the same foods too (not drinks, tho.. we totally disagree on coffees and wine).  So as Brian and I are scrolling through Google’s recommended places I came across Corky’s Ribs & BBQ…. Well… ribs are a very Memphis thing….. what the hell?

10577004_10152331244628668_4666225502343366721_nWe got a parking space right up front… apparently we just beat the rush… and Posh got a cute picture out front.  We sent that to Brian’s dad to make him jealous.

I’d googled to see if the BBQ sauce was gluten-free and most of the things I’d read said it was.  I checked with the waitress and she said that yes, the regular sauce was GF.  I’ve never had a problem with any of the BBQ sauces that I’ve had before, but I’m trying to be extra careful to not get sick while we’re on our trip.  I ordered the Rack of Ribs (1/2 Wet & 1/2 Dry)….. I think I like the ‘Wet’ better, but the ‘Dry’ was good too.  I also got the Twice Baked Potatoes as my side… yum!  You’d have thought I’d have had them before, but I can’t remember every eating them….. I found the recipe and those potatoes will be showing up at a Family Dinner Night soon.  (So will Fried Pies, as soon as I figure out a good GF recipe for them…. I keep seeing signs all over the south for Fried Pies… and I want one SO bad!) Brian ordered the Loaded Potato and had plans to share my ribs…. he just let me order the giant meal so the waitress thought I was the cow!

After dinner we decided to skip the Owner’s Event and just get to the hotel earlier.  We’re having a great time, but we could use more sleep (napping in the car just doesn’t count.)  Tomorrow is our last day on MTTS… It’s be a wonderful adventure, but I’m ready to get home.  I miss my home and my family…. and I’m pretty sure my dog won’t speak to me and my cats have probably convinced my aunt to let them order pizza and pay-per-view every night…. it’s time to go home.

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Last weekend I hosted my cousin’s bridal shower.  Finally.  I’ve been plotting this party since she got engaged two years ago.  Two years?!  I’m not the patient one, obviously.  Brian was really relieved to have the party over as well.  I’ve been buying and storing party items in our basement for over a year now.  The day after the party we cleaned the basement and packed away all the party decorations.  Who knew there was a floor in the basement?!  Brian.  He kept reminding me that there was, in fact, a floor in the basement, but it hadn’t been spotted in several months.

As usual, I had over bought the food.  CostCo freaks me out…. I get panicky about halfway through, as things start to spew out the top of the cart.  I start trying to calculate how much I’m about to spend…. and then I see the giant tub of peanut butter… and, yes, I add two tubs of peanut better to my cart…..’cause I’m sure I need that much peanut butter.  Yeah.  It just all seems like a good idea at the time.  Okay, it’s not entirely my fault.  Not everyone RSVP’d on time.  (Can you guess my biggest pet peeve?  Yeah, people who don’t RSVP!)   So I was kind of guesstimating the number of guest.  (People who don’t RSVP should be left outside to starve and watch the party through the window.  But of course, a good hostess wouldn’t do that…. so I always over-buy on food.)

Since I had leftovers, I decided to try to use everything up at Family Dinner Night.  Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole would use up the last of the sliced turkey, ham and swiss cheese from the Dollar Roll Sandwiches.  Normally I only use ham in the casserole, but since I had the turkey, I went a head and used it up.  No complaints from the family, but it didn’t make a big difference, so I wouldn’t bother doing it again.  I was just using up what I had.

I was also able to use up the rest of the lettuce in another salad (because you can’t buy 2 romaine hearts at CostCo, you have to buy SIX) and I chopped up the remaining chocolate clusters and tossed them into some homemade ice cream.  The very last of the leftovers went into lunches for the rest of the week.  Yay!

All in all, the party was a hit, but I am happy to have it safely and happily behind me and the leftovers out of my fridge no longer tempting me.

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Ingredients 

Base:

  • 1 large rotisserie chicken, meat removed and pulled (about 5-6 C)
  • 1/2 lb  Ham, chopped
  • 1/2 lb  Swiss Cheese

Sauce:

  • 4 Tbs Butter
  • 4 Tbs Cup4Cup Flour
  • 3 c Milk
  • 2 Tb Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tb Dijion Mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper

Topping:

  • 4 Tbs Butter, Melted
  • 2 c Crushed Cornflakes

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°  Spray a 9×13 casserole pan with nonstick spray.

Layer the shredded chicken in the bottom of the pan, followed by the ham.   Finally, layer the swiss cheese on top.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the Cup4Cup flour to form a rue.  Allow rue to begin to bubble, but not brown.  Slowly add the milk until smooth.  Continue whisking as the sauce bubbles and thickens.  Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, mustard and spices.  Pour the finished sauce over the base layer.

Melt the butter in a small bowl then add the crushed cornflakes.  Toss the cornflakes in the butter until completely coated.   Sprinkle over the top of the dish and bake for 45 minutes.

Family Dinner Night Meatloaf

Every Tuesday night Brian and I host Family Dinner Night at our house.  We could have anywhere from 7 to 15 people around the table.  In-laws, Out-laws, Halfs, Steps, and sometimes a random friend shows up…. we take the “Family” part fairly loosely…. Blood relation isn’t really required.

Grandpa just turned 90 and since Grandma passed he has been doing much of his own cooking… he asked for one of my crock-pots (I did have seven…. so I could spare one.)… He seems to be enjoying his crockpot concoctions, but it does make me feel good to make a full, home cooked meal for him every week.

It is also nice to have the whole family together fairly often.  I’ve never understood why some families only get together on holidays.  I mean, I get it, if you live far away or something…. but if you live in the same general area?  What is the big damn deal about getting together on a certain calendar date?  I’m reasonably available most of the year…. if you want to see me…. call.  Have you noticed how miserable those winter holidays are because you are “stuck” attending events with relatives that if they actually gave a damn, could see you most anytime of the year?  It’s not special if it’s an obligation, people.  I just don’t get it… If family is important to you… then you need to make the effort to see them.

Anyway…. this is the meatloaf I made for Family Dinner Night this week.  It’s gluten-free (I don’t know why people add breadcrumbs anyway,) and filled with yummy veggies.  If Mom got to choose, we’d never have meatloaf, but ever-so-often I like to make a “manly” meal.  I cheated and didn’t make mashed potatoes…. since Brian and I are trying to stay low-carb I try to keep FDN’s low-carb and gluten-free too.  I did make (GF) Corn Pudding though….  so they’ll get carbs…. And everyone’s favorite Autumn Salad.

 

Meatloaf

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Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs Ground Hamburger
  • 1 lb Turkey Sausage
  • 3 Carrots
  • 4 Celery Stalks
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbs Garlic (More or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp WildTree’s Garam Masala Blend (More or less to taste)

Directions

Clean carrots, celery and onion.  Chop into big chunks and chop in food processor until diced fairly small (not a paste…. should still be slightly chunky).  Combine veggie mix, hamburger, sausage and eggs.  (I tossed everything in the Kitchen Aid mixer.)  Next add your chopped garlic and the Garam Masala Blend.  (I used a big glob of garlic and just sprinkled the spices in…. This a a more or less to your personal taste kind of thing.)

Dump the mixture into a 13×9 pan and  shape into a loaf.

Bake at 375º for 90 minutes.