Monday, February 28, 2011

Grilled Italian Chicken Sliders with Tomato Jam

These are a great change from our usual sliders. Though, I like our usual sliders a lot.

The tomato jam is what makes these sliders rock. Don't skimp on it when slathering it on the buns.

Makes: 12 sliders
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Printable Recipe

Ingredients for the jam:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 t dried basil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 T fresh parsley, chopped

Ingredients for the sliders:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced into 12 slices
  • 12 small crusty dinner rolls
  • Tomato jam (from above)

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sautee for 3 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add remaining ingredients except the fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering for 20-30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced and the tomatoes are soft.

4. Remove from heat and add the parsley. Reserve.

5. Fry bacon in a skillet. Drain.

6. Preheat grill over high heat.

7. Pound the chicken out to a 1/4" thickness. Cut into squares slightly larger than the buns. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Grill until nearly done, about 2 minutes per side. Top with mozzarella cheese and let melt slightly. Remove from heat.

9. To assemble, split rolls. Top bottom roll with chicken, then a small piece of the bacon. Add tomato jam and top bun.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Creamed Sweet Corn

This is some outstanding creamed corn. Not your standard heavy-cream creamed corn, though there is cream in it. The spices really add a lot of depth to this dish. Use just-picked corn for the best results.

The original recipe calls for a sprig of fresh rosemary. I didn't have one on hand, so I took a couple pinches of dried rosemary and ground them up with a mortal and pestle.

Makes: 3 cups, 6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 T butter
  • 8 ears of fresh sweet corn
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, bruised
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 2 T yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup heavy cream

1. Sweet the onion in butter with a little salt in a large saucepan over medium heat.

2. Remove kernels (and the pulp) from corn into a large bowl.

3. Add corn to saucepan and cook over medium high heat until the corn firms up slightly.

4. Add the rosemary and sprinkle with sugar and turmeric. Stir for 2 minutes.

5. Add cornmeal and whisk well to combine.

6. Add the cream and cook until corn is softened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the rosemary and season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sriracha Pimento Cheese Dip

We made this dip for the Daytona 500 race. It is absolutely fantastic (not to mention easy)!

We use sriracha sauce whenever we can. It's not a biting hot sauce. It has a kick, but it has a nice smooth taste. Most grocery stores carry it now.

I found the original recipe in a blog on the Cooking Channel's website. Next time I think I might add a small can of diced green chile peppers.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb cheddar cheese, grated (I used Tillamook)
  • 1 4 oz jar pimentos, drained
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 T sriracha sauce
  • Crackers, chips, etc for dipping

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until mixed and smooth.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Parmesan Chicken Nuggets with Dipping Sauces

No, they aren't THOSE chicken nuggets. These are tender, juicy, and tasty. You could make these without the dipping sauces. The nuggets are just fine on their own. They're also fine just dipped in Ranch dressing.

We made two dipping sauces: a McDonald's Hot Mustard sauce clone, and a clone of the McDonald's sweet-and-sour sauce. The favorite was the sweet-and-sour sauce. It's really quite good.

I found the original recipe for the nuggets here.

For the nuggets:

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


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • Dipping sauces (see below)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

2. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, thyme and basil and spread out in a pie plate.

3. Working in batches, dip the chicken pieces in butter and shake off the excess. Roll in the breadcrumb mixture.

4. Place chicken on foil and bake for 10-15 minutes or until even the thickest pieces are cooked thoroughly.

For the Hot Mustard sauce:

Cook time: 30 seconds


  • 6 T prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 4 t dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 t white vinegar
  • 1 T mayonnaise
  • 1/2 t soy sauce
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper (or less, to taste)

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours for flavors to get happy.

For the Sweet-and-Sour sauce:

Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup peach preserves
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 5 t white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 t cornstarch
  • 1/2 t soy sauce
  • 1/2 t prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t garlic powder
  • 2 t water

1. Place all ingredients except water into a blender and puree.

2. Add mixture to saucepan along with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering 5-10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mini Meatloaves with Habanero BBQ Glaze and Parmesan Mashed Red Potatoes

Oh my these meatloaves are good. The kind of good you dream about the night after you've had them. You can hardly sleep in anticipation of the leftovers... if there are any.

You can modify the heat to suit your tastes by using a different salsa in the sauce/glaze.

And the mashed potatoes? They rock too. On the side we had sauteed carrots.

The original recipe can be found here.

For the meatloaves:

Makes: 16 mini meatloaves
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 T milk
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 T Montreal Steak Seasoning (see below or use McCormick's)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (I used Russ & Franks Sassy)
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used Mrs. Renfro's Habanero)
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2. Place onion, celery and green pepper into a blender. Pulse until chopped, but not quite pureed. Squeeze out any excess moisture.

3. Place beef into a large bowl. Add onion mixture.

4. Whisk egg with milk and add to beef, along with the bread crumbs and steak seasoning.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, salsa, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour half of the sauce onto the meat and combine all ingredients well. Reserve the remaining sauce.

6. Spray 2 1/2 cup muffin pans with non-stick spray. You'll need about 16 muffin cups. Spoon the meat mixture into each cup, filling almost completely. Spoon remaining sauce over each cup.

7. Bake 20 minutes or until centers are done.

For the potatoes:

Makes: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

  • 2 1/2 lbs red potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place the potatoes and garlic in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 25 minutes or until potatoes are done.

2. Drain potatoes and let cool slightly.

3. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add butter, milk, and salt and mash until potatoes are the desired consistency.

4. Stir in cheese and serve.

For the steak seasoning:

Makes: About 1/2 cup


  • 4 T salt
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T dried minced onion
  • 1/2 T dried minced garlic
  • 1/2 T red pepper flake
  • 1/2 T dried thyme
  • 1/2 T dried rosemary
  • 1/2 T dried fennel

1. Place all ingredients into a spice grinder and grind until a coarse powder.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Maple Chicken Wings

These wings are insanely easy and even more insanely good. They will disappear in minutes, trust me!

Make sure you use a disposable aluminum pan for cooking these.

I found the original recipe here. You can serve this as appetizers, or as a main. I might try the same technique again soon, but instead use boneless chicken thighs.

Makes: 4 main servings, 8 appetizers
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 3-4 lbs chicken wings
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 cup lite soy sauce
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T onion powder
  • 1/2 T black pepper
  • 1/2 T red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 cups real maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cut off wing tips and divide at the joints. Place in a large disposable aluminum baking pan.

3. Add remaining ingredients. Toss to coat.

4. Place plan on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Toss the wings every 20 minutes to coat in liquid. The sauce will thicken as it cooks.

5. Increase the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss wings again an additional 45 minutes. Check wings every 10 minutes to make sure they don't begin to burn. You want a nice, dark, golden color.

6. Serve wings drizzled with sauce from pan. You'll also need lots of paper towels!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cajun Potato Salad

This is definitely our new go-to potato salad. I mean, this is just good. Boiling the potatoes in crab boil is such a simple brilliant idea. The flavor isn't over-powering, but it's there and it's yummy!

This is another fantastic recipe from Louisiana Cookin', which is by far my favorite food-related magazine. Well, it's tied with Chile Pepper magazine. That means it's really good!

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 2 1/2 lb small red new potatoes
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 T cayenne pepper
  • 1 3 oz package dry crab boil (I used Zatarain's)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1. Place enough water in a pot to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil.

2. Add 1/4 cup of salt, cayenne pepper, the crab boil bag and the potatoes. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until the potatoes are done, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool.

3. You can peel the potatoes or leave the skin on. Dice the potatoes into a large bowl.

4. In another bow, mix the mayonnaise, celery, green onions, mustard, salt and pepper and the chopped boiled eggs. Pour mixture in with the potatoes and mix.

5. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Frito Chili Cheese Dogs

I've made a lot of chilies this year. Some with beef chunks, some with ground beef. Not that you can't interchange the two. This is definitely my favorite one that has ground beef in it.

I served this on some Frito chili cheese dogs and also ate it right out of the bowl. Good eats!

The original recipe came from Southern Food on I made a few changes.


Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 4 oz can green chile peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can beans (pinto, dark or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 t black pepper

1. Brown ground beef with onions in a large skillet.

2. Add the garlic, jalapeño and bell peppers and cook for 2 more minutes.

3. Add the can of chile peppers, cans of tomatoes (undrained) and the beans. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and continue simmering, uncovered) for 15 minutes.

4. Continue simmering, uncovered, another 20 minutes until the beans are done.

Frito Chili Cheese Dogs

Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 2 hot dog buns, split
  • 2 hot dogs
  • 1/2 cup chili (from above recipe)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 handfuls of Frito chips, crushed

1. Grill hot dogs. Lightly toast buns.

2. Place dogs in buns. Top with chili, cheese, and crumbled Fritos. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs with Noodles

It warmed up a bit the other day, so I decided to fire up the grill and cook some chicken thighs.

This chicken has great taste. It pairs well with the noodles. The original recipe came from Nibble Me This.

Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 3 T peanut butter
  • 1 dried red chili pepper, crushed (or substitute 2 teaspoons red chili pepper flake)
  • Thai noodles (see below)

1. Combine the sauce, peanut butter and pepper. Place chicken in a baggie and add the liquid. Marinade in fridge for 2 hours.

2. Heat grill over high heat. Shake of excess marinade and grill chicken 5 minutes per side. Reduce heat, and finish cooking chicken over indirect heat, about 5-10 more minutes.

Thai Noodles

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes


  • 8 oz noodles, cooked
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 t teriyaki sauce
  • 3 t peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 t honey
  • 1 1/2 t fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup peas (if frozen, thaw first)
  • 1/4 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

1. Heat a wok over medium high heat. Add the stock, teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, honey, ginger, bell pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well.

2. Add the noodles, peas and carrots. Mix to coat. Heat through, then remove from heat.

Friday, February 18, 2011

PB and J Donuts

These came out just fantastic! I can't wait to make them again, trying different flavors!

The original recipe came from Pepperidge Farm.

Makes: 9 donuts
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 T water
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 T heavy cream
  • 1 T confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 17.3 oz package pastry sheets, thawed
  • 4 t raspberry jam ( can substitute other flavors)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Combine the peanut butter, cream and confectioners' sugar. Mix until smooth.

3. Unfold a pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll out just enough to smooth out the dough. Using a 3" round cookie cutter, cut the dough into 9 rounds. Transfer to a baking sheet.

4. Place 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture in the middle of each dough circle. Add 1/2 t of the jam, making sure to leave room at the edges.

5. Mix the egg with the water. Brush the edges of each dough circle with the mixture.

6. Unfold other sheet of dough and roll slightly. Cut into 9 more 3" circles. Place circles over the filling and seal at the edges with your fingers. Cut a small slit in the top of each pastry.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes then dust with confectioners' sugar.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Smoked Sausage and Corn Bisque

This is a great lunch meal. Or you can have it for dinner too. I made a big ole batch for my lunches at work this week. I used a package of frozen local corn from My Dad's Sweet Corn. I am getting low on last year's corn, and we won't get any fresh corn until after July 1.

The original recipe can be found here.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb smoke sausage, cut into cubes
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/8 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups whole kernel corn
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 T fresh parley, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook extra sharp)

1. Clean potatoes. Place in a pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil and continue boiling until fork tender, about 14 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until somewhat tender.

3. Add the flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Stir and continue cooking for a minute.

4. Add the milk. Increase heat to high and boil, stirring often. Let boil, while stirring, for 1 minute.

5. Add the corn and sausage and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Add the cooked potatoes and heat until they are warmed through.

7. Serve topped with cheese and chopped parsley.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I always love a big ole bowl of jambalaya. Anita? Not so much, specially if there's andouille in it.

This version is a little different. I usually make my jambalaya in a Dutch oven. This recipe calls for starting it in a Dutch oven but finishing it in the oven. You could skip the oven part and do it all in the Dutch oven.

Makes: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 lb andouille sausage, cut into 1/4" slices
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/4 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t sweet paprika
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 14 oz can diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb medium shrimp (20-24 count), peeled and deveined
  • 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Place andouille, onion, celery, green and red peppers, thyme, oregano, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until the onions are starting to get tender.

3. Add the rice, tomatoes (with their juices) and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook 10 minutes.

4. Place mixture in a casserole dish. Top with the cooked chicken, and cover with foil. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the rice is done.

5. Add the shrimp, parsley, and green onions and bake another 50-10 minutes or until the shrimp and bright pink and done.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

This a great, fast stir-fry recipe. The sauce is really good.

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


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/4" dice
  • 6 T cornstarch
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 cups peanut oil, plus more
  • Cooked rice


  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1/2 white pepper
  • 1 t rice wine

1. Mix together all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.

2. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet.

3. Place cornstarch in a small bowl. Add chicken pieces and cover completely. Shake off excess and fry in oil until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and drain.

4. Remove oil from wok and discard. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the onion for about 1 minute.

5. Add the peas and carrots and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add sauce and chicken to wok and mix well. Serve hot over rice.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Calzones

Happy Valentine's Day!

These were so fun to make! We had them last night as a kind of Happy Birthday for Anita/Happy Valentine's Day dinner.

We served them with our homemade marinara sauce which is really, really good. You can use store-bought too if you wish, but homemade is very easy to make.

Makes: 8 4" calzones
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 2 1/2 t yeast
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (or more)
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup wheat flour

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1/4 cup pepperoni, chopped
  • 2 links Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Marinara sauce (see our recipe)

1. Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water and let set for 5-10 minutes or until yeast has bloomed.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flours and salt. Add in the yeast mixture and oil. Cover, place in a warm place, and let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

3. Draw a heart pattern on paper or wax paper. Our pattern ended up being about 4" across the widest section. You can make them smaller if you want appetizer-sized calzones.

4. Preheat oven to 400 F.

5. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough in small portions at a time. Cut out using your heart pattern.

6. Spread about 1 tablespoon of marinara on one piece of dough, leaving a gap along the edges. Top with pepperoni, cheese and Italian sausage. Cover with another heart-shaped piece of dough, pinch down edges with your fingers and then crimp with a fork. Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough.

7. Bake 10-20 minutes or until browned and dough is fully cooked. Serve with additional marinara sauce for dipping.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Red Sauce and Italian Sausage Spaghetti

One of my favorite new shows on the Cooking Channel is Extra Virgin, with Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos. Gabriele makes awesome, easy Tuscan Italian dishes. He and Debi make great hosts. I highly recommend the show.

On an episode that aired recently, Gabriele made an authentic red sauce spaghetti. I planned on making it exactly as he did, but due to a lack of fresh basil and the need to use up some Italian sausage I had on hand, I had to make a few changes.

Anita proclaimed this the 'best spaghetti I've ever made' and that I can 'stop looking now', meaning I don't need to continue looking for other spaghetti recipes.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 28oz can whole tomatoes (use a good quality tomato)
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 medium red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage links, removed from casings
  • 1 lb dried spaghetti (I used thin)
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook until done. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Meanwhile, place the tomatoes (with their juices) in a food processor and process until smooth.

3. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stir, and cook for another minute.

4. Add the tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and continue simmering for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce thickens.

5. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, cook the spaghetti per package instructions and drain well.

6. Add the basil and the Italian sausage and heat through. Add the spaghetti and mix well, getting it well covered in the sauce.

7. Serve topped with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chipotle Ham Wraps

Simple, tasty wraps. We had these for lunch last weekend.

Make sure you use a salsa that isn't too runny or you'll end up with a mess!

The original recipe can be found here.

Makes: 2 wraps
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 9" tortillas
  • 1 small avocado, pitted, peeled, smashed
  • 1 1/2 T mayonnaise
  • 1 t fresh lime juice
  • 2 t chopped chipotles with adobo sauce
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 6 slices deli ham
  • 1 cup lettuce, shredded
  • 2 T salsa

1. Warm the tortillas in the oven.

2. Combine the avocado, mayonnaise, lime juice, chipotles, salt, and cumin in a small bowl.

3. Spread half of the avocado mix over each tortilla, leaving a 1" border around the edges.

4. Place 3 slices of ham along center of each tortilla. Add 1/2 cup lettuce and spoon half of the salsa over each. Roll up and serve.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Club Sandwich Pinwheels

This is another great recipe from my favorite blog, Plain Chicken. It's an adaptation on one from Pillsbury.

I could think of a hundred variations on this. I can't wait to try it with Swiss cheese, or maybe add olives, etc. You can serve this as an appetizer or lunch, or even dinner.

Makes: 12 pinwheels
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 11oz can Pillsbury Refrigerated Crusty French Loaf dough
  • 1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 slices turkey sandwich meat
  • 6 slices ham sandwich meat
  • 6 slices roast beef sandwich meat

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

3. Unroll the dough. Spread cheese over dough, leaving about a 1" border around the edges.

4. Top dough with sandwich meats, spreading them out evenly. Sprinkle with bacon.

5. Roll dough into a log starting along the longest edge. Cut 4-5 slits on top of the loaf.

6. Place on baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool then cut into 1" slices. Serve.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cheeseburger Sliders

We made these for the Superbowl the other night and they disappeared like they were gold. I'd make these again in a heartbeat.

I found the recipe at the Big Red Kitchen. And yes, they do taste like White Castle sliders!

Makes: 18 sliders
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 27 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 cup dried onion flakes
  • 2 lbs ground beef (80/20 or 75/25. Do not use lean)
  • 1/2 t seasoned salt
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese (or American cheese)
  • 18 potato bread rolls
  • 18 dill pickle slices
  • Ketchup and Mustard, for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Spread the onion flakes evenly across a 9" x 13" baking dish.

3. On a cutting board, using your hands, flatten the ground beef out to a 9" x 13"x shape. Transfer to the baking dish, on top of the onions. Season with seasoning salt.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Drain grease. Cover beef with cheese slices and return to oven until cheese melts, 2-5 minutes.

5. Cut beef into 18 patties. Slice rolls open. Top with beef and a pickle slice. Serve with mustard and ketchup for dipping.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Grilled Chicken Piccata

This great recipe came from one of my favorite blogs, Plain Chicken.

The chicken and pasta with sauce came out fantastic. Both went well with our sauteed carrots.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: Overnight + 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, butterflied and halved into cutlets
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 2 cups penne pasta, cooked
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 t dried basil
  • 2 T capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Combine oil, two cloves of the minced garlic, salt, black pepper and oregano. Place chicken cutlets into a baggie and add the marinade. Let marinate overnight in the fridge.

2. Preheat grill to high. Add the chicken and cook until done.

3. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the butter and melt. Add the lemon juice, remaining garlic and the half and half. Whisk until hot.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with the basil, capers and cheese. Heat until cheese is melted. Remove from heat, add the pasta, and toss to coat.

5. Serve chicken over pasta.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

High on the Hog Dip

This thick, cheesy, dip is full of pork yummyness! We made this for the Super Bowl. You can make this in a Dutch oven or crockpot.

Start this dip a few hours before you'll be serving it as the cheese needs time to melt. The original recipe for this comes from the Cholula website.

Makes: 20+ servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • 1 lb Velveeta cheese (can use Mexican-style for more kick)
  • 1 lb cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Cholula hot sauce (or more, to taste. We used 1/2 cup)
  • 2 large bags thick tortilla chips, crackers, etc

1. Cut cheeses into small cubes and put in Dutch oven or crockpot over medium heat. Add the hot sauce.

2. Crumble sausage into a skillet and cook until done. Drain and add to cheese mixture.

3. Cook bacon in skillet until done. Drain. Crumble into cheese mixture.

4. Serve hot with chips and/or crackers.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pork-n-Pasta Toss

This is an easy, tasty meal. I had some pork tenderloin leftover from making sliders, so I just used that to make this. You could easily substitute chicken.

I may try adding some bell pepper next time instead of the tomatoes. The original recipe came from Kraft.

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 lb spaghetti noodles
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 6 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend

1. Cook spaghetti per package directions. Drain well.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the salad dressing a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the pork. Cook until the meat is done and slightly browned. Remove.

2. Add onions, garlic, and the remaining salad dressing to the skillet. Cook until the onions start to get tender.

3. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

4. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to low.

5. Add the spaghetti and mix. Add spinach and the cheese. Mix and serve.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eggs in a Basket

We made these for dinner last night and absolutely loved them!

I came across this recipe from Sunny Anderson after I bought a Wilton jumbo muffin pan a week or so ago. I think I'll make some monster cornbread in the pan next.

I did make a few minor changes to the original recipe.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 3 large russet potatoes (or 6 medium), peeled
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 2 T real maple syrup
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 3/4 cup Italian cheese blend, shredded
  • Wilton jumbo muffin pan

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Shred potatoes using a box shredder or a food processor. Place potatoes in a cheese cloth and wring several times to remove as much moisture from the potatoes as possible.

3. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add melted butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

4. Spray large muffin pan with non-stick spray. Divide potatoes between cups in the pan. Form baskets with the potatoes by pressing them against the sides of the cups. You'll want the potatoes to reach nearly to the top as they will shrink when baked.

5. Bake 40-50 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the potatoes are cooked.

6. During the last 10 minutes or so of cooking the potatoes, cook the bacon in a skillet on your stovetop (or in the oven with then potatoes, but you'll have to start them earlier). Let drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Keep warm.

7. Remove potatoes from oven and crack a single egg into each potato-lined cup. Return to oven and bake 6-10 minutes or until the whites are cooked and the yolks have set.

8. In a small bowl, mix the crumbled bacon and syrup.

9. Turn oven to broil. Divide cheese amongst cups and place under broiler until cheese melts and gets slightly golden. Remove from oven, top with bacon and syrup mix, and serve.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Couscous-Stuffed Chicken

Anita went on and on about just how much she loved this main course. The couscous is insanely good, and the sauce over the chicken ties everything together very well.

The original recipe called for 4 chicken breasts. I ended up using just two very large ones, and keeping the couscous and sauce quantities as they were originally written. Depending on how large your chicken is, you might want to adjust how many you use.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Printable Recipe


For the couscous:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 t (or more, to taste) red pepper flakes
  • 4 T sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 4 T kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 10 oz box couscous
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

For the chicken:

  • 4 medium-sized chicken breasts (or two large)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter

For the sauce:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 6 T sun-dried tomatoes, drained and julienned
  • 4 T kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 T butter
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish

To make the couscous:

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute.

2. Add the sun-dried tomatoes. Stir, and saute 2 minutes.

3. Add the olives and stock. Bring to a boil. Add the couscous. Stir. Remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes.

4. Fluff. Take 2 cups of the couscous and spread out on a plate to cool. Once cool, mix in 4 ounces of feta. Keep remaining couscous covered and warm.

For the chicken:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Make a slit in each chicken breast. Stuff with cooled couscous. Remove any couscous that sticks to the outside of the chicken as it will burn when sauteed. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil and butter in a saute pan over high heat. Add chicken and brown on both sides.

3. Transfer chicken to a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Add the reserved couscous to the oven the last 10 minutes of baking to warm it.

For the sauce:

1. Add garlic to the saute pan used to brown the chicken.

2. Deglaze pan with wine. Add the lemon juice and let reduce by half.

3. Add sun-dried tomatoes and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add olives, remove from heat, and add the butter. Stir.

Serve chicken topped with sauce and more feta, along with warmed couscous.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cajun Chili

This is a very different chili than I'm used to making.

There aren't many spices in it, but it has a nice deep flavor and a little kick. I found the original recipe here, and made a few modifications to it.

Makes: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb beef chuck, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 lb hot Cajun sausage, cut into 1/4" rounds
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 T onion powder
  • 3 T garlic powder
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 3 T Creole seasoning

1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and sausage and cook until browned.

2. Add pepper and onion and cook until just starting to get soft.

3. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 2 cups of water. Stir.

4. Bring to a boil. Add the seasonings and mix well. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and continue simmering for 1 1/2 hours. Add more water and adjust spices if needed.

5. Add the beans and cook another 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Taco Pizza

We had a pretty bad ice storm come through the area the other night. We needed some good, stick-to-your-ribs hearty food, and this Mexican pizza fit the bill! We made our own dough and taco seasonings, but you can use a store-bought ones if you wish. Our pizza didn't brown up like usual, but it was crispy good!

Use whatever toppings you want! We found the original recipe over at Real Mom Kitchen.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb ground beef (or Mexican chorizo), crumbled
  • 1 pizza dough (see below or use a store-bought dough)
  • 2-3 T taco seasoning mix (see below or use 1 package store-bought)
  • 1 16oz can refried beans
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 2.25 oz can black olives, sliced and drained
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Pickled jalapeños, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain. Add taco seasoning and mix well. Remove from heat.

3. Place dough on a pizza stone or pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly crispy.

4. Place the refried beans in a bowl and microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute or until spreadable. Spoon over the top of the dough and spread out like you would a tomato pizza sauce.

5. Top beans with beef. Add cheese, tomatoes, black olives, green onion and jalapeños.

6. Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Cut into slices and serve.

Basic Pizza Dough

Makes: Enough for 1 large pizza
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 t active dry yeast
  • 1 t sugar
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 t salt

1. Combine the water, yeast, sugar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Stir. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the salt and 1 1/2 cups of the flour to the bowl and mix by hand. Continue adding flour 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well each time. Tough will be slightly sticky. Form into a large ball.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still sticky, 3-5 minutes.

4. Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil into a large bowl and spread along sides and bottom until the bowl is well-coated. Add the ball of dough, rolling it around inside the bowl to coat it completely in the oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place somewhere warm. Let rise 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.

5. Punch dough down before using.

Taco Seasoning Mix

Makes: 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 cup dried onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt (or less)
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon dried garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flake (or more)
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. I prefer to then transfer it to a spice grinder and give it a little grind so the resulting mix is a little finer.

2. To use, add 2-3 tablespoons to every 1 pound of ground beef, along with 1/3-1/2 cups of water.

3. The mix will keep for up to a year in an airtight container in a pantry or closet.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Southwestern Pork with Polenta

This is a very tasty dish. The cheesy polenta really went well with the tender pork slices.

You can cut the pork into thinner pieces, if you want. I decided to do something different and keep them more silver dollar-sized. The original recipe came from Rachael Ray's magazine.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe

  • 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 large bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup instant polenta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz pepper jack cheese, cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1 can corn kernels

1. Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the polenta, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and some white pepper and whisk well. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add in the cream and cheese cubes. Stir, then cover and remove from heat.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the pork and cover with the chili powder. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until the meat is browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate.

3. Add the remaining olive oil, the green pepper, and the green onions and cook until just starting to get tender.

4. Add the corn add heat through. Add the pork back to the skillet and heat.

5. Serve pork and vegetable mixture over polenta.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Beef and Broccoli

This was a a great dinner. The beef came out super tender.

On the side, we had sauteed carrots.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb boneless sirloin steak
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 10oz can cream of broccoli soup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • Noodles or pasta, cooked

1. Cut the steak against the grain into thin strips. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add beef and cook until browned.

2. Add onion wedges and cook 5 minutes, stirring.

3. Add soup, water, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 5 more minutes or until the broccoli is just starting to get tender.

4. Serve over noodles or pasta.