DINNER TIME! Herb Crusted Pan Fried Chicken

I've got some time on my hands today, let me cook some dinner for the family. This week, we've had burgers, pasta, and sushi. Haven't had any chicken in a bit, let me see what I can throw together.

We buy big packs of chicken thighs from Costco and keep them in the freezer. They come in perforated pouches, you can just tear one off, thaw it out, and leave the rest frozen for next time.

I've thawed out my pouch, and now I'm ready to go...


3 - Chicken thighs (we like to leave the skin on )
1 tsp - salt
1 tsp - pepper
1 tsp - herb pepper
1/2 tsp - marjoram
1/2 tsp - mustard powder

Heat up some oil in a skillet. I'm using some lard plus some leftover bacon fat from breakfast. Heat it on high for about 4 minutes until very hot. 

Sprinkle salt, pepper, herb pepper, marjoran, and mustard powder on each side of chicken.  Sprinkle just a light dusting of flour on each side, too.

Turn heat down just a tiny bit.  If you have a spatter guard, have it handy.

Cook chicken on almost high heat, 3 minute per side. 

Turn heat down to medium-low and cook for another 8 minutes per side.

We're serving ours with some hand-mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

It's very delicious but my wife is saying "next time, roast it, moron," because even with the spatter guard, there is a bit of cleanup to do.

Stop by the Musick Channel Garage Sale to pick up some treasures from our stash of over thirty years of collecting, like these great Liberty Falls collectibles which would look great under your Christmas tree.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

WEEKEND ON THE GRILL: Asian Inspired Marinated Beef

Sometimes, I get in a rut on the barbecue...steaks, chops, hot dogs, burgers, chicken...and just want to break out and do something different. Lately, we've been watching some travel shows and drooling over the food shown from Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Japan. I want to make something more like that.

A few weeks ago, we had a cheap, easy version of a teriyaki bowl featuring Trader Joe's Korean inspired Bool Kogi. Today, we're doing it from scratch.

I've put together a very tasty marinade and am letting my skirt steak soak in it overnight, then will grill it up and see how good we can get it.

First, the ingredients:

1/4 cup - Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup - low sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons - honey
1 tablespoon - olive oil
1 teaspoon - Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon - mince garlic

2 lbs - skirt steak
3 - sliced green onions

Mix the ingredients for the marinade, put steak in sealable bowl or plastic bag. Pour marinade in to soak and refrigerate overnight.  Cook on grill, 3 minutes per side over direct head and 5 minutes per side over indirect heat, covered.

On the side, I'm making grilled corn on the cob, elote style. I've steamed some corn, cut each cob in half, and then cook over direct coals, 5 minutes per side. Apply some mayonnaise and parmesan cheese before serving.

In addition, I'm cooking some zucchini in foil and grilling pineapple slices...5 minutes per side direct heat...putting a few mandarin orange slices and serving all up on a bowl over rice.

Add the green onion over the top after you've put it all in a bowl.

The leftovers also make a superior steak 'n eggs omelet for the next day's breakfast.

This week's gardening:
Picking weeds out of the lawn, deadheading the roses for the last time in the season, spraying deer repellent on the front yard bushes.

Stop by the Musick Channel Garage Sale to pick up some treasures from our stash of over thirty years of collecting, like these great Liberty Falls collectibles which would look great under your Christmas tree.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

Retirement - Is It All It's Cracked Up to Be?

Six months ago, I said goodbye to my job of 30 years as an Information Technology Specialist at the U.S Attorney's Office for the Central District of California headquartered in Los Angeles. Hopefully, I saved enough money to help live off my small pension from the Department of Justice.

So how has it been?

It's been a transition, that's for sure.

The first week or so, planning on sleeping in as long as I wanted, I couldn't sleep. Maybe my rhythms were messed up? I don't know but I was getting frustrated but, finally, after a week or so fatigue caught up to me and I slept. For the most part, since then, my sleeping routine has improved and I'm getting a good night's sleep more often than not.

Sleep schedule properly adjusted, the next thing I had to deal with, psychologically, was the feeling that I was only on vacation and would have to return to work. After awhile, it almost felt like I was going to be in trouble if I didn't report back on the job at some point.

Over time, that feeling faded but it still feels a bit like I'm getting away with something I shouldn't.

Next is the expectation that you'll have all the time in the world. It's true that I have more time for the things that are important to me but I'm just as busy, if not busier, than I was at work. I am a full-time caregiver for my adult, disabled son which requires cooking for him, feeding him, dressing him, bathing, bathrooming, and much more. My day is filled with looking after his needs, although I do usually have a couple of hours between each bout of taking care of him.

We are also getting our house and affairs together so we can achieve that other retirement dream, moving away from the city. After living in very crowded Los Angeles County, it's time to cash in our chips and go.

Another problem is, even though I have the time, most of the friends I'd like to hang out with still have to work. I'm happy to spend my free time with my wife and son, though.

Since retirement, I've cleaned out the garage, relandscaped the front yard, we've painted our bedrooms and took care of the last couple of major home improvement projects. In addition, now I can relieve my wife of some of the chores she used to take care of like doing the laundry, pitching in to cook, washing dishes, and cleaning the house.

There hasn't been many dull moments since I quit.

Traveling has been fun as we can now go whenever we want, stay as long as we want, and not have to worry about our vacation time ending. It is still an adjustment when we do travel...at the end of the vacation, I feel depressed like I used to when I'd have to go back to work. But then, I realize, I don't have to go back!

Dealing with money is taking some getting used to. Instead of getting paid every two weeks, I have to plan everything monthly as I only get paid once a month now. Our income is less than a third of what is was before retirement so we have to be more careful with our spending.

We don't have to live like monks but we have gotten rid of our second car, we're eating at home about twice as much as we used to, and look for deals when we go out.

Fate sometimes has a way of stepping in, though, as we've had to deal with unexpected expenses like emergency dental work and a major car breakdown while we were hundreds of miles from home.

All in all, though, we dealing with the challenges of retirement pretty well. Going back to the original question, is it all it's cracked up to be? Well...yes! And more than I thought it was going to be.

We're blowing out our classic vinyl LP albums at The Musick Channel Garage Sale on Ebay.Find some bargains on great music today

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

It's Still Summer, It's Still Hot, It's Still Not Time to Sit By the Stove All Afternoon - A Super Quick and Easy Chicken Salad

While the kids are filtering back into school and summer vacations are coming to a close, the calendar shows we still have over a month of summer to go. Beyond the calendar, I can feel it. It's still hitting a hundred or above daily and the monsoons from Mexico are keeping the air sticky.

I hate summer and I hate cooking in this weather but, still, want to eat good without going out too much.

Enter the chicken salad. It's just a basic dish but, except for warming the chicken for six or seven minutes, it just takes a minute or two to put together.

Let's see what's in the fridge, hmm...

A bag of pre-cooked chicken pieces from Trader Joe's. 

I'll pop that into a skillet with some olive oil for a few minutes to heat up.

Salad mix from the supermarket.

Cherry tomatoes, also from Trader Joe's. Plus a few dried cranberries from the same place.

Throw the salad mix in a bowl, add tomatoes, chicken, and top off with the craisins. Pour on a little leftover ranch dressing that we brought home from a restaurant a few night ago, and dinner is done.

Perfect for a quick, midweek dinner when you're tired and have no time left on a hot day.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved


I've got one of those big packs of rib eye steaks from Costco. Been kind of bored with how I've been cooking steaks lately so I thought I'd try it like I cook my tri tip.

That, I marinade overnight in a 50/50 blend of pineapple and orange juice to break down the connective tissues and make it more tender. Then, it's seasoned with rub and cooked low and slow for a few hours in my smoker.

It's not necessary to to the "low and slow" method for the steaks but much of the rest of the recipe is the same.

I marinate the steaks for 4 to 5 hours. After that, I sprinkle some Kosher salt and black pepper on them.

Then, using a pinch between my fingers, I sprinkle each of the following: cayenne pepper, onion powder, mustard powder, and paprika.

On a charcoal grill, I sear each side for three minutes over direct heat. Move each steak to the indirect side of the grill, cover, and cook for an additional eight minutes per side.

When done, I cover and wait 10 minutes before serving.


2 inch thick choice or prime rib eye steaks
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mustard power
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
8 oz orange juice
8 oz pineapple juice

We're blowing out our classic vinyl LP albums at The Musick Channel Garage Sale on Ebay.Find some bargains on great music today.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

I'm Gonna Get You Sucka! Keeping the Crepe Myrtle Sucker Free

This Week's Gardening...

Crepe myrtles are great trees. They have gorgeous flowers and, when fully bloomed, look like a giant living cotton candy on a stick.  They go deciduous in the winter, protecting themselves from the cold, and can stand extreme heat in the summer. In fact, they thrive on it.

While our other plants wilted and browned during this summer's most intense heat (120 degrees plus), the crepe myrtle just laughed it off and produced some more flowers.

The one drawback to them is that they're a prolific producer of suckers...stems growing from the ground around the bottom of the plant.

If you want yours to be a bush, rather than a tree, no problem. Just leave them be. But, if you're like me and want to train it into a tree, you need to get those suckers.

If left alone, you'd get a tree like this one at our local YMCA, where the suckers grow like a little bush around the bottom of the trunk.

Otherwise, you just need to go out once a week with your pruning shears and snip them off at the base.

It's not a hard job but you need to keep on top of it.

In other gardening news, I found a cluster of grapes on our vine that somehow survived that intense heat and was able to harvest it.

We're blowing out our classic vinyl LP albums at The Musick Channel Garage Sale on Ebay.
Find some bargains on great music today.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

Cheap and Easy...Trader Joe's Bool Kogi

While we've been known to get pretty elaborate with our recipes here on the blog, it's a bit much to expect to sit over a hot stove on a summer day when the temps are trending over 110 degrees. Still want to eat at home but without too much effort.

That's where the magic of Trader Joe's comes in. Here there are plenty ready to eat and pre-prepared groceries that are delicious and easy to cook.

Recently, it was another dreadfully hot Sunday and...honestly...cooking was the last thing I wanted to do but it is my responsibility to provide the meals on that day. I was picking up some staples like milk and eggs at my local Trader Joe's, thinking about what quick-serve place I could go to pick up dinner that night.

For some reason, I wandered over to the pre-prepared foods cooler just to see what was there. The 'Bool Kogi,' TJ's bulgogi Korean-style beef, looked good and easy so I picked up a package.

To get to the point, this made for a easy, quick dinner. I put some rice in the steamer, fired up my Weber grill with a load of charcoal, and opened the package.

Basically, it's flank steak marinated with a variety of Asian style seasonings and sesame seeds...sort of a Korean carne asada.

The hot grill made short work of cooking the meat.  So I chopped it up and served over rice in a bowl.  Not bad but needed a little extra. We had a few lefter over Waba sauce packets (teriyaki sauce that's served at the Waba Grill restaurant chain) and put a little on top.

There it is...quick, delicious teriyaki bowls made at home for a fraction of what I'd pay at a take out place.

Better than that, we had plenty of meat left over. The next morning, I threw a handful in a skillet and cracked open some eggs.

Pour an egg, cream, salt and pepper mix over it...sprinkle on some shredded cheese...and scramble to make some of the most delicious steak and eggs I've had in quite awhile.

This Week's Gardening - 

Weeding and trimming, mostly, like cutting back on the deadheads of this glaucous daisy I have growing around my mailbox.

You can already see new flower buds coming. Also, spraying the front yard roses with deer repellent. Let's see if that works, and doing a sprinkler check for clogged emitters.

Darryl Musick

Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

DINNER TIME! Herb Crusted Pan Fried Chicken

I've got some time on my hands today, let me cook some dinner for the family. This week, we've had burgers, pasta, and sushi. Hav...