Tag Archives: Cooking

Vanilla Substitute – Jack Daniels Single Barrel

Cook and Bake with Jack Daniels

Cook and Bake with Jack Daniels

Did you know that you can substitute Jack Daniels Whiskey for Vanilla? I’m a big Jack Daniels fan. Besides ‘on the rocks’ it can do wonders to add unique flavor to many recipes.

We recently had the opportunity to tour the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. If you get the chance, GO!!! The Basic Tour is FREE and if you are over 21 you can sign up for the Sampling Tour for a mere $12.00 per person. When you go, don’t skip the town of Lynchburg. Park and walk around. It’s small enough to walk the whole square and stop in one of the restaurants for a nice lunch. You won’t leave without stopping at one of the several unique culinary/candy shops where you can get your specialty chocolates incorporated with Ole’ Jack! Mmmmm.

There are several different varieties of this amazing whiskey as well as multiple uses besides the old-fashioned ‘medicinal’ one on the rocks. Jack Daniels Single Barrel is a perfect one for one substitute for Vanilla in your baking and cooking. It has deep rich color and flavor. I don’t ALWAYS have Single Barrel on hand as it is a bit expensive. BUT Jack Daniels Old No. 7 will work too. If you are looking for sweetness, then the Tennessee Honey Whiskey would be a good choice. Jack Daniels Fireball will add a boost of hot cinnamon to your recipes.

When grocery shopping, take note of the items boasting Jack Daniels in its ingredients. It isn’t a well-kept secret, but one that is often overlooked. From Barbecues to Cakes and Cookies and Candy. You just can’t beat a good shot of Jack Daniels to add flavor and excitement to your culinary crafts.

Higher Elevation = Lower Boiling Point

After spending nearly six months in Texas for the winter, we headed Northwest to explore New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. I hadn’t given any thought to the impact higher elevations would have on my cooking and grilling.

Higher Elevation Lower Boiling Point

Higher Elevation Lower Boiling Point

That is until we were at 5,000 feet above sea level and DH’s Whole Grain Oatmeal that I prepare in the microwave boiled over like a volcano. Ooops. I knew the elevation was the cause and decided that I should revisit the topic before I ruined a more expensive meal.

The reduced air pressure at higher elevations affects the boiling point of water. Did you know that once water reaches the boiling point, that is as hot as it will ever get regardless of how much higher you turn up the heat. For every 500 feet of elevation, the boiling point is reduced by 1 degree F. Thus cooking oatmeal in the microwave for the same amount of time I did in Texas was an extremely messy mistake.

I found some good articles in About Food.com. The first does a good job of explaining ‘what is happening’ at higher elevations and the second provides tips to use when cooking, baking and grilling at higher elevations.

Higher Altitude Lower Boiling Point

High Altitude Cooking Tips

Use the comment section to share any High Altitude Cooking Tips or experiences that you have.


Rueben Casserole – You know it’s good

Rueben Casserole

Rueben Casserole

… when you are asked for the recipe. I was the one asking several weeks ago. I attended our annual HRRVC (Holiday Rambler RV Club) campout. A Pot Luck Brunch was on the menu. The amazing thing about Pot Lucks is that they can be amazingly successful with a great variety of foods. However they can also bomb out when everyone decides to bring the same thing. In most cases I find that folks tend to talk amongst themselves and usually work out a pleasing variety.

Our Pot Luck Brunch was one of the MOST successful I have ever attended. There was an enormous variety of foods and one dish in particular really caught my eye and palate. One of the members, Diane E. brought a Rueben Casserole. Knowing it was a real winner, I asked her for the recipe. That’s when she told me that it had been recently published in our club’s monthly magazine. After reviewing the recipe I was amazed that something that good could be so easy to make.

Fast forward a month. Last night DH and I attended a Halloween Bonfire at our niece’s home. That was my chance to try out the Rueben Casserole on a group of varying ages and tastes. It was a big hit. Several young people made a point to let me know how much they enjoyed it and I was asked for the recipe three different times. Like I said, you know it’s good when they ask you for the recipe!

Rueben Casserole

Makes One 8 x 8 inch baking pan or double recipe for 13 X 9 inch pan


16 oz. pkg of Sauerkraut drained well (not rinsed)
6 – 9 ounces Corned Beef Chopped
1 ½ Cups Swiss Cheese Shredded
½ Cup Mayonnaise
¼ Cup Thousand Island Dressing
6 Slices Marble Rye Bread Cubed
6 Tbls Butter Melted
Cooking Spray


  • Preheat Oven to 350 F.
  • Mix Mayonnaise and Thousand Island Dressing in bowl and set aside
  • Lightly spray baking pan
  • Spread Sauerkraut evenly over bottom of pan
  • Place chopped Corned Beef on top of Sauerkraut
  • Next layer Swiss Cheese over meat
  • Spread Mayonnaise mixture over the first 3 layers
  • Pour melted butter over bread cubes and toss to coat
  • Spread bread over top of casserole
  • Spray the underside of a sheet of aluminum foil and use to cover casserole
  • Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil, turn off oven and let casserole stand in hot oven for 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot. (Reheat if necessary to keep cheese from hardening).


Nutrition Facts

12 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 255.5

Total Fat 21.1 g

Saturated Fat 8.3 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g

Monounsaturated Fat 2.9 g

Cholesterol 38.5 mg

Sodium 562.2 mg

Potassium 63.4 mg

Total Carbohydrate 9.7 g

Dietary Fiber 1.1 g

Sugars 1.7 g

Protein 7.9 g