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Cooler Cooking

Cooler Cooking

Here in Georgia the seasons seem to change daily. Last week it was cold, had the heat on, ready for cooler cooking. This week, warm again, air conditioning on, maybe not so much cooler cooking. 

When you look outside though and see colored leaves, rain, grey skies, and it is November, it is time for cooler cooling. 

Friday my plan was chili from the freezer because I knew I worked until 4:00, would be ready to eat when I got home close to 5 and would not want to start cooking. Menu planning is key.

Friday morning when I went to get chili from the freezer, I didn’t seem to want chili. I really wanted a wedge salad but didn’t want to deal with one. I decided to take Texican pork out and see what happened. 

On the drive home, I decided quesadillas might be good with some pickled onions. While I heated the oven and warmed the pork, I let the onions pickle in vinegar. 


Saturday was a day off for me and husband left the house to do some work. I read, had leftover chicken and grits for brunch, organized my personal chef containers to see if I needed any. Saturday was the day for the wedge salad!

I found some small strip steaks in the freezer so decided they’d go with the salad. I made this dressing which was delicious. My Green Apple immersion blender worked well for the dressing. 

Since the steaks were on the small side and not the same size at all, I sliced them onto the wedge, added tomatoes and the bacon and had a perfect wedge dinner finally. 

Menu Plan 

Sunday we had a full day of cooking food, eating food and buying food. We started at Buford Highway Farmer’s Market to get our weekly groceries. I then asked husband what he wanted for breakfast. 

I thought the answer would be Waffle House or just a bagel, but he said that he saw buttermilk in the refrigerator so biscuits would be nice! So I made Touch of Grace biscuits, Canadian bacon and eggs. 

We then headed to North Georgia to the apple orchards. It was a gorgeous day! 

I bought three kinds of apples at Mercier so I can make apple butter and maybe a pie. I bought Pink Lady, Gold Rush and Crimson Crisp. Also a couple bottles of hard cider. We then headed to R and A orchards for cider and fried apple pie.

After a successful day of apples and pie, we headed home. I rested about 30 minutes and started dinner. Too much cooking! I made Salmon and Fall Vegetables with Bagna Cauda and it was delicious. 

I decided to roast the radicchio for about 5 minutes and only had the endive raw. Excellent meal.

Monday was my personal chef day so still cooking after a full weekend of cooking. I made Chicken with Zucchini, Olives and Tomatoes, Thai Chicken Salad, Italian Pepper Steak as part of the service. 

Day Off

What does a personal chef do on her day off after an apple weekend? Cook all day in preparation for cooler cooking weather. 

Since I knew apple butter took all day, Tuesday was the day. I could look into using a slow cooker, but I like old fashioned, all day cooking

I cored, seeded and stemmed the apples. Cooked them down with cider and vinegar, which took about an hour. 

Once soft, they went into the food mill so the apples would be smooth with no skins. Next I added the sugar and spices and this mixture cooked down for many hours. 

I got my jars, lids and rims ready while I waited. I also made breakfast sandwiches of Canadian bacon and eggs. Something to do. 

Once cooked down and in the jars, the processing is quick. And I have apple butter.

Because I knew I would be in the kitchen all day, I planned to make bread too. I refreshed my starter on Monday, made my leaven on Monday, proofed bread on Tuesday. My kitchen is very small. 

Menu planning is key! I was home all day but knew I would not want to cook dinner Tuesday night. Chicken soup from the freezer to the rescue. Same pot as the apple butter, washing dishes all day too.

Wednesday morning was baking day. Baking is relatively quick once the bread is ready to go into the oven. The round loaves baked first using a higher temperature. This was my first try with the baskets and they are okay, I need some more practice. 

Wednesday started with bread baking, then library program paperwork, and lunch with a friend at Taqueria del Sol. We had a nice lunch, good talk, I took her some apple butter. 

Dinner was supposed to be “whatever” since husband has his meeting usually and I knew I’d have lunch. Husband worked all day, messaged that he’d be home close to 7, was not going to meeting. I heated leftover chicken soup for us both. 

Cooler Cooking Continues

Thursday I had a library program at Flint River Regional Library in Griffin. This was a teen program, started at 6:30, I left the house about 4 due to traffic. Lots of traffic. 

I did a cooler cooker menu of maple chicken, honey sweet potatoes and pumpkin dip. We had a good time, great teens, love my job.

We got home late for us, about 10:00. Washed the few dishes we had used at the library, had a cup of tea and crashed! Husband ate at the library for dinner, I had some dip. We’ll do better on dinner Friday I hope.


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