Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Food – Creations plus Misc. Dining Experiences

Food/restaurants, historical places, railroads/railroad depots…these are definitely my primary reoccurring themes for my blog site.  From time to time I also throw in some animal photos, scenery, works of art/museums, family posts, old automobiles and airplanes, as well as boats and ships.

However I do believe that the food and restaurants theme is right at the top of my list when it comes to posts on this blog site.  What the heck!  That food focus may explain why my ‘handle’ is Big Daddy Dave!

This post contains some homemade food ‘creations’ as well as a couple of miscellaneous food items that we indulged in over the past couple of months…

This is the menu at our local ice cream parlor.  The Tic Toc Ice Cream Parlor is our favorite place for rich and cream laden ice cream.  As you can see if you enlarge the menu, they offer a plethora of the usual favorites as well as a few interesting flavor variations…

Usually we both have milk shakes…vanilla for me with Laurie being a bit more experimental.  However this time, we both ordered a 2-scoop dish of ice cream, each with 2 different flavors for our enjoyment!

The Tic Toc Ice Cream Parlor is located at 504 Grove Street, (at the corner of Grove Street and US Hwy. 11 in downtown Loudon Tennessee.  Phone: 865-408-9867.  On Tic Toc is rated as the #1 ‘restaurant’ in Loudon!

Very little food goes to waste in our house.  Sooner or later, 99% of our leftovers as well as miscellaneous cans and bags of food are consumed in one way or another…

Laurie created this casserole for us one night.  We had a can of Kirkland Chicken that we had in the pantry for a long time.  So using the canned chicken as a base, Laurie added a big can of cream of chicken soup, spiced it up, and then combined it with a mix of penne pasta and shells from partial boxes.  To provide texture and a bit of ‘crunch’, she crumbled up some remnant garlic pretzel thins and garlic croutons as the topping to the casserole… This was pure comfort food!  

Of course we couldn’t eat that big casserole all in one sitting.  I’m always looking for something I can drop a couple of over-easy eggs on top of for my breakfast!  Yum!

On another morning I was ‘forced’ to re-purpose a breaded and fried pork tenderloin…

So I added a bit of sharp cheddar cheese over the top of the pork tenderloin…

…and then of course I dropped 2 easy-over eggs on top!  After taking the photo, I then doused this breakfast treat with Tabasco.

Enough about breakfast for the moment… How about another experiment for dinner?  We looked at our leftovers to see what we had to work with.  There were a couple of kielbasa sausages and a couple of slices of cooked bacon.  I heated them in grapeseed oil… (Note: I do all the ‘frying’ in this household)

Once the protein was ready, Laurie put together an experimental marinara sauce.  She added a can of Roma tomatoes (crushed) and a jar of marinara to the meat.  Then lots of garlic, (dried flakes and granules), red pepper flakes, pepper and onion flakes were blended into the sauce.

Laurie isn’t a real fan of most marinara sauce, but she liked this one!  Note the mix of penne pasta and macaroni…no waste!  I did too, plus there was enough meat in the mix to satisfy a true carnivore like myself.  Of course there were leftovers and they provided a couple of lunches later in the week… 

There is nothing like a great sandwich! (…except for a great breakfast!) In any case, I put this creation together for lunch one day.  A King’s Hawaiian hamburger bun was fried/toasted in butter in a frying pan.  Then I added Costco’s deli ham slices, a couple slices of leftover bacon and a couple slices of sharp cheddar cheese.  For a little spice instead of my usual Tabasco, I used Wasabi on one side of the bun… I was a happy camper for sure!

Another day…and another breakfast.  This time I had 3 little leftover boneless pork chops.  Add a little shredded cheddar cheese and 2 over-easy eggs and I was good to go!

Yes…this is another breakfast creation.  We’d purchased a package of chicken/kale/mozzarella burgers at Costco.  We had a couple for dinner but there was one left over.  I reheated the chicken patty.  It had melted ‘fried’ cheese on top.  I’d fried/toasted a King’s Hawaiian burger bun in butter.  Then I added 1 slice and a half of mozzarella cheese and placed the chicken patty on top.

You knew the rest of this presentation before you even looked at this photo!  Two easy-over eggs capped off this breakfast creation.  The eggs worked very well with the chicken/kale/mozzarella patty and that sweet Hawaiian burger bun!

That’s enough about breakfast… 

Laurie created this casserole for a dinner party we had at our home.  She significantly modified a “No Peek Chicken” recipe that she found on line.
A family size can of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup, a small can of Campbell’s cream of celery soup, 2 boxes of Uncle Ben’s long grain and wild rice, a packet of Lipton Onion Dip mix and 1.75 cups of water were mixed and spread out in the bottom of a large baking pan.  Then, on top of the mixture, she placed 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs and topped each of them with paprika as well as 4 diagonally sliced mild Johnsonville Italian Sausages.  She covered it with foil and baked it at 350 degrees for 2 hours. (No Peeking!)

As per our guests, this No Peek Chicken Casserole was a winner!

A few days later, we stopped to have dinner at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria in Maryville Tennessee before we took Dawn Marie to the airport. 
I’d already posted a blog on our first trip to Barley’s so this is a follow-up.  We decided to try a couple different items this time.  Laurie went for the ‘wrap special’. ($9.00) This wrap was packed full of chicken, spinach, artichoke hearts, feta cheese and tomatoes.  Laurie really liked it!

Dawn Marie and I decided to share a medium 14” pizza. ($17.00)  We thought that it was appropriately named… It’s the “Big Daddy” meat pizza and it was loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham and beef.  This was as good a pizza as I’ve had in East Tennessee!  There wasn’t too much sauce and it wasn’t sweet.  The meat was of a good quality and it was substantial.  I could actually taste the meat, crust and tomato sauce with each bite.  They didn’t cancel each other out… The crust was thin as we like and the only negative was that it wasn’t quite crisp enough for our liking.

Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria is located at 128 West Broadway in Maryville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-983-0808.  Website:

That’s all for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a look at what’s cooking!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. All the dishes in your photos look delicious, Dave! I am getting hungry, I will have to make breakfast shortly! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Some fine looking grub you guys threw together, especially the breakfasts. We made the no peek chicken while we were gone but I like Laurie's improvements.

  3. Hi David! I love Ice cream and the food look stunning!!
    Take care !

  4. Here I am at this moment eating my tuna salad for lunch ---and you have made me hungry for all kinds of good stuff: Ice Cream (love it), Pizza (love it), Yours and Big Dude's EGG combinations for breakfast, etc. etc. etc.... Somehow--my Tuna doesn't taste all that good today.... HA HA HA


  5. I like the way you experiment with your dishes – they all look so appetizing. When we move to Nashville, the ice cream parlor you showed might make me drive up there – the ice cream really looks creamy, the way I like it. I don’t think you cook “left-over” food, you “remodel” your food, upgrade them to a new level- well done!

  6. Dear Dave, I don't like to waste food either. I suppose it is instilled in me; growing up nothing went to waste.
    The breakfast creations look tasty and hearty.
    I think you know your way around a kitchen quite well and come up with good leftover ideas.
    Laurie's no-peek chicken does sound quite tasty too.
    Have a wonderful weekend. Catherine