Homemade Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie – Comfort Food!

We pretty much all grew up eating Chicken Pot Pies –   usually a frozen one pulled out of the freezer and microwaved for a quick late night meal.  On occasion –  a pan of four or five of them to feed the whole family a dinner when we were just too tired out to cook.

This is a slightly healthier version we think –   and easy to make in the convection oven in most motorhomes or in the oven in the RV.   This is my recipe for  Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, skin and pulled from the bone – chopped into chunks
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 cup chopped baby carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas
  • 1 can Cream Mushroom & Chicken Soup
  • 1 can Cream Mushroom with Roasted Garlic Soup
  • Low salt or salt free Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp Herbed Poultry seasoning
  • Parsley or rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 unbaked deep dish pie crusts

When you have all the ingredients together, start preheating your oven to 425 degrees.    This is also a good time to take one of the pie shells out to let thaw.

IMG_7096Saute onions, carrots and celery in a large pan in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil until tender.    Stir in the frozen peas.    Add chicken and mix well.   Add the soups and stir.   Add Chicken Stock until the consistency you prefer is reached.   Some people like it soupy, others prefer a thicker sauce.   We prefer thicker.   Add the seasonings to taste.    Substitute any fresh herb you prefer.     Let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_7099Fill the thawed pie crust with the pot pie mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_7100

Gently remove the second frozen pie crust from the pan and place upside down on filled pie crust.   Let sit for 10 -15 minutes to thaw and then crimp the edges to seal or use a fork to seal the two crusts together.        Cut vents into the top crust.

 

Bake 30 – 40 minutes at 425 degrees or until crust is golden brown.   During last 15 – 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning.   Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

Get ready for some delicious home made Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie –   One that everyone seems to love!

The finished Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie from RVandMotorhome.com

The finished Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie from RVandMotorhome.com

This recipe makes enough filling for 2 chicken pot pies.    I generally freeze the leftover for later use.    You could make another pot pie or make individual pot pies using large muffin tins or individual crocks lined with pie crust or puff pastry dough.  Another option is to also serve the filling over some egg noodles – almost like Chicken A La King.     Just a very versatile filling!

Because we have a freezer I generally purchase 3 – 4 Rotisserie chickens and remove the skin and bone and chop into chunks.  I then vacuum seal each “chicken” and place in the freezer for future recipes.  You can also substitute any combination of frozen mixed vegetables to suit your tastes.

Enjoy!

 

Exploring around Palatka and Pomona Park, Florida

Hot and humid….     July 13th in central Florida –   so that really should not be a surprise!    The high temperature today made it to 93 degrees –  and with near 100% humidity –   it was one of those hot and sweaty days just right for a little traipsing through the woods and exploring!


Dunns Creek State Park

DunnsCreek-1Driving down US-17 to our campground in Crescent City, Florida, we passed by a turn out sign leading to a “walk-in” entrance for Dunns Creek State Park. Of course we had to go have a look!

Located between Pomona Park and Crescent City on the east side of US-17 –   the entrance we had seen was the trailhead for the Blue Pond and Grass Pond trail.    We pulled in at 8:00 in the morning to try and beat the heat and took off down the 2 mile long yellow trail for what is billed as the main attraction here –   Blue Pond.

DunnsCreek-3The trail surface is nice and wide –   pretty much wide enough for a car the or service vehicle the entire way.     The surface was level and primarily a hard packed sand with lots of old growth canopy trees and Florida Pines creating shade over the trail for us.

As we walked, we saw plenty of tracks –   deer tracks, wild turkey tracks, and raccoon tracks……      A very pleasant area for a very pleasant two mile hike.

Blue Pond at Dunns Creek State Park

Blue Pond at Dunns Creek State Park

The Blue Pond was indeed the highlight –   Stunning reflections across the water with the sky’s reflection making it all look blue.

Looking at the limited brochures available at the trailhead, we saw there was another portion of Dunns Creek State Park located at 320 Sisco Road in Pomona Park.           It was not very easy to find the “main” entrance on Sisco Road –  but we did after looking for a while.    A $5.00 per car entrance fee is collected via drop box at the entrance then there is a nice paved road into the park.

Picnic area at the St Johns River bank in the Dunns Creek State Park main entrance area

Picnic area at the St Johns River bank in the Dunns Creek State Park main entrance area

We drove to the end at a nice picnic area on the St. Johns River.     Other than the picnic area at the end of the road –   there really was not much else in this section of the park.      We stopped and admired two whitetail deer as we slowly drove back  and exited the park.

The Blue Pond Trail section of Dunns Creek State Park is worth the visit if you are looking for a pleasant 2 or 3 mile hike on easy terrain.

 

 

 


Ravine Gardens State Park

Welcome to Ravine Gardens State Park!

Welcome to Ravine Gardens State Park!

Next stop for the day was at Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka.    While relatively small for a state park, the  acreage at Ravine Gardens State Park is packed full of features and  full of trails.   Signs along US-17 driving through Palatka point you off in the direction of it, and it becomes kind of hard to miss the almost “downtown” location of this unique park.

Built as part of the WPA ,Works Progress Administration projects of 1933-1934, the park includes azaleas planted on the banks of the ravine, reflecting ponds, hiking trails, suspension bridges, stone pillars and an obelisk.   The gate was not manned when we arrived, so we paid the $5.00 entrance fee at the dropbox.    After passing the obelisk at the entrance and the stone pillars for each of the states, a large parking area awaits if you want to walk the trail or paved loop around the garden.

The 1.8 mile paved loop around the ravines is open to car traffic –   and we drove it first before walking it.       The paved road is a little narrow for shared use –   in our opinion, it should be closed to vehicular traffic except for handicapped access.     It is a great paved road for walking with fairly limited traffic, and would be great for a short bicycle ride as well.

The longer suspension bridge at Ravine Gardens State Park

The longer suspension bridge at Ravine Gardens State Park

After we drove the loop, we were able to find a map inside the administrative offices at the end of the road loop.   Using the map, we walked back in and walked the Suspension Bridge Trail and the Springs Trail.

The Springs Trail –  like most of this park –  had nice canopy trees to provide shade for the entire duration of our hike.      If the Azaleas were in bloom, it would be spectacular.   Without the blooming flowers, it was simply a nice and slightly different walk from the others we have done recently.

Most of the Springs Trail is a single lane width, and it has some spots with tree roots

The Springs Trail at Ravine Gardens State Park

The Springs Trail at Ravine Gardens State Park

covering the trail and slight inclines.     No major problems, but not as easy as a paved walkway.      All told –   a very nice park with some pleasant walks to be found.    We would return during Azalea season –   January thru March or April to see this park in full bloom.

 


Local Flavor –   Dining at Angel’s Diner 

Billed as the oldest diner in Florida –   We had to at least try eating at Angel’s Dining Car at least once.     Evidently –  it was an old railroad car that was moved on site in 1932 and has been in business ever since.

A step inside and you feel like you are back in the 50’s.      The decor, the tables, the menus, the floor tiles –  just about everything seems to evoke old time Americana.     If you want –  you can opt for  the curb service and stay in your car under the covered carport and order and dine there as well.

We opted for inside –  and had to go with the cheeseburgers and onion rings.   Classic old time diner food.    Hot, juicy, dripping burgers –   good taste and flavor.   Onion rings were delicious –  and so were the fries.    If you make it to Palatka –  you should add Angel’s Dining Car to your list of places to stop!

Vintage 1930's for the interior at Angel's Diner

Vintage 1930’s for the interior at Angel’s Diner

Tasty 1/2 lb cheeseburger and onion rings!

Tasty 1/2 lb cheeseburger and onion rings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


All told –  we have found the Palatka / Pomona Park / Crescent City area of central Florida to be quite pleasant.    Not exactly sure how we ended up here in the middle of July instead of the middle of January –  but except for the heat –  we are liking it here!

 

Home Made Pimento Cheese – Great Pa-menna Cheese!

Really good Pimento Cheese can be hard to find sometimes –   so we just have to make our own.    Some of the grand kids call it Pa-menna Cheese –   we just call it good!

Home Made Pimento Cheese - The ingredients in this batch.......

Home Made Pimento Cheese – The ingredients in this batch…….

The ingredients list –  is relatively simple actually.    Here goes………

  • 4 ounces by weight of softened cream cheese –    we use the low fat Philadelphia whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 a cup of Olive Oil Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon of Grey Poupon Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces –  sharp Cheddar Cheese –  Grated
  • 8 ounces –  another cheese of your taste –   for this batch you can see our block of “Chipolte Jack” cheese we got at the “Taste of Country” store in Odessa, Missouri.   The Taste of Country store is  a great little store that is also the campground office there!
  • One jar (4 ounces)  of Sliced Pimentos –   well drained
  • Last –  but not least –  some finely chopped fresh Dill

First step really is grating the cheese.    I like to grate my cheeses first and then chill them before mixing them with the other ingredients.   Using store bought pre-grated cheese seems to change the texture to me –   and we tend to favor local

The cheese grater getting a workout!

The cheese grater getting a workout!

fresh cheeses when we can.   So –    shred the sharp cheddar cheese, and the other cheese  you want to add and put it in the fridge.    You can even do that the night before if you want!

The rest of the preparation is about as simple as it gets.     Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and pepper in the mixer bowl  and mix until totally combined.     Add the grated cheeses and continue mixing until you have a uniform looking texture.    Give it a taste –  and adjust as desired. A little more cream cheese if you want it creamier, or more mustard, a dash of hot sauce…..      You can even give it a dash of adobo sauce from a can of chipoltes if you like for a  little kick in it!

The finished product.......

The finished product…….

Once you get the taste you want –   cover and into the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours to allow all the ingredients to set together.    Serve as an appetizer or snack on crackers, or stuff some small red peppers or celery stalks.   Pimento cheese is also great in a grilled cheese sandwich –  or instead of sliced cheese on a burger.   I think we might just try it on our own Best Burger Ever – Diet Coke Can Burger the next time we fire up the grill!

An excellent snack!

An excellent snack on some Triscuit Wheat Thins!

 

 

 

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

One of the small towns  along Scenic UT-12 in southwestern Utah is Escalante –   if you are not watching you might pass right through and hardly notice.     This was our destination on June 15th –  starting with a  modest building on the right hand side of the road that is home to the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center –  and serves among other things as the visitor center for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

We stopped in to get the maps and directions to some of the slot canyons we hoped to explore, then headed off for Hole in the Rock road –   the main access road for the National Monument.  Intuitively, I completely expected to enjoy this spot –   especially once we saw the “disclaimer” on one of the trail guides.     It was pretty simple –   “When you embark on a self-directed experience you are accepting that your safety is your sole responsibility.     With greater freedom comes greater responsibility.   Please be prepared and know your limits.”   Edward Abbey would be proud.

We planned on spending the full day here –  travelling Hole-in-the-Rock Road all the way to the end at Lake Powell  and visiting the Devil’s Gardens, Dance Hall Rock and some of the amazing slot canyons along the road and  further in the Monument.    Hole-in-the-Rock road was established by Mormon missionaries in 1879 as a “shortcut” to cross the Colorado River.     The road culminates at Lake Powell –  with a 45 degree ramp down to the water where the missionaries blasted a “hole in the rock” to allow passage.

Officially designated as “Scenic Backway Hole-in-the-Rock Road #200,” the access road is a 57 mile each way dirt road –  with 4 wheel drive required for the last 6 miles –   and posted as “not passable when wet.”     About a mile down the road –  we had already decided it should be renamed as “Scenic Washboard Road #200” instead of Scenic Backway.     This may just be the roughest washboard road we have ever driven on……    Even in the Beast (2014 Dodge 3500 Dually) –   we had a very slow go heading down the road.

The Devil’s Garden

Rock Formations at The Devils Garden in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Rock Formations at The Devil’s Garden in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

A little over 12 miles down on Scenic Washboard Road –   we found the turnoff leading to the parking area for the Devil’s Garden.    Even after seeing rocks and more rocks and more rocks for the last six weeks as we explored Moab and southern Utah, the formations at the Devil’s Garden were still intriguing and enchanting.

Disney Looking characters peering over the desert......

Disney Looking characters peering over the desert……

The multi-colored formations in some areas almost look like dressed characters from a Disney childrens film.      The natural sandstone formations include pillars, the characters, and even some arches and caves to explore.

Sandstone Arch at Devils Garden

Sandstone Arch at Devil’s Garden

It is a lovely spot to explore –  and we spent almost two hours just marveling at all the different formations and our interpretations of them.

Picnic tables with shade and a primitive toilet facility are located at the parking area for this site –   so consider bringing a lunch and enjoying the spot even more!

Next stop on our itinerary for the day –    The Twenty Mile Wash Dinosaur Track Site.

 

 

 

Twenty Mile Wash Dinosaur Track Site

Following the map to this location was relatively easy –     1.6 miles south of the turn off for the Devil’s Garden, then 2.4 miles west on Collet Top Road to the track site.     One of our guidebooks for this area refers to it as the Twentymile Wash Dinosaur Megatrackway –    and stated that it’s easy to locate the tracks……    well………

Marvelous slickrock formations at the Twenty Mile Wash Dinosaur Track site

Marvelous slickrock formations at the Twenty Mile Wash Dinosaur Track site

We found the site –  and the very small parking area –  identified by a very small cardboard sign requesting we help protect the tracks by not walking in them.     We set off to explore the massive slickrock formation with the tracks.

15-June-16--7We hiked it from end to end and from top to bottom.     After an hour of exploration –    we could not positively say we had seen any dinosaur tracks.     Lots of impressions in the rock surface, but we had no way of knowing if that was a footprint or not.    Other locations we have visited have had clearly identifiable footprints –   to us –   this location did not.

We enjoyed the expanse of slickrock, the views,  and everything about it –   but are not sure if we saw the actual footprints.   Although we are huge fans of the “on your own” approach to exploring this monument –   it would have been nice to have some type of mapping or interpretation of what we were seeing.

With the condition of Hole-in-the-Rock Road –   we abandoned our plan to explore it to the end.     We just did not want to punish The Beast with the 114 total miles of washboard road that would involve.      We changed our plan and headed off for a neighboring state park –   Utah’s Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park

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The small Kodachrome Basin State Park is the location of unusual sandstone pipes or fingers rising up toward the sky.    Over 67  of these formations rise between 6 and 170 feet toward the stars.

 

15-June-16--8The area got the Kodachrome nickname from a National Geographic article in 1949 where the then experimental Kodachrome film was used to capture the rich colors of the rock formations.    The name has stuck –   and the colors are every bit as stunning today.

 

 

We hiked the very pleasant and short nature trail near one of the two campgrounds in the park.    The 1/2 mile trail was very well marked with informative signage and was easy to walk for all ages.       We moved The Beast to the parking area closer to the entrance and hiked a good portion of the 3 mile Panorama Loop Trail.

Kodachrome Basin was a  very pleasant stop with it’s own unique scenery worth visiting.    The trails we explored were easy and fun walks and a great way to end a day as the sun was setting.

Admission to the park is $8.00 per vehicle.    Two campgrounds with limited facilities are available within the park.   Generator use is restircted to Noon- 4:00 PM daily.

 

 

The Weber Propane Grill – Maybe the Best Grill Ever for a Motorhome?

We might be stirring up a hornet’s nest by saying this may be the best grill ever for a motorhome –  but it sure seems like it to us.    Everyone gets to have an opinion, so here is why we think that.

We have to confess to being somewhat of grill snobs…..    at our home, we have  a MagiCater commercial grade stainless steel grill that is a dream grill for the avid propane grill enthusiast.     When we decided to hit the road –  I really wanted to bring it along –  but it simply is not a practical thing to do.     With the stand –  it probably weighs in at 200 lbs –  and it is giant!

We briefly flirted with the idea of having a smaller version of the MagiCater custom built to serve the RV market.     Our market research quickly indicated that custom made commercial grills were not going to be a business success –  so we abandoned that idea rather quickly.

We started pouring through reviews on all the RV and Motorhome websites trying to find out what everyone else was using and why.   Looking around campgrounds, we seemed to see two primary ones in use –   the Coleman RoadTrip and the Weber Q series.    We talked to some of the other campers to find out what they did and didn’t like about their grills.   Ultimately, for us –  the Weber Q grill won our business.

The complete setup out and working tonight!

The complete setup out and working tonight!

We got the Weber Q 2200 grill –  and we got the portable stand for it to sit on.   The Q2200 is the big brother of the Weber Q 1000 –      which is a slightly smaller version.     Officially –  the Q2200 has 280 square inches of cooking area, while the Q1000 has 189 square inches.     Other than that –   both of the grills have an identical design.   When we pull out the grill –  which is quite frequent –  we are generally cooking for at least 4 adults.   The larger cooking area made sense to us.

The portable stand fits both the Q2200 and the Q1000.     With a stand that collapses down for storage and allows you to roll the grill around when it is setup, the lightweight stand works perfectly for us.

Besides the stand –  we got two other components for the grill that we pretty much consider essentials –     an Adapter Hose  and external propane tank.    The adapter hose  allows external propane tanks to be hooked up to the grill –   and we chose a  10 pound external tank for ours.

The external tank and Weber adapter hose - pretty much essentials for us.

The external tank and Weber adapter hose – pretty much essentials for us.

It seemed like we went through the small disposable canisters at an alarmingly fast rate –  and that we ran out halfway through every other meal.  We originally bought two of the external tanks, but with the ready availability of propane, we now only carry the one tank and two small cylinders for “emergency” use.    We have refilled the 10 pounder twice in 18 months!   We have considered adding a “port” to the motorhome propane system to allow us to plug in there for our propane for the grill –   Maybe that will be another post in the coming months.

After 18 months of use –   some of the things we love about the Weber Grill are:

  • Big work area –  the large black work tables on either side fold inside the grill cover for travel and transport, and open up to provide a large work area…
  • Easy Clean Up –   The non-stick grates work very well –  and the grill uses a disposable aluminum grease trap pan at the bottom.      After 5 or 6 uses –  we discard the aluminum pan and replace it.    We have also found that pressure washing the entire inside of the grill once a month keeps it looking like new and removes all the caked on grease from the inside.
  • Cooking –    reasonably even heat throughout the cooking area, and reasonably hot surface.     I did not expect to be impressed with this grill –  and I have been!
  • Easy Parts Availability –   Have not needed any replacement parts yet –  but Amazon seems to have every component for it ready for “Prime” shipment.
  • It just works –   18 months in –  and we set it up, turn on the gas, and hit the igniter button.    Away it goes.
  • Portability –    Lightweight and compact –    does not take up that much space.      Optional stand works great –  but it is optional.    If we are only in a spot for one night –  we just set the grill on a picnic table to cook.

All told –   we simply can’t find anything about the Weber grills to fault them.     And tonight –  it was a vegetarian feast on the grill!

Vegetable Ka-bobs and fresh sweet corn on the grill tonight!

Vegetable Kabobs and fresh sweet corn on the grill tonight!

 

 

 

Pizza Dough in the Bread Machine – Just right for us!

About a week ago we did a post on the great homemade pizza’s we like to make on the propane grill we carry in the motorhome.    If you missed that post –  you can find it here  or by selecting the Great Food menu tab at the top of the page and then the Recipes tab.    A couple of posts back and you’ll find the full Pizza on the Grill write up.

Two at one time.......

Two at one time…….

In the earlier post, we promised another post with the recipe for making the pizza dough in the bread machine –  and here it is.

This is basically a very simple recipe –  and will make enough dough for two 12″ pizzas –   just like we showed in the post.    Ingredients are as follows:

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil -we sometimes use Garlic Infused Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Yeast

Now –  it is time to check with your bread machine’s manual to confirm how they recommend putting in the ingredients.     We use the Oster Bread Machine –  it has worked perfect for us not only for pizza dough, but for making rye breads, Italian breads, and lots of tasty raisin breads as well.   While we were initially skeptical about the amount of space it takes up –   it has earned a spot on our bus.     On a cold night –  it is so nice to come in and smell the fresh bread baking.    Even on a warm night –   it is so nice to come in and smell the fresh bread baking.

In the Oster Bread Machine –  All the liquid ingredients go in first –    the water and the EVOO.       Then the salt gets added, the flour, and a small impression in the flour get’s the yeast.

Start the dough cycle, and let the machine do it’s magic!      An hour and a half later –    you have pizza dough ready to go.    We then sprinkle about a half tablespoon of cornmeal on each pizza pan, divide the dough in half, and pat it out by hand to make the two 12″ pizza crusts.

Fresh made dough spread on to a pan and lightly rubbed with oil

Fresh made dough spread on a 12″ pan and lightly rubbed with oil.    One of two from the Pizza Dough Recipe

Try it –   you’ll like it!

 

 

Exploring around Lincoln, Nebraska

With only a day and a half to explore Lincoln, we had to pick and choose what to do here.    The State Capitol was definitely on the list, as well as the Sunken Gardens, and the American Speed Museum.   We got all of them in –  as well as some “fine” dining to boot!


The Sunken Gardens

Food-72Located at the corner of 27th Street and D Street in Lincoln, the Sunken Gardens are part of the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department.    Although small at 1.5 acres, the park packs a lot of fascinating plants, design, and walking paths in this relatively small space.    Listed as one of the “300 Best Gardens to Visit in the United States and Canada” by National Geographic Guide to Public Gardens, we had to put this on our stop and visit list.

Originally completed during the peak of the great depression, the park itself was a public works project of sorts to allow the unemployed of the time to work at least two days a week doing the the construction on the park.

A major renovation in 2005 made the entire park handicap accessible, and replaced the fountain and upgraded the stunning Koi Ponds.     If you like botanical gardens and flowering plants of all types –  you will enjoy the peaceful oasis of the Sunken Gardens in the center of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Gazebo roof at Sunken Gardens

Gazebo roof at Sunken Gardens

Diasy's blooming.....

Daisies  blooming…..

 

Water Lilies in the one of the Koi Ponds

Water Lilies in the one of the Koi Ponds

 


Nebraska State Capitol

We always try to stop and visit State Capitol buildings whenever we can.   They seem to express some of the personality of each of the states –  and Nebraska’s was no exception.

Nebraska Statre Capitol Building

Nebraska State Capitol Building

Visible from just about anywhere in Lincoln –  the State Capitol building here is punctuated with a large 14 story New York  skyscraper  style  high rise with a dome on top.     While we are used to Capitol buildings generally being big domed structures –  this one is indeed a little different.      More of a skyscraper than a traditional dome –  the capitol does indeed stand out –  and this was one of the goals of the original architects from where else –  New York.

The building is readily accessible and open to the public seven days a week.    Daily schedule of hours is available at the official website for the Nebraska State Capital.   Guided tours are available every hour while the building is open.

We arrived a little early for the guided tour –  so we jumped the elevator to the 14th floor observation deck level to see the panorama of the city of Lincoln.    It was worth

Train Depot - Lincoln, NE

Train Depot – Lincoln, NE

the look!   The absolutely massive train depot was simply spectacular from this vantage point.

We got back down to the main level and our 30 minute guided tour was ready to go.    The tour guided us primarily through the main level of the Capitol Building –  explaining the history, architecture, and philosophical designs of the building.

June23-3

 

 

Many of the intricate designs and artworks throughout the building would be missed without the benefit of the guided tour.     We would highly recommend planning on arriving to coincide with a guided tour start.   If you arrive early –  you can always do the 14th floor observation points, visit the Capitol Building gift shop, or get a snack or drink from the vending areas or cafeteria.         All told –  it was well worth the visit.   Our initial impression of slightly institutional from the lower level was over shadowed by the highlights of the upper levels.      While parking is a little tight in the capital neighborhood, it was worth the extra effort to find parking and walk to the building.


Billy’s

If you make it to the Capitol Building –  and it is around lunch or dinner time – you might want to stop by Billy’s for a meal.    We stumbled on this place walking from our parking spot to the Capitol.     Housed in the Noble-Dawes House built in 1887, the location and structure alone make it worth visiting.     It is directly across the street and one block down from the Capitol Building grounds.

We asked the locals in the Capitol about it –  and they highly recommended it.    After our lunch there –  we can now highly recommend it as well!     Nice food, elegantly prepared, and a grand mix of atmosphere and history combine to make it a culinary delight.


Nebraska Governor’s Residence

Directly across the street from the Capital is the very stately looking Georgian Revival style Governor’s Residence.     As we passed by it walking to the Capitol Building, we saw a small sign indicating tours available on Thursdays from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM.    As luck would have it –  it was a Thursday and we had just left Billy’s Restaurant at 12:45 PM   –   a short walk and we were in the short line to take the tour.

Nebraska Governor's Mansion

Nebraska Governor’s Mansion

 

The 40 minute free tour covers the basement and ground floor level of the residence.    The reception room, dining rooms, heritage rooms, and Governor’s office were included on the tour.      Another refreshing dose of Nebraska history added to our day!

Reception Area at Nebraska Governor's Residence

Reception Area at Nebraska Governor’s Residence

It was a very pleasant tour which lasted about 35 minutes.    Would we make  a special trip to see it?  Probably not.    Was it worth doing since we happened to be in the right place at the right time?   Absolutely!

Now –  it’s off to the races……..

 

 

 

 

 

 


Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed

June23-5

 

Overwhelming may be the best word to describe the Museum of American Speed.     You name it –  from Dirt Track to Indy Car, from pedal cars to funny cars –  the Museum of American Speed simply has it all.    Located next to Speedway Motors massive facility, the museum is open Monday-Friday from  noon to 4:30 PM during the May-September season.   During the off season –  it is open only on Fridays from noon-4:30 PM.

With three floors of exhibits covering 150,000 square feet –  it did almost feel overwhelming.     Every June23-7corner you turn holds another treasure for the car or nostalgia buff.    Every conceivable era of car is represented, and over 600 engines are on display.

If you are a car buff –   you should have this on your bucket list.     It is well worth the time to stop and visit.    Admission is $10 for seniors, $15 for adults.     The museum is located at 599 Oak Creek Drive, Lincoln, NE 68528  and parking for RV’s is available at the museum.

June23-6


Last Stop of the Day

June23-9

 

Our Roadside America app pointed this one out to us –   and since we were in the neighborhood –  we had to give it a try as well.    Who knew?

Just quirky enough to be fun –  the National Museum of Roller Skating  is in the back half of the office building for USA Roller Sports.     It does indeed have a fun collection of historical skating memorabilia –  but my personal favorites were the two sets of gas powered skates and the Roller Derby displays.

The National Museum of Roller Skating is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM –  and located at 4730 South St, Lincoln, NE 68506   Free admission –  easy parking –  and fun!    Can’t ask for much more than that to cap off a wonderful whirlwind day exploring Lincoln, Nebraska.

Not sure why we never made it to Nebraska in the past, but suspect we will be back again before to  long.    Lots more to see here.    For now though, we are heading out on the road for a few days –  repositioning to Gulfport, Mississippi for a few days then east to Florida.     While we will try not to bore you with the mile by mile details  –  if we have any major fun or great food –  we’ll drop in another post.

Competition for the Greatest Burger Ever – The Diet Coke Can Burger

It’s going to sound like Pizza and Burgers are all we eat –  and that’s not quite true.     We might just have a real passion for amazing  burgers and darn good pizza though……

Even with the recent review we posted raving about the amazing burgers we got at Honest Abe’s Burgers & Freedom, we made some pretty incredible ones of our own on the Weber Grill last week.      We recently modified a recipe to fit our tastes for some incredible burgers –  and here it is with pictures.

The ingredients to make four burgers are as follows:

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or ground chuck
  • 1 pound of turkey bacon
  • Sliced Jalapeños
  • Sautéed Onions or Raw Onions
  • Cheese Mix –     for ours we used:
    • 1/3 cup of Philadelphia Reduced Fact Whipped Cream Cheese
    • 1/3 cup of Kraft Italian Cheese Blend
    • 1/3 cup of Kraft Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
    • 1/3 cup of Four Queso Blend Cheese

To make some darn good burgers…………

Cheese Mix Ingredients

Cheese Mix Ingredients

 

 

Step 1 –    Mix the Cheese Mix ingredients together in a bowl and put them in the refrigerator while you do the rest of the steps.     You need the whipped cream cheese and at least one other cheese –   but the exact types can be varied to meet your taste.    You need roughly 1/3 cup of cheese per burger –   so adjust the cheese mix accordingly.

 

 

 

 

Forming the burger patties and creating the cheese "cup"

Forming the burger patties and creating the cheese “cup”

 

Step 2 –   Divide the ground beef in four fairly equal parts of about 6 ounces each.      You can season the ground beef as desired prior to dividing.     Form in the shape of a patty, then using the bottom of a coke can or similar, form a depression in the meat patty.

 

 

 

 

Wrapping with Bacon - Turkey Bacon in our case!

Wrapping with Bacon – Turkey Bacon in our case!

 

 

Step 3 –   Wrap each patty with two strips of bacon to act sort of as retaining walls for the fillings.    After wrapping – use toothpicks to hold the bacon in place.

Note that regular bacon can be used in lieu of the turkey bacon.

 

 

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Step 4 –   Add 1/4th of the cheese mixture to the center of the burger, then add toppings as desired.       This one gets a liberal dose of sliced jalapeños!

Sautéed onions are also delicious to add at this step, or even raw onions depending on your tastes!

 

 

Super Dave gets them grilling!

Super Dave gets them grilling!

 

 

Step 5 –    Super Dave gets them on the Weber Q2200 Grill.    With the cheese centers on these –  they can’t be flipped over, so a medium heat with the grill top down works best.   We always do these on a grill mat on top of the grill to help keep the juices in for a more flavorful burger.    You don’t have to use one, but we find it eliminates sticking and makes the burgers even juicier.

 

 

 

 

 

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Step 6 –     After about 10 – 12 minutes of cooking –  the bacon is getting just right and the ground beef is cooked through.   The cheese has melted down a little into the beef.   Everything is looking just right!      The buns go on the grill for a light toasting and it’s time to serve it all up.

 

 

 

Finished Product

Finished Product

The finished product –    perfect ground beef, gooey cheese, jalapeños (on this one at least!), and turkey bacon.    All the pieces come together into the perfect picnic burger for us.    Kind of like a stuffed burger –   only sunny side up!

We do like the stuffed burgers as well, and will do a post on those one of these days. The beauty of the can burger is that you can get even more stuffed inside than you can with a traditional burger stuffer.    Something different –  and worth giving a try!

 

 

Outstanding Burgers – Honest Abe’s Burgers & Freedom – Lincoln, NE

When our travels bring us to a restaurant that makes all four of us go – Wow! –   we want to let the world know in case you happen to be in the same neighborhood.    It doesn’t happen very often –  but when it does –   we will let you know!

Tonight just happened to be one of those nights where we found one of those amazing burger joints –    Honest Abe’s Burgers & Freedom in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Food-23

Located in a very plain and simple strip mall, almost hidden behind other stores, the marquee simply reads “Honest Abe’s” in bold black letters across the top.    It’s a one and only restaurant –  not a chain or a franchise –  and maybe that’s what make it so good.     Their very simple website says “We make honest burgers for honest people. Get off the internet and come find out for yourself.”    That may be very good advice if you are in the neighborhood and if you are hungry!

The menu is fairly simple and fairly straightforward –   about a dozen different types of burgers and two different types of fries.    Our group of four had……..

  • The Italian Job –   a 6 ounce patty with oven roasted tomatoes, basil pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a balsamic mayo;
  • The Fireside –  a 6 ounce patty with jalapeños, bacon, pepper jack cheese, toasted cumin and lime mayo, Sriracha ketchup, and romaine lettuce;
  • The Greatest Burger Ever –   a 6 ounce patty with bacon, grilled onions, American cheese, awesome sauce, ketchup and romaine;
  • The United States of America –  a 6 ounce patty with red onions, pickles, ketchup, american cheese, and romaine.

Of course –  we had to try both the fries and the parmesan truffle fries.

Everything we had –   all four burgers and both orders of fries –  were outstanding.     The burgers were juicy and flavorful and true two hand burgers.    The hand cut fries were great –  and the parmesan truffle fries added flavor without being overpowering.     Overall –  an excellent dinner stop for the burger aficionado.   Super Dave –  our true burger fanatic of the bunch –  said “lots of places claim to have the greatest burger ever –   this place is definitely in the running!”

If your are ever in Lincoln, Nebraska –  we all highly recommend it.

Things to know before you go:

Address:  840 N 70th St Lincoln, NE 68505 –  Apple Maps Directions work just fine to find it

Hours:    Monday-Thursday –   11:00 AM – 9:00 PM,   Friday-Saturday –    11:00 AM –  10:00 PM, Closed Sunday’s

Cost:   Expect to spend $10 – $12 per person

 

Parmesan Truffle Fries with a Fireside Burger

Parmesan Truffle Fries with a Fireside Burger

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The "Greatest Burger Ever" - Delicious!

The “Greatest Burger Ever” – Delicious!

 

Filling in the Blanks – Nebraska

Circling Around Nebraska......

Circling Around Nebraska……

Not by design…. but in 18 months and 17,000 miles, we have somehow managed to completely miss Nebraska.     Yes –   we still have a few states in the Pacific Northwest to fill in –   and a couple in New England to fill in.    It just doesn’t seem possible though that we have gone over and under and around Nebraska and never spent a night in Nebraska.   Never even driven through it in the RV or Motorhome for that matter.

We decided to change that on our way to Florida this time – so…….      We left Utah and headed north to Wyoming then east right into Nebraska.

  • Monday  –   Cedar City, Utah to Rock Springs, Wyoming.
  • Tuesday –  Rock Springs, Wyoming  to Sidney, Nebraska
  • Wednesday –   Sidney, Nebraska to Lincoln, Nebraska

In Rock Springs, we had a pleasant overnight at the Rock Springs / Green River KOA.   Perfectly nice stop and exactly fit the need we had for a clean, quiet place to stop overnight.

Then –  onwards –  and finally –

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Tuesday night –   in Sidney, Nebraska.       We have found that campgrounds are a little scarcer in this part of the country.    Approaching Sidney –  there are really very few campgrounds available.     We did find the Cabela’s / Good Sam Club.    The good news –  it’s a very nice campground and a great spot for an overnight stay.  The bad news –  they don’t take reservations – and generally can’t even tell you if there is room available if you call.    You just have to drive in and look for a site.   If a site is available –  you park there then go to the store and pay.   Nothing available –  head back to I-80 and keep on rolling.

We were lucky –   we rolled in around 4:30 PM and found sites big enough for our rigs.   The price was right about $35 for a full hookup site.   To make it better though –  go to the Cabela’s store to register –  apply for the Cabela’s visa card –

Welcome to Nebraska - and to the Cabela's Store in Sidney!

Welcome to Nebraska – and to the Cabela’s Store in Sidney!

and the campground stay is free –  even if you are turned down for the credit card.    15 minutes later –   free ball cap in hand –  and complimentary campsite in hand –   we did a little shopping at the store and called it a night.

I-80 has extensive construction going on this summer.    It will be a very nice road by this time next year –  but for this year –  plan on mile after mile of road construction on the way across the state.    On the good side –  we really had no delays at all associated with the construction.   Traffic was light enough and just kept on moving right through it.

 

 

Easy run through mile after mile of farm fields and into Lincoln, Nebraska.   Found a great campsite at Camp-A-Way in Lincoln.     Spacious sites in the trees –  yet convenient to all of Lincoln it appears.     We’ve got a day and half to do some basic exploring here in Lincoln –  and looking forward to it!

Our first sunset in Nebraska....

Our first sunset in Nebraska….