Another Rat on a Stick variation

Some day I’ll settle on a recipe. This year I used “Gimme Lean” again, and blended white beans, with a bunch of sage, basil, salt, garlic, and little oregano because the beans sort of watered down the sausage flavor. The resulting mix was plenty to make something like 30 or 35 rats, including five “jumbo” rats. Bucatini (not pictured) is definitely the right pasts for tails too. The sauce is just for dipping this time around.

Same old basic procedure: impale 1/3 of a cheese stick onto a skewer; wrap in mixture and form into rat; boil half the length of the pasta in colored water and break off just enough to leave a bit that you can insert into the rat; wrap tail around skewer, add details to taste (in this case, black bean eyes); bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese erupts. I had to add a little flour to reduce the moisture from the white beans, and also coated them with it to form them.

Basic rat forms on well-greased baking sheet.

Preparing tails

I added the eyes while waiting for the next batch of tails to cook

Bon apetite!

They went over pretty well at the party.

Published in: on October 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Return of the son of the bride of rats-on-a-stick!



Yes, ’tis the weekend before Samhain (/sa-ween/)  or Halloween again and there is a party and rats on a stick. This year I varied the recipe again, using a can each of cannelloni, navy beans, and red kidney beans with about 1 1/2 cups of plain bread crumbs, four chicken eggs, and maybe a quarter cup of teriyaki sauce, with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste (i.e. tons) for the outer cores and 1/3 or 1/4 of a string cheese stick for the core of each rat. The tails are bucatini, a spaghetti-like tubular pasta. They will be served with teriyaki sauce to dip (rats on a stick can get pretty dry when reheated). Bon appatite!


Published in: on October 24, 2015 at 9:34 am  Comments (1)  
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Late post: This year’s Halloween food

Wow, it’s been a few weeks now– I actually made these the weekend of October 20th.  Been too bust to post much.

Anyway I made the usual rats on a stick for my Mom’s Halloween party, although this year I made the rats from just crushed cannellini beans (aka white beans) and Gimme Lean  — no bread crumbs, no egg. In this case 2 packages of Gimme Lean ‘sausage’ and one can of beans, with some spices added.  But first I reserved a couple dozen beans for rat eyes.  Otherwise just follow the usual recipe.  The white eyes worked OK.

The other thing I made was a load of bread, with eyes.  I meant for it to look like a mummy, but it looks just as much like a ghost or even a snake, according to my daughter.  Fresh baked bread is too tempting though and it didn’t make it to the party.

Here is is ready for the oven — I twisted the dough and smushed the shoulders and head into shape.

Baked, it hardly looked any different., although he must have been uncomfortable as he settled on his side.

Published in: on November 14, 2012 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Toad on Toast and Peppers & Cheese

I almost never cook any more except on weekends because I don’t get home until 6 pm on weeknights, and we can’t wait that late to start dinner.  But once in a while we have a weekend at home like this one and I cooked up a storm — pancakes for breakfast (big deal), tomato salad for lunch (gotta enjoy the last really good tomatoes of the season … the rest are looking more and more sickly in the garden), and heuvos rancheros for dinner.

This was the first time I actually made heuvos rancheros, and while they were not bad you can find lots of recipes for that online … hell, everyone seems to have their own version. I just heated up some “fresh” chipotle salsa from the grocery store, and fried some eggs, warmed some tortillas in the pan afterwards, and garnished with black beans.

The two interesting things I made were broiled peppers & cheese and Toad on Toast (the kiddie alternative to heuvos since my daughter is not a fan of Mexican).

The broiled peppers are pretty easy and for a cheese-based dish, could be worse… at least they aren’t fried or breaded, right?  My garden has been really struggling under the pre-apocalyptic weather we’ve been having, except for the peppers, which I have had a hard time keeping up with.  This year I had two mini-bell pepper plants and two anaheims and they are still flowering!  I’ve made these a bunch of times this summer.   Anyway the recipe is easy enough to give in a series of pictures.







And done.  Put ’em on a plate.  Use the stalks to pick them up.  The trickiest part is figuring out the best way to cut them so that you get stalk on each half and they will lay flat.  This recipe probably accounts for why I never lose weight in the summer despite all the gardening and yard work.

The Toad on Toast I saw this week at work in a children’s book. (It’s a really cute book! Borrow it from your library!)  I can’t think of the real name of this dish but it is probably some kind of traditional English thing.  Basically you cut a hole in a piece of bread and cook an egg inside the hole.  I got my kid interested in trying it by telling her the story from the book and she really bought into the idea, especially since she can crack an egg.  So Riley helped out with this one.





Oops. Flipped it to soon I guess. We’ll cook this side longer after the other side cooks.


Maybe the pan is too hot.

Granted the Toad on Toast doesn’t look all that great but Riley was so excited to be able to help make it that she ate two!

Published in: on September 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm  Comments (6)  
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Fat Tuesday!

Why did no one tell me there was a holiday where you eat pancakes?

I am very angry about this. 39 years of no pancakes on Fat Tuesday.

It ends TODAY!

Unbelievable. I was raised a Catholic and did the ashes thing on Ash Wednesday and gave stuff up for Lent and did not do anything too fun on Good Friday and all that. But pancakes the night before Ash Wednesday? Never. Maybe Fat Tuesday just isn’t an Italian-American tradition or something. I dunno.

But since I’ve reached the age of reason and don’t have to pretend I believe in the fairy stories* and can pick my own holidays, Fat Tuesday is in.

Image found on multiple sites in a Google Image Search. Not sure who deserves credit for this.

So anyway my preferred pancake recipe is to use about 2: parts prefab pancake mix : 1 part rolled (“quick” but not “instant”) oats, and water as needed for the batter.

I am sure that making your own batter is better than the boxed stuff but I can’t stand using fresh eggs for this because if there are fresh eggs in the batter, I worry unduly about salmonella when I eat uncooked batter. Uncooked pancake batter is pretty good!

The oats add a little roughage and nutrition and kind of stretch out the number of pancakes you can eat without totally blowing your daily calorie allotment. Also they make the ‘cakes taste pretty good. Optionally I add chopped pecans, berries, or even those tiny chocolate chips, but most of the time it’s plain old pancakes on any given Saturday morning.

I also use “lite” syrup so I can use twice as much. I don’t usually use butter or margarine although my wife swears by peanut butter on pancakes. Nutella when I’m feeling really decadent. So maybe Nutella on Fat Tuesday!

<update: In hindsight I think my sudden interest in Fat Tuesday celebrations probably has a lot to do with my recent decision to get back on track with my diet and exercise.  2:1 Pancake mix:wheat bran is an even more reasonable approach to making the ‘cakes healthy.  Pancakes is pancakes.>


* Just kidding! A dude who was born to a virgin and is his own father and can turn water to wine like Dionysus and got crucified like Zoroaster and rose from the dead like Osiris and sacrificed himself to spare his creation from his own wrath because someone ate fruit distributed by a talking snake … that is totally real!

Published in: on March 8, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Would you believe, Mouse on a stick?

So last night I whipped up a batch of veggie rats on a stick, using ingredients closer to the original Judges Guild recipe — the “not ground beef” Gimme Lean, cheese cracker crumbs, colby cheese, and BBQ sauce rather than my Italian-American version — and it occurred to me that these are really not rat-sized at all, but mouse-sized.   Huh.   Anyway since I was tired and unaccountably had no spaghetti on hand, I skipped the tails and whiskers and just did eyes, this time out of whole cloves. Pics below:

The BBQ sauce is pretty dark and looks a bit more disgusting than the pizza sauce, I think.

Anyway I realized the Gimme Lean is so sticky there is no need for eggs, so I didn’t bother adding the egg.  I think eggs are pretty gross anyway.  Liquid chicken.

So these will be a nice snack for the C&C game tonight and a good test run for the winning recipe in the mask contest.

That’s right, a winner was chosen from among the entries and it will be the Severed Hand (reworked to be vegetarian, of course).

After conferring with my wife as I said I would in the original contest rules, we agreed this was the best idea, although each entry had its merits.  So congratulations to Nik Olah for the winning entry!  I’ll be sending you the mask this weekend.  Thanks again Michael at Specter Studios for the fabulous prize!  And thanks to everyone who entered!

Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm  Comments (4)  
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Rat on a stick!


Over at the Judge’s Guild website they have a recipe for Rat on a stick, <update: link broken, but here’s an archived version of the original> a delicacy offered by one of the few fast food franchises available to Tunnels & Trolls players.  Just the thing for my mom’s annual Halloween party!

I had to adapt the recipe (being vegetarian and all) but I think it will work.  They smell great; I can’t wait to try one tonight.  My version substitutes “Gimme Lean” veggie sausage for the beef, Italian style bread crumbs for the cracker crumbs, and pizza sauce for the BBQ sauce & honey.  I also went with string cheese because 1/2 a stick is the perfect size, and goes with the Italian-American style ingredients. I basically doubled the recipe, using 2 rolls of sausage, 1 cup bread crumbs, and 12 pieces of string cheese (cut in half).  A jar of pizza sauce of more than enough, and next time I won’t coat the bottoms of the rats!

DSC03178Bread crumbs & “sausage”


DSC03180Riley helps mix up the eggs

DSC03182The rat shape coating the cheese…

DSC03183Coated with sauce (in retrospect I’d do this after adding tails next time)

DSC03184Boiling one end of the spaghetti in water with food coloring.

DSC03185With tails; my wife added food coloring eyes and rosemary whiskers.

DSC03186Ready for the oven. Yumtious!

So, the revised recipe would be:

1 log of “Gimme Lean” ground veggie sausage (the package says it is equivalent to 1 lb. cooked meat)

1/2 c. bread crumbs

1 egg

6 sticks of string cheese

1 small jar or can of pizza sauce

12 wooden skewers

12 pieces of spaghetti

red food coloring

rosemary or thyme for whiskers

green or black food coloring for eyes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; mix sausage and crumbs with 1 beaten egg; cut cheese sticks in half and skewer on sticks; divide sausage/bread crumb mixture into 12 pieces; mold it over the cheese in a cone shape; boil 2-4 c. water in a pan with red food coloring, and dip in one end of the spaghetti, until it softens, and when the dipped end is fully cooked, break off most of the uncooked end, leaving a bit to stick into the rat’s asses, and drape the tail over the stick; brush with pizza sauce, stick in whiskers and dot with food coloring for eyes.  Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes or so (keep an eye on it; ovens vary).  I doubled the above recipe for the party.

Published in: on October 24, 2009 at 5:19 pm  Comments (9)  
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