Dirk Howard

Journal Of A Long Strange Trip
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  • Butternut Squash Soup

    Posted on November 28th, 2018 Dirk No comments

    This recipe for Butternut Squash Soup is a modified version from a version shared by a family friend. This version is more suited to the tastes of my family with lighter seasoning, less salt and less fat.


    • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled & cubed
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine
    • 1 Tbsp chicken bouillon
    • pepper (to taste)
    • paprika
    • 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 package)


    1. In pressure cooker, saute the onion in the butter until onions are softened and begin to caramelize.
    2. Add minced garlic and let it briefly saute.
    3. Add cubed butternut squash, water, bouillon and spices and pressure cook on high pressure for 7 or 8 minutes.
    4. Quick release the pressure and puree with cream cheese.
    5. Serve with croutons, toasted cheese bread or garlic bread.

    Serves 4

  • Low Carb Cottage Pie (or Shepard’s Pie)

    Posted on March 9th, 2018 Dirk No comments

    Ready To Serve

    Shepard’s pie is a dish normally prepared with ground lamb. A cottage pie is prepared with ground beef in place of the lamb. The meat is combined with a tomato sauce and vegetables, then topped with mashed potatoes and possibly some cheese. Very much a comfort food.

    I had recently started eating a low carbohydrate diet (low carb) for weight loss and to reduce my blood sugar levels.  I found a recipe that is the basis for this dish. Instead of mashed potatoes, this recipe uses mashed cauliflower instead. To keep the fat levels down, I used ground bison for the meat.


    For the topping:
    1 head of cauliflower
    2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
    garlic powder to taste

    For the filling:
    2 lbs ground bison
    1 Tablespoon olive oil
    1 large onion
    4 carrots
    1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
    3 Tablespoons A-1 Sauce
    2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
    Salt and pepper to taste


    Preheat oven to 400° F or 375° F on convection bake.

    For the topping:

    Simmering carrots, onions and diced tomatoes.

    Simmering vegetables for a bison cottage pie.

    Cut the cauliflower into one inch chunks. Steam until very tender. I cooked this in the microwave for 10 to 14 minutes. Blend in the food processor with the garlic powder until smooth. Set aside until the filling is ready to top.

    For the filling:
    In a pan that can go into the oven, break apart the bison and cook until browned. Transfer bison to bowl to hold. Add the olive oil to the pan along with the onions and carrots. Saute until the vegetables start to become tender. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have reduced the liquid. The carrots should not be crunchy at this point. Add the meat and combine with the other seasonings.

    Into the oven

    Into the oven

    Into the oven:
    Carefully spread the mashed cauliflower on top of the filling. Top the dish with the grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the cheese has browned. If needed turn on the broiler to brown the top.

    Serves 5 to 6


  • Cinnamon Pull-A-Parts

    Posted on March 25th, 2016 Dirk No comments

    Cinnamon Pull-ApartsLast night our neighbor had some leftover dough. She brought it over to share with us. The dough inspired me to make Cinnamon Pull-A-Parts.

    Since it was late in was late in the evening, I just put the dough in the refrigerator until morning.

    The next morning I took a castiron skillet and melted some butter in it.  I topped the butter with a cup of vanilla sugar.  I could have used cinnamon sugar, but I wanted to tame the amount of cinnamon.  I then divided up the dough into golf ball or smaller pieces.  I dipped each piece into some melted butter and then rolled it in some cinnamon sugar.  Any sugar I had left went on top of the rolls.  I let the rolls rise for about an hour.  I baked them at 375° F for about 25 minutes. Once they were out of the oven I turned the rolls out of the castiron skillet to cool.  Once the sugar had cooled below molten lava temperatures, I served them up.

    My crew agrees that I can do that again.Cinnamon Pull-A-Parts