Tommy Fries

There’s a restaurant chain in my neck of the woods called T Bonz Gill and Grill. One location is on Market Street, right in the heart of downtown Charleston. I’ve never eaten there, although, we did stop there once for a beer.

So, when one of the guys that I used to work with brought a food concoction for his lunch several months ago and said it was a copy-cat recipe from TBonz, I didn’t have a clue. Potatoes and ranch dressing and cheese and bacon, he said. He called it “Tommy Fries,” and frankly, I thought it sounded pretty damn good.

So, later that day I proceeded to search the internet to find a recipe. I checked TBonz’s website and although, it didn’t offer a recipe, it did list something sounding ridiculously similar on its Appetizer menu: Tommy Texas Cheese Fries, made from potato wedges, ranch, jack and cheddar cheeses and applewood smoked bacon.

Further internet searching did yield a copy-cat recipe, from someone named “Bogey’sMom,” so I used it for my own variation, I call “Tommy Fries.”

This dish is a definite hit with guests who always ask me to share the recipe. And, so today, I share it with you!

Use 5 or 6 medium to large potatoes. Use any kind you like!

Add a little salt and boil until just tender. You don’t want the potatoes to fall apart when you drain them. In the meantime, start frying some bacon.

After you remove the bacon from the skillet, add the potatoes to brown. This skillet is a tad too small for all these taters!

Browning nicely!

Pour some ranch dressing into the bottom of an oven safe dish and tilt the pan to get the whole bottom of it covered in ranch creaminess. Put the potatoes on top.

Add crumbled bacon.

Add cheeses.

Broil in oven until the cheese melts.

Scrape the bottom of the dish to scoop out all the goodies.

Tommy Fries


½ bottle ranch dressing
½ pound bacon
¼  pound shredded cheddar cheese
¼ pound shredded pepper jack cheese
(sometimes, I use shredded mozzarella. That’s the thing with cheese – it’s all good)
5 or 6 potatoes
Salt and pepper


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into large cubes or wedges and boil until just soft. (You can opt to boil the potatoes with their skins on and peel after they cool, if you want, or leave the skins on!)
  2. Drain and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In the meantime, fry bacon until crisp. Crumble bacon and set aside.
  4. Brown cubed cooked potatoes in the bacon grease until nicely browned.
  5. Pour ranch dressing into the bottom of an oven safe platter.
  6. Add potatoes on top of the dressing.
  7. Add crumbled bacon and cheeses.
  8. Broil for a few minutes in the oven until cheese melts and everything is gooey.
  9. Enjoy

A little food Inspiration

I’ve gotten a little food inspiration recently on Pinterest and have decided to share a few with you.

One thing that I make now – several times a week – is No Knead Bread. Most of you know that I although I love to cook, I’m not that great of a baker. Doughs that I have to knead or roll out into pie crusts are not my cup of tea. And, my lack of having the knack for it shows in my final results, ergo, I’ve quit trying. So, when I saw a Pin of a pretty loaf of bread with a caption underneath that read, “No Knead Bread” I figured it was worth taking a look.  The instructions seemed easy enough – as a matter of fact – the author demonstrated with photos of her four-year old making a loaf, just how incredibly easy it is. How hard could this be, I wondered?

After a trip to the grocery store to buy yeast (I had a package in my cupboard that was at least 50 gazillion years old, so thought better of using it) I tried my hand at it. My first loaf, although very tasty, didn’t rise as much as the one in the photo I had seen, and I guessed it was because I used rapid-rise yeast and not instant as the recipe had called for. No store in my little town had the instant in stock, and since I don’t know that much about baking with yeasts, I guessed there wasn’t such a thing, anyway. Turns out, there is a product called instant yeast, and the trick for using rapid-rise instead is to use more in your recipe. I doubled the amount in the next loaf, and voila, it turned out perfect!

Another recipe I tried was for crack-tastic crackers.  Saltine crackers, canola oil, red pepper flakes and a packet of dry ranch dressing. Simple! I use Keebler Town House crackers since I don’t normally keep saltines in the house. These are yum to eat as snack, but I also envision making them to use for canapes for guests, too.

Another wonderfully good find is the chicken and dumplings recipe, I found recently. I already have several recipes for this dish in  my recipe book. One calls for using one of those tubular cans of biscuits for the dumplings and another calls for making a quick dough out of Bisquick and dropping by spoonfuls on top near the end of the cooking process. My recipes are okay, but not great. My new recipe for chicken and dumplings  is FANTASTIC!  This recipe calls for making dumpling noodles, requiring rolling out dough and cutting into strips. Easy! I thought I took a picture of this completed dish, but cannot find one. Trust me when I tell you mine looked just like the picture here.

And, this broccoli dish brags that it is the best broccoli ever. I agree! I can’t find my photo of this dish, so I borrowed this one from the author.

I’ve also been inspired to made pumpkin cupcakes, Thai ribs, roasted green beans, and stuffed pasta shells.  I’ve “pinned” lots of other recipes to try, too – for soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, side dishes, desserts.

It’s so much fun to try new dishes!


Happy New Year and Good Luck!

Most people I ask say 2010 was not a very good year.  And, now, as I write this, we are just hours away from a new year. Prosperity, health, wealth, strength and good luck are near! BUT, only if you do the right things to prepare.

I’ve compiled a list to help you out.

First, there are all the foods you must eat. Some foods must be eaten on New Year’s Eve, a few must be eaten on New Year’s Day and other food stuffs must be eaten at exactly at the stroke of midnight! If unsure when best to eat, I recommend eating all day and night! And, if some of these ideas have not been your tradition, you might consider adding them, just to change your luck.

  • Eat a few long noodles for long life! (Now, it’s important to note here that you must not to break the noodle before you eat it, therefore cutting your life short, so, my advice is to be careful not to choke which is not very good luck, at all.)
  • Eat meat! Meat means prosperity and strength. Eating meat on New Year’s means good luck all year long. I’ve read that brisket is popular, but, many traditions include pork.  Fish is important, too. Fish swim in schools and represent abundance. Whatever you do, do not eat anything with wings or your luck will fly away.
  • On to the greens! Greens represent wealth. Cabbage, collards, kale, green peas are all good for adding green backs to your new year. If you like sauerkraut, all the better, because sauerkraut also adds intelligence to the equation.
  • Black-eyed peas and lentils represent coins, indicating wealth, too.
  • Potatoes have roots deep in the earth. They (along with carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc) add stability.
  • Leave a bit of food on your plate on New Year’s Eve until after midnight to ensure a well stocked larder all year.
  • At midnight, eat 12 grapes, one for each strike of the clock and/or for each month of the new year. And, adding a 13th grape assures your good luck!
  • It is also prudent to add a coin to your baked bread and your peas while cooking.

Here are some more “to-dos” to insure good luck.

  • Jingle a change purse at midnight and keep a handful of coins in your pockets, too!
  • Hide some money outside on New Year’s Eve. Bring the money back inside on New Year’s Day to keep that money coming in all year.
  • Don’t let the first guest of the new year in your house be anyone other than a good looking young man who is carrying a loaf of bread.
  • Wear red underwear!
  • Hang a pine branch for longevity, a bamboo stalk for prosperity and a plum blossom for nobility.
  • At first toll of midnight, open the back door to release bad luck. Close the door before the 12th stroke and run to the front of your house to get the front door opened when the clock strikes 12 to welcome in the good luck.
  • Make lots of noise at midnight to chase away evil spirits.
  • Don’t sweep away the good spirits on New Year’s Day, but do sweep away bad spirits on New Year’s Eve, of course.
  • And, whatever you do, don’t forget to kiss your lover, right at the stroke of midnight.

Please share your New Year’s traditions so I can add them to my list, too!

Happy New Year and Good Luck!