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!


The Wheeling Gourmet

Nic Steenhout, aka, The Wheeling Gourmet

I’ve recently discovered a new website that was created by a great chef and a cool guy, my friend, Nicolas Steenhout. The site, The Wheeling Gourmet, is, of course, a cooking site. Since I love to cook, I find perusing cooking sites a fun pastime. Some of the sites I stumble upon are okay and some, not so much. But, this site is different, somehow. Every time I visit Nic’s site, I get this feeling that there is something more, a true passion for cooking and sharing, and I  absolutely love that!  

Honestly, I do not know a lot about Nic. I know he is a Canadian living in New Zealand by way of Chicago and Savannah. I know he was once a professional chef and he co-authored a cookbook on wild meat and game.  I know he is an advocate for people with disabilities. His other site, Accessibility NZ, deals with web accessibility issues. I know he plays wheelchair rugby.

The first recipe I made was the Chicken Chorizo Clay Pot. Oh, I didn’t have a clay pot, so I used a Dutch oven.  I didn’t have mirin sauce (mirin is a sweet Japanese wine) so I used sherry. I didn’t even have any chorizo (Spanish sausage) and had to use kielbasa. (If I lived even remotely close to a decent grocery store, I would have made a quick trip to purchase those ingredients. Using the right ingredients is important!) But, even with all those changes, I loved this recipe! The flavors were incredible. I have made this again, since that first time, with the correct ingredients (well, except for the clay pot) with fantastic results.

The second recipe I tried was the Pork Medallions with Orange and Ginger Reduction. Oh, I fudged this  one up, too!   I thought I had defrosted a small pork tenderloin to use, but instead had a small package of ribs. Sheesh! The orange and ginger reduction and balsamic vinegar reduction were fabulous, though, and it still turned out to be a great dinner!

Several other recipes that are high on my list to try soon are the Braised Beef Shin with Orange and Black Olive – Osso Bucco Style, the Mousse au Chocolat, Chicken Brochettes  Marinated in Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, and Spaghetti Carbonara. Nic provides U.S. Standard measurements alongside the metric equivalents to make it easy for us Americans, too!  And, he always remembers to list the U.S.  term for ingredients like red capcium (red pepper) and kumara (a Maori word for sweet potato).

Setting up for a food photograph.

What else is cool about Nic is that he has a passion for photography and takes all of his own food photos! Typically food photographers add a lot of crap that make dishes inedible just to make a picture look appealing, but Nic cooks his food, plates it up, snaps his photos and then he eats it! Nic’s food photos are fantastic! Both photos in this article (yes, even the self photo above) were taken by Nic.

The site, The Wheeling Gourmet, is a work in progress. So, please visit it often! And, don’t be afraid to ask Nic questions, he loves to answer! And, if you are inclined to take a photo of your cooking masterpiece, he would like to see it!

Oh, and a clay pot, like the one featured on his site, is now on my wish list, in case you were wondering!

Happy eating!