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5 Recipes for a Top Gun Meals n Movies Night
March 24, 2016
sous-vide-ribs, top gun

When it comes to certain movies, they’ll always hold a special place in your heart. Top Gun is one of those movies for me. As a kid growing-up in the 80s, Top Gun fueled numerous young boys desires to join the military and become a fighter pilot so they could be just like Maverick. I was like many other boys during that time period and dreamed of getting my pilots license, doing well academically so I could join the military and head to Top Gun school where I would be the best of the best and get the cute girl too.

Obviously none of this ever happened, except for getting a really good-looking girl, but I still get pumped up watching Top Gun to this very day. Naturally when I heard my wife had never seen Top Gun I was stunned. How in the world had she heard of Tom Cruise but never watched Top Gun?! I feel like a part of her childhood was stolen from her, or was this movie really only a guy thing?

Watching Top Gun with someone seeing it for the first time is a real eye-opener. All the classic one liners I thought were so awesome come across extremely cheesy in this classic action-romance thriller. While I enjoyed hearing some of my favorites, my wife is cracking up at how ridiculous some of the dialogue is. We rewind a few times and I hear it again and I guess she has a valid point. Some of them are pretty bad when you hear them from a different point of view. Oh well, Top Gun will always be a classic no matter how goofy the dialogue is.

Thankfully the food featured in the famous Great Balls of Fire scene never gets old since it’s from my hometown—Kansas City! I always try to find an excuse to have BBQ. Hell, I’d have it for breakfast if it was socially acceptable. This famous Top Gun scene takes place at a restaurant called Kansas City Barbeque in San Diego, CA.

This restaurant was visited by the location director on the film when he just wanted to grab a beer while scouting locations for the movie and he thought it would be a great place to shoot. He brought back the film director, Tony Scott, to check it out and the rest is history.

Although there really isn’t a lot of food in Top Gun, the scene in this restaurant makes up for it because of the food you get to pick from. Even though you don’t see a lot of actual BBQ items at the tables, Kansas City Barbeque has a website you can visit where their menu is available to look over. From here you have a wealth of wonderful food to choose from.

Food We Saw:

  • Charles Kurg @44:10
  • Kansas City BBQ restaurant @1:01:45

Like I said before there really isn’t much food throughout the film, but the restaurant menu for Kansas City Barbeque provides numerous possibilities. It’s difficult to make out what exactly is on the table while they’re in the restaurant. From what we could tell it appears there are BBQ sandwiches, onion rings, popcorn and Budweiser beer. I couldn’t see many items clearly when I watched the movie to plan the menu so I decided to revert to the restaurants online menu to make my selections—with a few of my favorites of course.

Before I get into what I made for Meals n Movie night, I need to explain the cooking technique I used for the main dish. It’s called sous-vide cooking, French for under vacuum, where your food is sealed airtight in plastic bags and submerged in water at a controlled temperature for longer than your used to with traditional methods. Temperatures are much lower than what you expect but your food is cooked evenly and properly without overcooking the outer layers which ensures moisture retention for your food.

The results are amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced while cooking for myself at home. Sous-vide cooking does require additional cooking equipment I’m certain you don’t have sitting around the house. If you want to read more about sous-vide cooking, and I know you do, there’s a lot of information out there about it. If you’re interested in purchasing what we use at home to achieve amazing results you can get it from Amazon and have it in just a few days thanks to Amazon Prime.

“Tastiest Ribs I Ever Had Mav” – BBQ pork spare ribs sous-vide style



sous-vide-ribsThe steps to achieve the same results are going to take a little bit of time, so stop right now, go grab a beer or a glass of wine since you’re going to comb over this a few times to make sure you take it all in to prepare.

Since I had never cooked ribs sous-vide style before, I reached out to some experts online to gain my footing. After reviewing a couple different cooking times, 12 hours @145°F or 63°C, 24 hours @152° F or 67°C, or 36 hours @165°F or 74°C, I decided to go with the 24 hour option. I chose this option because it was said to be a little less meaty than the 36 hour cook and a little less juicer than the 12 hour cook; the best of both worlds without giving up too much.

With my overall cooking time selected, I needed to add the rub soak and cooking time together to make sure dinner would be ready on-time. Dinner was planned for 6 pm on Sunday, so everything concerning the ribs needed to start around 6 pm Friday night with cooking to start on Saturday morning at 6 am…so much for sleeping in. We have a toddler, so who do I think I’m kidding about sleeping in?!

Once you figure out cooking timetables, turn your ribs over, meaty side down, and remove the white membrane from the back of the ribs using your hands and a paper towel. Apply the rub by coating the ribs with a generous layer on all sides; shake off any excess. Place your ribs on a baking pan or large casserole dish, cover, and place them in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

After 12 hours set your precision cooker to 152°F (67°C) and remove the ribs from the refrigerator. Cut your rack of ribs into 3-4 piece sections and place them into vacuum seal bags and add four drops of liquid smoke (shake bottle before you add droplets). To achieve better sealing results, fold down the top edge of your vacuum seal bags a couple inches before placing your ribs into the bag. This way any food debris or juices is on the inside portion of the bag and not the outside surface, which will negatively effect how well the bag seals.

If you don’t own a FoodSaver you can use Ziploc bags. It takes a little bit more effort to ensure you get the air out of the bag though. Once you’ve added the ribs and liquid smoke to the bags don’t seal them shut. Instead, submerge one bag of ribs at a time into the sous-vide bath and use the water to displace the air surrounding the ribs inside the Ziploc bags. Allow the top of the Ziploc to slowly sink into the water and close the seal once you get as much air as you possibly can without burning yourself or allowing water in the bag.

Cover the pot you’re using with a lid or aluminum foil. Let ribs cook for 24 hours at 152°F (67°C). Water will evaporate, but not as quickly as you’d expect if you cover the bath. Over a four period I noticed just under half a liter had evaporated. Before I went to bed I added an additional liter to the bath to ensure there was enough water overnight.

About 15 minutes before the ribs will be done, fire up half of your grills burners and set them to medium heat. I have a Weber gas grill and there are only three burners, so I turned on two of the three leaving the middle burner off. Let the grill heat up for 10 minutes and clean of the grates with a wire brush.

Remove your ribs from the bath when cooking is complete and open the bags. Remove each section of ribs from their bags and using a paper towel gently dry them off.

Grease your grill with a little vegetable oil to prevent any sticking. Add ribs face up on the coolest portion of the grill. For me it was over the middle burner since it was off. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until ribs are heated through and dry to the touch. Apply a generous layer of sauce and move the ribs to the hotter section of the grill still face up. Cover and cook for about 7-9 minutes or until sauce is mostly dry. Add another layer of sauce. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes or until sauce is sticky to the touch. Remove ribs from the grill and add one final layer of sauce before they arrive at the table.

“Great Balls of Fire” Onion Rings (Baked)


  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rings
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (don’t get Italian style like I did)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Pan spray

Prior to baking, tenderize onions by placing the sliced rings into a large baking dish and pour 1-quart buttermilk over them. Not every onion will be submerged, which is fine. Cover and store in the refrigerator to tenderize for four hours prior to breading.

Preheat over to 425°F and remove tenderized onions from the refrigerator. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Take one onion at a time and remove it from the buttermilk and dip it in the egg whites. Shake off excess egg and dip it into the breadcrumb mixture and coat it evenly on all sides.

Remove breaded onion rings from breadcrumb mixture and place it on the baking sheet. Do not overlap coated onion rings and once the baking sheet is covered with breaded onions, spray the tops with the pan spray to help them get crispy.

Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until they’re brown and crispy. Halfway through cooking make sure to flip onion rings over so they can brown on the other side. Allow 5 minutes to cool before serving.


Cheesy Top Gun One-Liners Corn Bake


  • 30 oz frozen whole kernel corn (thawed)
  • 8 oz pkg of cream cheese cubed
  • 6 oz of sharp cheddar cheese sauce (Cheez Whiz)
  • 4 strips of bacon diced
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small skillet cook diced bacon. Spoon out bacon pieces and place them on a plate with a paper towel to remove excess grease.

In a four-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and garlic powder to make a roux. Stir in milk, cream cheese and cheddar cheese sauce.

Cook by stirring constantly to prevent scorching until thickened and bubbly. Stir in corn and bacon. Transfer mixture to a two-quart casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes.


Bush’s Dinner Dressed Up Baked Beans


  • 28 oz can of Bush’s Best Original Baked Beans
  • 1/4 cup white onion diced
  • 4 strips of bacon diced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar (according to taste)
  • 4 tbsp yellow mustard

In a small skillet cook onions and bacon until onions are translucent, roughly 5 minutes. Spoon out onions and bacon in an effort to remove as much grease as you can and set them aside.

In a medium saucepan combine Bush’s beans, brown sugar, mustard, onions, and bacon over medium heat. Slowly bring to a low simmer to blend ingredients.

If you prefer your beans a bit sweeter gradually add more brown sugar according to your taste. If tangy is more your speed add more mustard. Once you find your ideal mixture, cover and set to a low temp to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

Goose’s Garlic Green Beans


  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans, garlic salt, and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add water and cover and steam 4-6 minutes. Steam longer for softer green beans or if you prefer more crisp vegetables shorten steaming time.

Foodapalooza in When Harry Met Sally
February 10, 2016
When Harry Met Sally, meals n movies

If you’ve ever wondered how Meg Ryan became so popular with romantic comedies, then you’re just like me and you’ve never seen When Harry Met Sally. Harry and Sally share an amazingly complex relationship over many years. What starts out as simply sharing a ride from Chicago to New York results in a deep connection over many years which neither one of them even thought was remotely possible when they graduated college.

My wife, like many others when they find out, was stunned to discover I had never seen When Harry Met Sally and quickly decided this would be the movie she’d share a Meals n Movies night with me. Sure it came out and 1989, which was 10 years after I was born and extremely popular, but it was never one of those movies that appeared on my “watch” radar. I recognize it when we play Scene It and I can even answer some basic questions about it, but I’ve never had a burning desire to see it.

Having now watched When Harry Met Sally I’m glad my wife decided to share a Meals n Movies night featuring this wonderful movie. It’s easy to see how Meg Ryan snagged a lot of rom-com roles over the past 20 plus years.

When Harry Met Sally is filled tons of food for you to a dinner, including an appetizer if you wanted, and share with friends. The hardest part about dealing with all the food you have to choose from in this movie is narrowing down what you’re going to make—seriously. Choose something quick and easy like a salad and sandwiches, like we did, or go all out and make a Hungarian dish which is referenced to in the movie.

Food Appearances:

  • Grilled sandwich of sorts, onion rings, and soda (@8:13)
  • Chefs salad, oil and vinegar on the side, apple pie ala mode with strawberry ice cream on the side, vanilla ice cream, and real whip cream from a can (@8:46)
  • Bloody Mary mix, regular tomato juice, and lime (@17:54)
  • Red wine (@23:30)
  • Coffee (@30:57)
  • Grocery store scene with numerous cereal boxes, avocados, squash, carrots, heads of lettuce, salad bar preparation area with numerous options for a large salad (@35:50)
  • Glass of orange juice (@36:10)
  • Duck (@36:26)
  • Paprikash and pecan pie (@40:20)
  • Deli sandwiches, pickles, cottage cheese, Dr. Browns soda (@44:39)
  • Champagne and beer (@48:45)
  • White wine (@53:00)
  • Chocolate mouse pie (@1:06:07)
  • Dinner roll, green salad, martini (@1:15:48)
  • Peanut M&Ms, tea, and biscuits/cookies (@1:17:00)
  • Pea pod shrimp (@1:19:34)
  • Desserts tray (@1:20:44)
  • Hot dogs, sausages, onions, sauerkraut, Coke, Sprite, and Ginger Ale (@1:23:14)
  • Mallomars cookies (@1:24:54)
  • Ice cream cone (@1:26:17)
  • Coconut cake with chocolate sauce on the side (@1:31:51)

So what did my wife decide to make for dinner? With so much to choose from, she settled on a turkey sandwich on rye bread with cheddar cheese, a huge chefs salad, apple pie with strawberry ice cream on the side. Although I’m a fan of all the cocktails that made an appearance in the movie, my wife prepared a bloody beer instead of a Bloody Mary.

Turkey Sandwich on Marble Rye

Ingredients (4 sandwiches):

  • 1 pound of thick sliced applewood smoked turkey
  • 1 loaf of marble rye bread
  • 1 package of deli sliced cheddar cheese (at least 8 slices)
  • 1 jar of real mayonnaise
  • 1 jar of Klausen pickle spears


I almost feel like I’m insulting your intelligence by giving you directions on how to make a turkey sandwich, unless you’re royalty and people have been waiting on you since day one. If this is the story of your life, take two slices of marble rye bread and spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread. Cut two slices of your cheddar cheese in half and place two of your now four slices diagonally across the mayonnaise side of each slice of bread. Next, add desired amount of turkey on one slice of bread and cover with second slice of bread.  Add a pickle spear on the side, which is always a welcome addition to any sandwich plate.

When Harry Met Sally, meals n movies


Chef Salad

Ingredients (Serves 4-6):

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1/4 pound of ham, diced or cut into small strips
  • 1/4 pound turkey, diced or cut into small strips
  • 3 slices cheddar cheese, diced or cut into small strips
  • 3 slices swiss cheese, diced or cut into small strips
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced or cut into small strips
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • One small package of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (halving is optional)


In a large bowl add lettuce. On top add remaining ingredients grouped together.

chef salad, when harry met sally, meals n movies



Creamy Italian Garlic Dressing


  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves

Blend all items in a food blender for 2 minutes. Makes approximately 1 1/4 cups and must be refrigerated.


Desert was apple pie (Mrs. Smith’s) and strawberry ice cream (Edy’s), which was store bought instead of homemade and were still delicious!

apple pie, when harry met sally, meals n movies

The Bloody Beer recipe my wife discovered was tasty, but I’ve had others which were much tastier. With that being said though, I would probably try and add a bit more spice than this recipe calls for to give it more of a kick, but that’s just my taste buds talking.

Bloody Beers

Ingredients (Serves 8):

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 lime wedges
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 8 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Hot sauce (such as Cholula)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 12-oz cans of light beer
  • 8 pickle spears

On a small plate mix salt and red pepper flakes. Using the lime wedges, rub the rims of the 8 pint glasses and dip the top of the glasses in the chile salt and fill with ice. Add 1/4 cup tomato juice, 1 tbsp. lime juice, a dash of both the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Pour one 12 oz light beer into each pint glass (not everything fit in my glass). Garnish with the lime wedges you rubbed the glasses with and add a pickle spear (spicy pickle for me next time).

bloody beers, when harry met sally, meals n movies

With as much food as there is to choose from in this movie, there are a lot of options for you to explore for ideas. We went with something simple since we had 3 other family members joining us for this Meals n Movies night. Everyone involved had a great time and a full stomach. I’ll admit I really did enjoy this movie and it was great to see both Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in their earlier years. I’ve always respected both of them as professionals and I’m sort of embarrassed I hadn’t sat down and watched this movie before.

I’m on deck for the next Meals n Movies night and we’re going to be watching Top Gun—stay tuned!!

Adventure, Romance, and Dinner with Romancing the Stone
January 26, 2016
movies n meals

Welcome to Meals n Movies and thanks for reading about the first experience we’ve finally captured on digital paper. If you haven’t read about how this all came about, we recommend you visit our About Us page where you’ll discover our overall concept.

We encourage you to interact with us by helping us develop a community of Meals n Moviegoers by creating a profile and sharing your feedback, ideas, and experiences with everyone. There’s too many movies out there for us to watch, so we need your help to chew through as many as we can. Some of you might want to write-up an article like this one to share with others and we encourage you to send us an email!!

Sorry for all the previews and let’s get on with the show!

Growing up I have tons of fond memories about watching movies. Unlike most kids I knew on my block, we didn’t get cable until I was well into middle-school. Why is this important? Well, during the summer it forced me to watch a lot of classic television shows on the few local channels available in the Kansas City area and when that got old I cracked open the movie cabinet in the basement which was filled with VHS movies.

Most of the movies in this homemade cabinet I had already seen dozens, maybe hundreds, of times but they never seemed to get old. As a kid I think movies got a pass on the classic “I’m bored” phrase I muttered millions of times growing up.

One of the movies I watched numerous times as a kid was Romancing the Stone. I can’t quite put my finger on why I kept watching this romantic movie as a kid except for maybe all the action in Columbia once things got rolling. The cleavage shot at the beginning of the movie had nothing to do with why I kept coming back…

If you’re unfamiliar with Romancing the Stone, it’s a entertaining action-adventure starring a young Michael Douglas (as Jack) and Kathleen Turner (as Joan). Funnyman Danny DeVito (as Ralph) also stars in this movie where a romantic-adventure writer, Joan, finds herself living in her own real-life adventure in the Columbian jungle. In her possession is a treasure map she must deliver to her sisters captures in order to save her life. Joan and Jack use the map to search for the priceless gem and face some opposition throughout their travels. In the process, they may have found a love match, which is even more priceless.

With the storyline out of the way, what food does this film feature? Unfortunately Romancing the Stone is dense on jungle scenes, action and romance but not on food. A few food appearances are made in the film which allows for a very nice dinner with adult themed drinks. Here’s some food and spirits I found in the movie while planning our Meals n Movies experience:

  • Can of tuna (@5:35), egg (@5:45), and small bottles of liquor (@6:05)
  • Champagne (@33:35)
  • T-bone steak, potato, bread, and salad (@35:00)
  • Planters unsalted peanuts (@44:45)
  • Green olives and tequila (@45:02)

My wife is a vegetarian so these food options present a dinner planning challenge. I could make her an egg salad sandwich while I enjoy a nice T-bone steak and we both share the salad. It didn’t feel like a sandwich, for her, and a steak, for him, where evenly matched so I decided to check out some Columbian cuisine and stumbled across a website focused solely on what I needed. The website is mycolumbianrecipes.com and it has a lot of great Columbian recipes to choose from. I was able to select a recipe where I could use vegetable stock, vegetable bouillon, and remove my wife’s portion before adding chicken on the last step.

I got to be honest though, my skills in the kitchen leave a lot to be desired. I have to read a recipe numerous times throughout the cooking process since I’m terrified about making a mistake. The only modification I made to this recipe was not making the homemade stock since my wife is a vegetarian. Our grocery store has some great vegetable stock options available so I figured I wasn’t choking out too much flavor by offering a vegetarian friendly dish.

You can follow the link to the recipe where you can make it exactly how Erica Dinho did, which probably tastes slightly better, or feel free to follow my directions below.

Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 2 chicken breast (bone in and skin removed is juiciest, I used boneless)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white onion
  • 1/4 cup green pepper
  • 1/4 cup red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sazon Goya with azafran
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen diced green beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes


In a medium pot bring 5 cups chicken stock to a boil. Add chicken breast to boiling stock and reduce heat to medium-low (I cooked chicken breast in chicken stock and added vegetable stock to rice mix for vegetarian friendly dish). Cook chicken breasts for 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat and leave chicken in pot to rest for 15 minutes covered. Remove and let cool, shred and set aside. Keep 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock and set aside for later.

Using the same medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in 1/4 cup onions, 1/4 cup green peppers, 1/4 cup red pepper minced garlic and cook onions until they’re translucent (about 3-5 minutes).

Add 1 cup long-grain white rice, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 chicken bouillon cube (vegetable buillon cube in our case), 1/2 tablespoon Sazon Goya. Stir ingredients until rice is coated. This takes roughly 2-3 minutes. Now add 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock in my case) to rice mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1/2 cup frozen diced carrots, 1/2 cup frozen diced green beans and cook for 7 minutes covered. Mix in shredded chicken and 1/4 cup cilantro with a fork and recover pot and cook for just 5 more minutes.

Cut fresh lime slices to add for personal taste. Use the remaining 1/4 cilantro to garnish each dish or place on the table to add for personal taste preference.

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With dinner all ready to go, I quickly made Caipirinha’s, which are a South America cocktail and since we love Mojitos, I figured it seemed only logical to have these instead. This cocktail is super quick to make, but also strong on alcohol flavor, which we’re a fan of.


Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • 1/2 lime, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 ounces cachaca
  • Ice


In a rocks glass or old fashioned glass add crushed ice. In a separate glass, I used a small plastic cup, add quartered lime and sugar. Using a muddler, crush the lime and combine the lime juice and sugar. Pour 2 1/2 ounces of cachaca over your crushed ice and add the lime and sugar mixture. If you remove the lime peels, you can garnish the glass with a slice of lime where extra lime juice can be squeezed in for more flavor. I added a half teaspoon more of sugar to my second drink and it tasted even better to me, but I like things just a hint sweeter to cut the lime juice flavor.

movie meals, meals n movies drinks

When all was said and done our bellies were full and the drinks did a good job at making a Saturday night even more enjoyable. My wife got a kick out of Romancing the Stone since it had all the cheesy features of a classic 80s film. She’s now on deck for our next Meals n Movies experience and rumor has it, it will feature When Harry Met Sally. If you want to hear about this experience, be sure and follow one of our social media accounts where we will share more details as they become available.

**If you decide to enjoy a Meals n Movies experience with Romancing the Stone, let us know by using the comments section below, our forums, or hit us up on one of our social media accounts. We would love to hear about your experience and what you decided to make!**