Randel Cooks

Midwest Home Chef

World Best Dressing

Image result for thanksgiving dressing

place in large bowl

2 32 oz. turkey broth

2 loaves dried bread or about 15 cups

1 tube 16 oz. Bob Evans sausage naturally

1 t sage or more if you enjoy

1 t onion powder

1/2 stalk celery (yes a lot of celery)

1 flavor packet ( vegetable stalk)

stir to combine

salt and pepper to taste

3 eggs lightly whisked

mix to combine

grease 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish with butter


@ 350 cook to 165 degrees approximately 90 minutes


Great Little Grill

Sunbeam® 2 Slice Panini Maker – CKSBPM5020

First I should mention that I have three, outdoor stainless steel grill, two bbq smokers, using either wood, gas and/or charcoal.  I have been a bbq chef for years creating amazing vegetables and meat such as bbq beef, chicken, pork, and turkey, even pizza.  But due to the ongoing debate on carcinogens and grilling/bbq, I started to look for other options after kidney, bone, throat, colon and other cancers has effected our family and friends.  This is the amazing grill we are now using and my quick review.

 Sunbeam Panini Maker (Target)

Sunbeam Panini Maker (Amazon)

First this is a inexpensive grill (~$25) that functions like the expensive ones.  It heats very quickly and cooks food with wonderful grill marks in minutes, but more on that later.  Wonderful to use to cook hamburger, steaks, fish, pork chops, bacon, grilled cheese (paninis), and to warm or toast crusty bread with dinner.  So good in fact I did not use my outdoor grills all summer.  I buy some expensive bread at Jungle Jims from Blue Oven Bakery throw it in the freezer so it will last and bring it out and warm on the grill with amazing results. So the grill is a great grill replacement and oh yeah it is a good panini press as well.  LOL

Second this grill should not be unattended, just turn it on, wait for a few seconds then throw on the food.  Initially, I use an infrared thermometer to make sure it is not too hot or not to cold … just right.  During our initial trials I preheated too long once created a small spot on the grill, still functioning but nonstick was discolored.  Only clean with a cloth, don’t use any harsh brushes as this can damage the non stick surface.

Finally the only improvement would be that the grooves to be just a little deeper, since the juice can dam up and steam the meat not grill the meat.  But if you make sure the juice is running through the slits and into the front gutter and out the side then all is ok.  I add elevation to the back leg opposite the gutter outlet with a hotpad to make sure all is working fine.

Tortilla Pancakes

Makes 10 tortilla pancakes
3 eggs
1 ½ C milk
1/2 C + 2 T masa harina
¼ C + 2 T all purpose flour
½ t fine sea salt
3 T melted butter

Place all of the crepe ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice as needed. Pour this into a liquid measuring cup or bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes before using. Makes about 2 2/3 cup batter. Heat an 8­inch skillet (nonstick works well here) over medium high heat. I spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray before making each crepe. Stir the batter well, and then using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out enough batter to almost fill the measuring cup, but not quite. When your pan is quite hot, slowly pour the crepe batter into the pan, swirling it around to completely cover the bottom of the pan. With this amount of batter, it will take a few more swirls than a traditional crepe, but once the batter is no longer swirling and the top looks almost dry, set the pan back on the burner for about a minute to cook the bottom. Use a spatula to loosen the edges and release the crepe. Flip it over and continue cooking for another 20 to 30 seconds. Flip it out onto a plate and cover with a clean towel. Continue making the rest of the crepes, stacking them on top of each other and keeping them covered. Use in your favorite enchilada recipe, but they also make great quesadillas.

Funnel Cake

Kids loved “homemade” funnel cakes!

Coconut oil in the fry daddy

Mix together the following:

2 eggs
2 1/2 C Flour
1/3 t Salt
2 2/3 T Sugar
1 1/3 Baking Powder
1 1/3 Milk

Add more milk if needed.

Consistency needs to flow through a funnel into hot oil using a spider web patter. 

Use 1 Cup of batter per funnel cake and pour batter into hot oil.

Brown cake on both sides

Dust with powered sugar.

Optional Toppings:

Cinnamon Sugar
Apple Pie Filling
Cherry Pie Filling

Makes 5 cakes.

Ratio – Larger Batch

3 eggs
1/4 C sugar
2 C milk
3 2/3 C flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder

Ratio – Smaller Batch

1 eggs
1 1/3 T sugar
2/3 C milk
1 1/4 C flour
1/6 t salt
1 t baking powder

Flour Tortilla Batter

3 eggs

1 cup of milk

1 tsp salt ( iodized)

2 cups of AP flour

Combine all ingredients till smooth batter forms.

Heat a large pan to med-low to med, very lightly grease the pan ( I used “PAM”)

pour 1/3 cup batter into pan and rotate pan to cover the bottom of the pan as even as possible.

Cook for about 2-3 minutes until firm, and flip.

cook on the other side for about 1-2 minutes then remove from pan.

Pullman loaf

This bread was awesome!

Pullman loaf
5 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

3 tablespoons honey

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

25 to 30 minutes 425°F


  1. Combine all of the ingredients, and mix and knead — using your hands, a mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to form a smooth, soft dough.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise until puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
  3. Lightly grease a 13″ pain de mie pan. Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, shape it into a 13″ log, and fit it into the pan. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until it’s just below the lip of the pan, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen (it may rise even more slowly in a cool kitchen; don’t worry, this long rise will give it great flavor). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Remove the plastic, and place the cover on the pan. Bake the bread for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully remove the lid, and return the bread to the oven to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until it tests done; a digital thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.
  7. Store, wrapped, at room temperature for 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


Beautiful Burger Buns

Wonderful Huge Buns

Beautiful Burger Buns

3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water*

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon instant yeast

*For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate); and something in between the rest of the time.

375°F oven for 15 to 18 minute

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough.
  2. Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball; flatten to about 3″ across. Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.
  4. Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter.
  5. Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. This will give the buns a satiny, buttery crust.
  6. Cool the buns on a rack.
  7. Yield: 8 large buns.



Pork Gyro Recipe

How to Make an Authentic Greek Gyro

Lead Shot


I got so used to eating the darn things that I needed to figure out a way to make them on my own at home. After doing a bit of research, I found that a famous chef and a well-respected website had already covered the topic in great detail.

Traditionally, multiple cuts of pork are skewered together and slow-cooked, and finally charred on the rotisserie. In order to get that same texture and feel, I went back and forth to find the right cut of pork to put on a skewer, finally settling on pork tenderloin. Though it’s the most expensive of all pork cuts, it really takes well to the marinade and results in a tender, flavorful meat.

Sliced and stuffed into a warmed pita and topped with homemade tzatziki and other accoutrements, I promise you will soon feel painfully full in the best way possible.

Pork + Marinade

Skewered and Sliced

Serves 4


  • 1 8oz. pork tenderloin, silver skin removed and cut into 1.5″ chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ Tbsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Wooden skewers


  1. Combine all ingredients (except the skewers, of course) into a ziplock bag, seal, and marinate in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, skewer pork pieces together. Be sure not to overcrowd the skewers, as the meat will steam instead of char. You want to give a bit of space between each cut to ensure it takes on the maximum flavor during the grilling process.
  3. Place skewers on grill and cook for 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and tent with foil for 10 minutes to rest.
  4. Remove meat from skewers and slice as thin as possible for assembly.

The acidity from the yogurt and lemon juice really help to make a tender cut like pork tenderloin even more perfect. With the addition of some herbs and the overnight marinade, this meat will take on all the traditional flavors that you’ve come to love from a traditional gyro.

Tzatziki Sauce

A gyro ain’t a gyro without a great tzatziki. This yogurt sauce is infused with plenty of garlic and cucumber and is not only absolutely addictive, but healthy to boot. Try it as a dip for vegetables, on a baked potato, or basically any cut of grilled protein. I’ve simplified my version to the very basics, but you can always amp up the flavor of this sauce with fresh chopped mint should you choose.


  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


Combine ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until evenly incorporated. Serve immediately or keep cold until ready. Keeps for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. (I’d advise adding the garlic last minute if not serving immediately.)

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