Monday, October 22, 2012

Johnny's Hall of Fame

Went to lunch with the new co-workers at Johnny's Hall of Fame downtown on Court Ave. If you haven't been to Johnny's in the last couple years, you would not know that they did a phenomenal job in remodeling their place. It's still a sports bar but it is incredibly spacious and has a ton of TVs to watch the games on. I haven't been there to watch a specific game but I would think they would be awesome for it....assuming they would give you game audio.

My one knock on this place is that around 9-10pm on the weekends, it turns from a sports bar into a loud meat market for the 20 somethings. However, I am getting old and they are probably just making a smart business decision because they are usually packed on the I will just have to accept that.

I've had Johnny's for lunch a couple times before. Once, I had their pizza buffet which was....ehhh ok. This time, I opted for the Rarebit burger, which I haven't had for a long time. A rarebit is a burger smothered in cheese sauce...usually without the top bun as well.

If you bathed me in cheese, I would probably be delicious.
So the verdict wasn't bad...not spectacular. The cheese sauce was a nacho cheese variety with a tiny amount of spice which was a great choice. Otherwise, you are eating a straight up burger. It was definitely filling and the bun was nice and soft....the burger itself just tasted like a thick ground beef could have had more flavor. The fries were seasoned and amazing. I am pretty sure they were the Ore Ida seasoned fries out of the bag...which doesn't sound like a complement but those are amazing fries.

So my thoughts are that Johnny's isn't going to knock your socks off for lunch. It is your typical bar food. I was actually hoping to eat a lighter/healthier lunch but they only had a couple salad options. Someone at my table did order the club sandwich and it was monstrous and looked I do recommend that if you get the chance to take a nap in the afternoon. Their made to order pizza though is pretty good (don't think it is available for lunch) so you might try the club sandwich if you are there for lunch and order a pizza for dinner. You can check out the rest of the menu at:

What are your thoughts on Johnny's?

Monday, October 15, 2012


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Broccoli Chicken and Rice

Today's recipe is a classic recipe that I jacked from Nothing spectacular, just cooked chicken in a creamy rice and a rare special guest appearance by broccoli.

This recipe was pretty simple, cook your chicken (I cut the chicken up into small pieces), add cream of chicken soup and then some rice and broccoli florets. Along with being simple, it is pretty quick as well with an ETA of 15-20 minutes. Check out the recipe below

Here are my results:

Sticky, yet creamy rice.

So my cooking creativity has been lacking I admit. It is still nice to find a recipe like this that you could whip up pretty quickly and is relatively healthy. As some of the reviews on this recipe suggest, it can be somewhat bland. One suggestion that was made that I wish I would have tried was to use chicken broth instead of water. You could probably throw some salt and garlic into this as well. I went to my trusted garnish of choice....shredded pepper jack and that enhanced the dish quite a bit. I was able to squeeze out 4 servings on this so I think I got it to between 400-500 calories per serving (before the pepper jack) with a great source of protein.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lincoln High Class of '02 Reunion @ Exile Brewing Co

If you've followed the blog, you known that I've already reviewed Exile. The reason for going there before was to scout it out for this 10 year reunion. This mission is finally complete.

Last weekend, Exile hosted our 10 year reunion in their Beer Hall area (bar side of the restaurant). When I say hosted, I mean they allowed us to drop in with 60+ South siders (dangerous!) or an overall 100+ guests. There was a miscommunication between the Exile organizer and myself on whether it was going to be reserved or not. It was not reserved as they normally charge $1,000 an hour on the weekend...we opted for the free-est option. The reserved price seems somewhat steep to me, even compared to other downtown sites but the facilities are maybe one of the best for a party downtown. It was a nice scene for a private party as you aren't right on Court Avenue co-mingling with other shenanigans.

Overall the experience was great. The service at the bar and from the waiting staff was quick and friendly, at least in my experience. I believe they only served appetizers the whole evening on the Beer Hall side though. I estimated at one point we had roughly 100 people in the beer hall area and there was still enough room to move around...this is without the outdoor patio being opened up. So the space was not an issue at all. If money isn't an issue for a reserved party, or you and 100 of your closest friends want to go out somewhere, Exile is a good choice because of its space accommodations, service and stunning decor...just as long as you are ok with appetizers for the food choice.

The above expressed opinions are just mine, not of the others at the party. Class of '02, for those of you at the party, PLEASE SHARE your thoughts on the food, service, set-up ambiance or whatever else you want to share about the party and the restaurant. Also, please share any pictures you have the event (as long as they aren't too incriminating haha).

Friday, October 5, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

So my family has a really awesome enchilada sauce recipe which makes amazing enchiladas. The only problem with making the enchiladas is it requires you to get pretty messy with dipping the tortillas in the sauce, filling them with whatever meat, cheese and veggies you want; then trying to cook them. I wanted to find a way to make the same amazing taste, with a lot less work so I created this recipe: Enchilada Casserole.

Basically, Enchilada Casserole is lazy enchiladas. Now that I know I can do this instead of prepping the enchiladas into rolls, well I won't be getting messy anymore. Essentially, you layer the Greased/Pam'ed casserole dish with Enchilada Sauce, cooked taco meat (Used 1lb 93/7 ground beef and 1 packet of Old El Paso taco Seasoning, with a cup of chopped onions & red peppers), diced tortillas and shredded cheddar.

For the enchilada sauce, I used my secret family recipe that I will share with you:

Enchilada Sauce
2 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp Flour
2 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Garlic
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Small Can Tomato Sauce (6 oz)
2 Cups Hot Water.

The rest:
1 Pack of Mission Burrito Tortillas (6) chopped
1 lb 93/7 Ground beef (cooked with 1 packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning-chicken can be subbed)
1 cup onions/red peppers (cooked with the ground beef, optional)
1 bag of shredded cheddar

Mix all this into a sauce pan and heat until boil and stir. After boiling, turn down heat to simmer and stir ingredients together until even. Once the sauce is done, go ahead and mix it into the casserole dish with the tortillas, taco meat (w/ onions/peppers cooked) and shredded cheddar. You can layer it however you like, it really doesn't matter but it also looks good to have a layer of cheese on top. Bake uncovered (for crispier top) in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and dish is warmed thoroughly.

Top view before cooking, after cooking it looks the same except the cheese is melted.

Layers of goodness

So the above pictures are what it looks like before it is cooked, I forgot to take a picture of it cooked but it looks the same except the cheese is melted. It is like eating a soft, gooey, cheesy enchilada. This was very popular with the crowd that I had over. The calories I calculated are for a basic batch. My batch above is slightly bigger (more beef and cheese). Some variations you can do would be to use chicken, if you really want to save time, you could substitute 2 cans of chicken so you can skip the meat cooking phase. You can make it spicy by using spicier taco seasoning or hot peppers. This is a great comfort dish for the fall and winter.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sausage and Peppers

Here is another one of my quick, go to recipes. Yes, another sausage recipe. I normally use Kielbasa sausage for this recipe but I happened to have Jalapeno & Cheddar flavored sausages in the fridge, which I thought would work too. Spoiler alert, they worked.

Below are the ingredients

Everything here is optional, especially the Worchestshire, Frank's or the mushrooms.

You can be as simple as just the sausage and birds eye and throw in any seasonings you want. I like mushrooms as they soak up a lot of the juices and add some more texture to the meal. I didn't track the calories on this but this is pretty low calories as most of the calories come from the sausages you choose. Go with a Turkey Kielbasa (100 Calories times 7 Servings) if you want to cut some off the total.

To cook, just cut up the sausages into circles or half circles. Sear them in a pan if you like on medium-medium high for 5 minutes or so. Then add everything else. The birds eye and any sauces you put in will add quite a bit of water so I like to then turn the heat to high to cook out most of the water.

With all the ingredients shown above, cooking on high to cook out the veggie liquids.
I am all about versatility and this recipe is versatile. You can eat it by itself, on a hot dog/brat bun with cheese on it (which I recommend) or on rice or cous cous. You can dice up your own fresh veggies, or you can buy store bought ones (birds eye is like $2-3 dollars and you don't have to spend 10-15 minutes cutting and cleaning veggies). You can make it spicy or salty. This recipe is an absolute must try