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It is amazing yet terrifying at the same time. At how much has gone on in this country the past few weeks. So many things have been shuttered, including theme parks. Driving around where I live, it is so eerie seeing all the empty parking lots. It feels like we are living in a terrifying movie.
I understand and agree with social distancing. But man even I have only so many shows to watch on Netflix & Amazon Prime. Recently we canceled our Fantasy Baseball draft. That is usually one of my favorite days of the year. I mean spring is on the way, and baseball was so close. Hanging out with some close friends, then playing cards after the draft eating bad for you but delicious food and watching March Madness...... Then, poof, it was all gone.
Now we are still having the draft whenever baseball resumes. It just won't feel the same. However, when you have lemons, you make lemonade.
2 cups sugar.
2 cups water.
1 gallon cold water.
2 cups fresh lemon juice (Bottled juice works fine)
1 lemon, sliced, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish.
Directions: Make a simple syrup by adding the sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Add a gallon of cold water and the lemon juice to a large glass pitcher. Add the simple syrup and the lemon slices. Stir well. Pour the lemonade into tall glasses filled with ice. Garnish the rims with lemon wedges and enjoy icy cold!
Look with so much that is unavailable to us right now. I needed to find something to do. So I made my first apple pie from scratch in around ten years. With all the things going on in my life, I had started to make quick, rather dull meals. Or worse doing the drive-thru/take out, I had forgotten how much I liked to cook! Heck, I forgot what my dining room looked like.
With more time and way fewer options, I have started to rediscover my kitchen. I even recently made a homemade Chicago style pizza that Lou Malnati himself would have been impressed with. And I do not have the words to tell you how cool it is to have an actual conversation with your family sitting at the dinner table.
But let us take this a step further, this is the time of year that most seasonal parks start to open. Heck Kigamania (Orion) was opening This Saturday. Now I know it is impossible to ride a Giga coaster at home, but we can make up some pretty good park-like food in the home kitchen. Trappers Smokehouse at Busch Gardens Williamsburg was the inspiration for this meal
Rybarczyk Raptor Ribs.
Ingredients (for Dry Rub).
8 Tablespoons, Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons, Kosher Salt, you can use sea salt also, please don’t use nasty table salt if possible.
1 Tablespoon, Smoked Paprika, you can use plain paprika, but smoked is way better.
2 Teaspoons, Chipotle powder. This has some kick use 1 teaspoon if you like less heat. (You can use regular chili powder if can't find Ancho & Chipotle powder)
2 Teaspoons, Ancho chili powder.
1 Teaspoon, Granulated Garlic.
1 Teaspoon, Granulated Onion.
½ Teaspoon each dried, Basil, Thyme, Coriander.
½ Teaspoon, Fresh black pepper.
½ Teaspoon, Old bay seasoning.
½ Teaspoon, Powder Ginger.
½ Teaspoon, Curry powder.
There is enough rub here for 2-3 racks
Dry your ribs with some paper towel and remove the clear membrane on the bone side. Spread some good mustard on both sides of the ribs. Then liberally apply the rub, gently tap the ribs so that the rub sticks. Wrap in foil put in the refrigerator and let sit at least 8 hours (I usually do them the night before and let them sit overnight).
Heat your smoker to 250. A little lower is ok, but try your best not to go over, smoke with your favorite wood(s) for 2 hours. Wrap back in foil and place back in the smoker for 2 more hours. Check for tenderness (You do not want them to tender) remove from the smoker and finish on the grill with a light layer of your favorite BBQ sauce to caramelize. Bring lots of napkins and enjoy.
If you don’t have a smoker, here is a delicious alternative. Preheat the oven to 350 Place ribs on a baking sheet large enough, so you do not have to cut or stack them on top of each other. Add 1/3 cup vinegar and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 75 minutes or until very tender remove ribs from oven and carefully lift off tin foil. Watch out for steam, the ribs are now fully cooked and need to be finished. You have a couple of options:
Heat your grill to medium and place ribs meat side down without sauce, but you can baste the back with the BBQ sauce of your choice. Cook until they start to develop grill marks, and turn over - now baste the top You could stop here after they grill a bit on this side, or you could baste them a bit more and then give them a couple more minutes meat side down - that's what I do, or
Heat broiler to high and place ribs on a baking sheet about 4 inches from the heat source and brush the top of the ribs well with the sauce and cook until they start getting a bit brown - then flip to the back, baste and cook some more. Flip back to the top (sauce again) and cook until they get that beautiful rib look. Then, no matter how you cooked them, give them one extra baste after they've been removed and just before you serve them.
I know a lot is going on here, but trust me, you more than likely have most of the rub ingredients in your spice rack already. And I know that some if not most of you will not have a smoker. But the oven option is still excellent. I recommend the Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce. (Amazon) But almost any BBQ sauce will work.
Miller’s Manta Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons butter
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
16 oz Colby jack or sharp cheddar shredded cheese.
In a large pot boil at least 1 gallon of water. Cook pasta to al dente (8-9 minutes) and drain. Return to the pot and melt butter. Toss to coat. Add cheese, whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta. Over low heat continue to stir until creamy, (around 2-3 minutes).
This is as easy as any boxed mac and cheese and 100 times better. I make this too often, but it is sooooo good.
Fury 325 Baked Beans
3 cans / 15oz Great Northern Beans.
1 Cup BBQ sauce or Ketchup. Both are equally good.
2/3 Cup Sugar regular or 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar.
1 Large onion diced
1 Package Bacon. I take 4 strips a time and use scissors to cut into roughly 1-inch pieces.
Combine in a crockpot and turn on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
If you pressed for time, cover the crock with some plastic wrap and cook in the microwave on high for twenty minutes stir and repeat as many times as necessary. Return to the pot to keep warm.
It can be doubled if going to a potluck.
I love baked beans, and it hurts me when I see people buy them canned when they are so easy to make. When you make these beans, I will guarantee that you will never, ever buy them in a can again.
The Beast coleslaw
2 lbs of coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots in any produce section)
1 15oz Jar of real Mayo.
3/4 Cups White Vinegar
3/4 Cups Sugar
1-1/2 tsp Celery Seed
1-1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic
1 tbs Granulated Onion
In a stainless steel or plastic mixing bowl, combine the Mayo, Celery Seed, Garlic & Onion. Mix thoroughly. Pour the Vinegar in the empty Mayo jar & shake until all leftover mayo is incorporated. Pour Vinegar mixture in the mixing bowl. Stir until contents or in a liquid state. In a large salad bowl, pour in the sauce. Then slowly fold in the coleslaw mix. Cover and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Overnight would be better.
Every meal can use a salad, and I can not think of a better salad for BBQ than coleslaw. You will not find a coleslaw in any Amusement/Theme park that can match up with this. Once again, EASY!!!!
Skyrush Peach Cobbler
3 15oz cans sliced peaches in heavy syrup
1 box yellow cake mix.(Non-pudding mix)
1 stick salted butter
Grease a 9x13 pan. Open then empty peaches into the pan, dump the cake mix on top, mix to combine. Just bring it together and do not over mix. Cut the stick of butter into 15/20 pats. Place evenly on top of batter.
Place pan in a preheated 350-degree oven cook until golden on top around 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool for 15 minutes. Enjoy with whip cream or better yet ICECREAM.
Ok, I know you are getting full, but this dessert is worth loosening your belt. It is warm sweet buttery, everything you can want in a dessert. Heck, it is even prize-winning (I won a local BBQ contest in the dessert category.) The cobbler will be the talk of your next dinner. If you have young kids, it is an excellent blackmail tool."You can't have your cobbler unless you eat your vegetables." I have even been known to make this for breakfast.
Well, there you have it, a meal inspired by one of the better Theme Park restaurants. You could even make one outstanding Easter dinner from this menu. Also, all of these recipes, along with many other excellent ones, are in the Ride Warrior Discord Cook Book. (Shameless plug)
I know what we want, almost a need, to get back to the parks to hang out with our family and friends at a place we all love. To ride some coasters, scream with all of our might. And like I said earlier, eat some bad for you but delicious food. We will get back to them until then happy Easter, And eat on Ride Warriors!!!!