Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs

These came out so tasty and tender.

I served this over rice, with Szechuan green beans on the side. Next time I may put the chicken on small buns and top with an Asian slaw - instant Thai Sliders!

I found the original recipe over on Blues BBQ. Think I may pick up some of their hot sauces, specially the Habanero Reserve.

Makes: 3 servings
Prep time: 2-4 hours
Cook time: 10-18 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 2 t sugar (I used Splenda)
  • 1-2 t red pepper flakes (or more)

1. Place thighs in a large baggie.

2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Seal bag and toss to coat.

3. Place baggie in the fridge for 2-4 hours to marinate.

4. Heat grill to medium-high heat.

5. Place chicken on grill and cook until done, about 10 minutes per side.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Smoked Stromboli Fattie

Ever since we got our fattie piston, Anita has been coming up with different fattie recipes.

She calls this one her Stromboli fattie.

We served these with homemade marinara sauce. They were fantastic!

For instructions on how to assemble and smoke a fattie, see our post here.

1. Take 1/4 cup each of red pepper, green pepper, and onion diced and sautée until nearly softened. Let cool slightly.

2. Dice fresh buffalo mozzarella and place in a small bowl.

3. Add in the cooled vegetable mixture and mix well.

4. Place mixture into the fattie piston and place in fridge for 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, flatten out an Italian rolled sausage into a 9x9 square on a sheet of waxed paper.

6. Remove the fattie piston contents, roll up the sausage and smoke.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream

Everyone on the food shows on TV seems to be raving about how well strawberries and balsamic vinegar go together. My SIL gave me a fancy bottle of balsamic last Christmas, so it seemed like a good time to try it out.

I have to say we both enjoyed this a lot, along with an ice cold orange cream soda. This recipe came from Ellie Krieger.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 5 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used low-fat)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T sugar (I used Splenda)
  • 1 (16 oz) container strawberries, quartered
  • 2 T fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons

1. Place the cheese, vanilla and honey into a bowl and blend well until smooth. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Place the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a bowl. Reduce to a simmer and continue simmering for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.

3. Place the strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle with the balsamic syrup and mix well.

4. Divide the cheese mixture between 4 cocktail glasses and top with the berries.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hot Chili

This isn't a super-hot, 5-alarm chili. Just a nice, easy chili with a little kick. It's a little different than the sweet and hot chili I usually make.

I found this recipe over on the Calphalon website. I'm not sure why I was there, but I of course ended up in the recipe section.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 (29 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
  • Toppings (shredded cheese, onion, jalapeños, etc)

1. Preheat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

2. Add oil and heat for 1 minutes.

3. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

4. Add in the beef, onion, bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Cook until meat is browned, stirring occasionally.

5. Drain any excess fat.

6. Stir in the bay leaves, tomatoes (and their sauce), tomato sauce and beans (do not drain).

7. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and let simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until the chili has thickened.

8. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Server with desired toppings.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Apple and Bacon Salad

At first glance, you might ask "What is that? How could THAT possibly be good?". Well, the answer is that it is a really good salad, a really perfect mix of flavors from the cold, crispy apple to the softness of the egg, crunchy bacon, and finally, a slight kick from the jalapeño aioli.

I found this recipe when watching a podcast from Good Bite a little while back.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes (assembly)
Printable Recipe


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 2 granny smith apples, cut into matchsticks (keep in ice water with some lemon juice to keep from browning)
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon cut into lardons
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 4 poached eggs, chilled
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar

1. Place the jalapeño and oil into a blender and purée until smooth, about 5 minutes.

2. In a bowl, combine the apples, green onions and bacon. Toss with vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place 1/4th of the salad in the middle of a plate and top with a poached egg. Drizzle with the jalapeño sauce. Repeat for the other 3 servings.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Here in Indiana, you're pretty much required by law to have one of these at least once a month. I found this recipe over on Dorothy McNett's website.

I have to admit that I made a minor change to the original way of making these. I like to have just a little kick to my food, so I added the teaspoon of cayenne. It really might have been more. Use your own judgment and taste to guide you.

Makes: 4 sandwiches
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut 1" thick
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 - 1 t cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T milk (can use 2%)
  • 1 1/2 cups ground cracker crumbs (use no salt or low-salt)
  • oil for frying
  • Hamburger buns, mustard, mayo, pickles, red onion, etc, as you desire, for toppings

1. Pound the pork slices into 1/4 inch thick slices.

2. Heat 4 inches of oil to 375 in a Dutch oven.

3. Lay out 3 bowls. In the first combine the flour, paprika, cayenne, pepper, and salt. In the second bowl combine the egg and milk. In the last bowl place the cracker crumbs.

4. Dip each pork slice into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and finally into the crumbs, coating completely. Place on a wire rack to set for 10 minutes.

5. Place pork slices into Dutch oven (you may need to do this in batches) and cook 2 minutes per side or until done. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

6. Serve over toasted hamburger buns with your favorite toppings. We prefer tomato, mayo, red onion, dill pickles and lettuce.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Smoked Sausage, Taters, Peppers and Onion Soup

This is the simplest meal you could possibly make. Sometimes the simplest things are the best tasting.

I was really surprised how flavorful this is. It doesn't hurt that I grilled the sausage for a little bit before slicing it into the pot. And substituting broth is a major plus.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15-25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 (lb) smoke sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces (grill first if desired)
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water (I substituted homemade chicken stock)

1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and cook over medium heat, 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Italian Beef Sandwiches

These sandwiches have a really nice taste. The beef is slow cooked for 14 hours, so it is unbelievably tender. The giardiniera and peperoncini really take the flavors over the top.

I served the beef over toasted French bread, topped with sauteed peppers and onion, and melted provolone cheese.

The original recipe came from Deep South Dish, a favorite site of ours.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 14 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 t beef bouillon
  • 1/2 t Italian seasoning
  • 1 envelope Italian dressing mix
  • 1 (3 pound) rump roast
  • 1 cup peperoncini, drained
  • 1 cup giardiniera, drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 8 slices provolone cheese

1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat add the broth. Stir in the bouillon, Italian seasoning, and Italian dressing mix.

2. Add the rump roast, peperoncini, giardiniera and garlic and reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 hours. I like to turn the roast every few hours to get an even cook.

3. Remove the beef and let rest. Cut into thin slices or chunks and return to the Dutch oven. Cook on low another 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

4. Slice bread in half. Sautee peppers and onions in 1 T of oil.

5. Spoon beef onto bread and top with peppers and onions. Cover with provolone. Place under broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.

6. Serve with a bowl of the juices, if desired, for dipping.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Marinara Sauce

This sauce is so easy to make, and it really comes out nice. The recipe came from Closet Cooking, a great food blog. My SIL gave me some awesome kalamata olives for Christmas. They really made the sauce. Use good olives and you won't regret it.

We baked the sauce along with some sliced fresh mozzarella until the cheese was a little browned and served with toasted baguettes.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Printable Recipe


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 t Italian herb blend
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful fresh basil, chopped

1. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a pan.

2. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 5-7 minutes.

3. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

4. Deglaze the pan with the wine.

5. Add tomatoes, olives, bay leaf, Italian herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and simmer for 30 minutes, letting the sauce thicken.

6. Remove from heat.

7. Remove the bay leafs and let cool slightly.

8. Place into blender and purée until the desired thickness is achieved. Be VERY careful putting hot liquid into a blender. If you have an immersion blender, use it instead.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grilled Chicken Sliders with Spicy Coleslaw

I often make grilled chicken sandwiches, but this time I wanted something a little different. I had some dinner rolls on hand, so I used them to make sliders.

These grilled chicken sliders get their kick from Scott's BBQ sauce, a great North Carolina vinegary sauce. The slaw is based on a recipe I found on Pepper Fool.

Printable Recipe

For the sliders:
Makes: 12 sliders, 3-4 servings
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15 minutes


3 chicken breasts (usually 1 package)
2 cups Scott's barbecue sauce, divided
6 slices jalepeño cheese, sliced and cut into quarters
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
12 dinner rolls (I used potato rolls)

1. Butterfly the chicken breasts and place in a large container or baggie. Add 1 cup of the BBQ sauce. Make sure all of the breasts get sauced. Let marinate for 2 hours.

2. Heat grill to medium high. Grill breasts until they reach 165 F. They will cook quickly since they are thin. Baste with more BBQ sauce on both sides.

3. Quickly grill the rolls until browned.

4. Remove breasts and cut into squares the size of the buns. Top with 2 slices of the cheese, onions, and lettuce. Place on buns and serve.

For the spicy coleslaw:
Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes


  • 1 bag coleslaw, with carrots (about 5-6 cups)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, Julienned
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, Julienned
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Serrano peppers, chopped (can substitute jalapeños)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t cumin (or to taste)
  • 1/2 T ground coriander
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

1. Mix all ingredients. The slaw gets better if refrigerated for 1 hour before serving.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

This recipe is one from Paula Deen. It has an amazing number of high ratings, so we decided to make it for a get together Anita was attending.

This pudding really is very, very good. Dangerously good. Almost scary good.

Makes: 12 servings (or... 6...)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes (to cool)
Printable Recipe


  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies (note if you put the cookies in close together, you might need 3 bags)
  • 6 to 8 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (5 oz) box instant French vanilla pudding
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (12 oz) container whipped topping or sweetened whipped cream

1. Line the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

2. Combine the milk and pudding mix in a bowl and mix well.

3. In another bowl combine the cream cheese and milk and mix until smooth.

4. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.

5. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir well.

6. Pour mixture over cookies and bananas and spread evenly. Cover with remaining cookies.

7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baked Beets in Cream

This is a very simple, very tasty side dish. I have to admit, I haven't done much with beets before. But we both really liked how this came out. It'll become a staple for us during the time beets are in season.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
Printable Recipe


3-4 medium beets, unpeeled and unwashed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 fresh lemon

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Trim beet roots and stems to 1/2". Do not wash them or cut them any further. The key here is to not get the beets wet as they will end up steaming instead of baking. If you do have to wash them or wipe them off, make sure you dry them very well.

3. Place beets in a deep casserole and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, until the beets are fork tender.

4. Remove the beets from the oven and uncover. Let cool until you can handle them.

5. Remove the roots and skins from the beets.

6. Slice beets thin. Place in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cream, salt and pepper and heat until cream is warmed.

7. Serve drizzled with fresh lemon juice.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

The folks over at Deep South Dish turn out some mighty nice recipes. We love their red beans and rice.

Just like with the gumbo we made, don't skimp on the andouille. I've made this before with smoked sausage, but it doesn't come close to the flavors you'll get more using andouille.

Makes: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 pound dried kidney beans
  • 1/2 pound of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 t oil
  • 14 oz (or more) andouille sausage (you can sub smoked sausage), sliced into 1/4" rounds or chunks
  • 4 T butter
  • Cooked rice (try the Creole Boiled Rice from NOLA Cuisine)

1. Rinse and sort beans. Place in a large pot. Add enough water to cover beans plus an inch. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes, uncovered.

2. Turn off heat, cover, and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and return to pot.

3. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until slightly limp. Add the onion, green pepper, and celery and cook until tender.

4. Add the garlic, black pepper, cayenne, basil and bay leaves. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.

5. Add contents of the skillet to the beans in the pot.

6. Add 2 quarts water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours or until the beans are tender and have thickened.

7. Add butter and melt.

8. Serve over cooked rice.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dark Chocolate Chili Bar

I used to do a pretty good job sticking to the outside aisles at the groceria, but now that I've discovered this, I'm in trouble!

Yum! It was the Atzecs (or Mayans?) that first mixed chocolate and chili, and let me tell ya, they were on to something good!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I found this great version of gumbo over on the NOLA Cuisine site. I love the fact that it uses chicken thighs, my favorite part of the chicken. You can pretty much substitute thighs in any recipe that calls for using breasts instead.

Don't skimp on the Andouille. Get the real stuff.

The original recipe calls for serving this over Creole Boiled Rice, which we did, and it was awesome. You can substitute normal white rice, but the boiled rice recipe is very simple to make and is really flavorful.

Makes: 3-4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 T Creole Seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's)
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups (or more) Andouille sausage, diced
  • 3 T garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup okra, trimmed and sliced (can use frozen)
  • 6 cups cold chicken stock
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1" cubes and seasoned with 2 T Creole seasoning
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Salt, if needed
  • 2 T parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced thin, 1/2 for garnish
  • White rice

Note: I used Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning. You can also try the Creole seasoning recipe on NOLA Cuisine's web site.

1. Mix the onion, celery and bell pepper (the Holy Trinity) together.

2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.

3. Whisk in the flour to make a blonde-colored roux.

4. Add the Andouille, 1 T Creole seasoning, and 3/4 of the onion/celery/bell pepper mixture. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are softened.

5. Add the stock, remaining Creole seasoning, okra, remaining onion/celery/bell pepper, garlic, and salt (taste to make sure you need it). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken and simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occassionally.

6. Add the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce (if desired) and 1/2 of the green onions. Heat and serve over rice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bug... of some sort

What the heck is on the wall by the computers?

Whatever it is, it doesn't look normal.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Italian Sausage Chili

This chili is really, really tasty. We're both big lovers of black olives. And smoked sausage. And beans.

Or, is this really a soup? Doesn't matter either way... it's good!

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb smoked sausage, grilled and cut into 1/2" rounds (or cut into rounds and brown)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 3/4 black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 T fresh basil, chopped (or 1 t dried)
  • 1 1/2 t baking cocoa
  • 1 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 (14 1/2 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can butter beans, rinsed and drained

1. Sauté the onion, celery, peppers and garlic in olive oil in a large soup pot until tender.

2. Add all of remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pepper Palace Apple Cinnamon BBQ Sauce

Could this be our new favorite BBQ sauce for ribs, replacing Grandma Foster's Smooth & Spicy?We picked up a few bottles of Pepper Palace's Apple Cinnamon sauce at their shop in Gatlinburg last September. We finally got to slather some on some ribs on the smoker this last weekend, and we gotta say we loved it! Just the right amount of cinnamon and spice.

According to their web site, this sauce won 3rd at the 2010 ZestFest. Awesome!

It's a nice change from your standard tomatoey or mustardy sauce. We recommend it!

Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and Pancetta

I'm often guilty of not paying enough attention to making sides. So, I'll be (hopefully) posting some new side recipes we've tried and enjoyed.

These cauliflower were absolutely delicious. Of course, anything pancetta is pretty much destined to be great!

The original recipe came from Giada De Laurentiis.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into pieces
  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flower
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (can sub low-fat)
  • 1 clove garlic, whole
  • 1 t dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 t fresh grated nutmeg (can sub dried nutmet)
  • 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and transfer cauliflower to a buttered 9x13 inch baking dish. Let cool about 5 minutes.

3. Brown the pancetta in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

4. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the flour and stir until combined. Continue stirring and cooking for 2 minutes.

5. Slowly add the milk, stirring until it is fully incorporated and there are no lumps.

6. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until thickened.

7. Stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and reserved pancetta. Heat until cheese is melted.

8. Pour sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.

9. Bake until cauliflower is completely cooked and the breadcrumbs have turned golden in color.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Smoked fatties

We decided that we'd take a shot at making our own fatties, so we bought a fattie piston. I figured, why not?

Today we fired up the WSM and Anita made three fatties, and I gotta tell ya, they were great! We're already dreaming up more fattie ideas.

We started with 3 rolls of Jimmy Dean sausage. Anita flattened them into 9" x 9" squares. (Update: It's much easier if you put the sausage into a 1 gallon resealable bag. Then use your roller to flatten the sausage to the edges of the bag. Cut along the edges of the bag to expose a perfectly square sausage ready for filling). Then, we stuffed whatever filling we wanted into the fattie piston and let that chill for about 10 minutes. The filling then went onto the sausage square and was rolled up, ready for the smoker.

Here's the potato/Tillamook cheddar/ham/onion filling getting ready to get rolled up. Anita fried the potato and onion before hand. We sprinkled this fattie with some Dizzy Pig Raising the Steaks rub.

Next fattie was a mix of fresh buffalo mozzarella and diced mushrooms. We sprinkled a little garlic salt on top of this fattie for a little extra kick.

The last one had bacon and Tillamook cheddar as a filling.

As an added twist, we wrapped this fattie in a bacon weave. This was my first attempt at this, and I have to say it was pretty easy. Thanks to Cowgirl's Country Life for her great post on making the weave.

After you make the weave, you just roll the fattie up in it.

Everyone then went onto the smoker at 225° F for about 3 1/2 hours. I had a few racks of spareribs done St. Louis-style on the smoker too, along with the trimmings. I'll freeze the trimmings and toss them in the pot next time I make a soup.

Here are the final moneyshots. Great eats! We can't wait to make them again!

French Dip Sandwiches Redeux

I made an old favorite again the other day.

I modified the original recipe by adding some sauteed green peppers and onions. On the side, sweet potato matchsticks. And ya know, them matchsticks are pretty good dipped in the au jus!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Smoked Sausage and White Bean Soup

Mmmmmm..... Yummy!

This is based on a recipe from Emeril.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 24 hours 15 mins (includes overnight bean soak)
Cook time: 3 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb dried navy beans
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 T garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper

1. Rinse beans then soak in cold water overnight. Drain and rinse.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute until browned. Remove and drain.

3. Add the onions to the pot and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Add the sausage back to the pot and stir in the beans, bay leaves, thyme, chicken stock, water, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for 2 1/2 - 3 hours stirring occasionally.

5. Add salt and pepper as desired. Mash some of the beans using a potato masher. Simmer another 30 minutes, uncovered, until beans are tender and beginning to fall apart.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato Butter

A few weeks ago we spent the night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Edinburgh, IN. We ate at the Great American Grill there at the hotel. We've always had really good service and food there.

That night I ordered a tilapia with a sun-dried tomato sauce that I thought was quite tasty, so I set out to duplicate it. It does have a fairly strong caper flavor, which usually isn't a good thing for me, but the addition of the wine, tomatoes and lemon juice really balanced it out. I think I came pretty close, except maybe this version is a little thinner. I've added more cook time to the second step to counter that. You can use this on fish, chicken, and just about anything.

We had it over sautéed chicken thighs along with roasted asparagus.

Makes: About 2 cup, enough for 4-6 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2 T capers
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Add the wine to a small sauté pan over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until it reduces by half.

2. Add in the capers, lemon and butter a little at a time and whisk to combine. Cook another 5 minutes until thickened.

3. Remove from heat and add parsley and sun-dried tomatoes.

4. Serve over fish, chicken, or whatever you have!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tex-Mex Meatloaf with Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

This is some kicked-up meatloaf, for sure! We love traditional meat-and-potatoes meatloaf, but this variation was really, really good. And the potatoes were just insanely good!

This is a variation on this recipe by Emeril. Serve along with some roasted green beans.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Printable Recipe

Ingredients for the meatloaf:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced (you can substitute a green bell pepper, but the poblano will give you much better flavor. I've started to replace green bell peppers with poblanos whenever I can.)
  • 2 T garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 t Emeril's Southwest Essence
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 lb Mexican chorizo sausage, crumbled
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chops
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 2 T pepper jelly (I used a nice jalapeño jelly that was really yummy and not hot)
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, plus 1 T adobo sauce
  • Cheddar mashed potatoes (see below)

1. Place oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper and poblano until very soft, about 6-8 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, Essence, salt, and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

3. Preheat oven to 350° F.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled vegetables, ground sirloin and chorizo, tortilla chops, eggs, and heavy cream and mix until well-combined. Transfer to a 6x9 loaf pan and form into a smooth loaf.

5. Place the chili sauce, pepper jelly, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon about 2/3rd of the mixture over the meatloaf while reserving the remaining 1/3rd.

6. Bake loaf until done, about 1 hour (internal temperature should be 150° F). Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve drizzled with reserved sauce.

Cheddar Mashed Potatoes:

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for the Cheddar Mashed Potatoes:

  • 3 1/2 pounds large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t ground white pepper
  • 8 oz sharp Cheddar, grated (recommend Tillamook)

1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with 1" of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until fork-tender, about 12-15 minutes.

2. Strain the potatoes in a colander and return to the saucepan over medium-high heat to evaporate any remaining water.

3. Lower heat and add the butter, sour cream, heavy cream, salt and pepper.

4. Use a potato masher to mash into desired consistency.

5. Add cheese and stir until melted and combined. Serve.