Monday, January 30, 2012

Club Sandwich Puffs

I love the Plain Chicken blog. I follow it daily.

These club sandwich puffs are great snacks for the big game. You can mix it up, using any sandwich meats or cheeses you have on hand. You can also use different mustards in each puff.

I used a large muffin pan instead of a mini-muffin pan, so I couldn't get 24 puffs out of a tube of crescent rolls. Instead ended up with about 12 or so of them. It all comes down to how much you stretch the dough and if you use a large pan or small. As long as you have enough room for the filling, they'll turn out great.

Makes: 12-24 puffs
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 oz thin ham sandwich meat, chopped (3-4 slices)
  • 1 oz thin turkey sandwich meat, chopped (3-4 slices)
  • 1 oz thin roast beef sandwich meat, chopped (2-3 slices)
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked,drained, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 8 oz tube crescent dinner rolls

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Combine the sandwich meats, bacon, onion powder, cheese, egg and mustard in a small bowl.

3. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. You can also use a large muffin pan.

4. Unroll the crescent roll dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pinch the seems together and flatten out with a rolling pin. Cut into 24 squares if using a mini-muffin pan, or 12 if using a large muffin pan.

5. Press dough squares into the muffin cups and press along the edges, forming a cup.

6. Spoon sandwich meat mixture into each cup. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Macaroni Salad

This fantastic salad is a combination of macaroni and olive salads we found on the internet. Like with any recipe, it's fun to add/remove ingredients depending on what you have on hand and what your individual tastes are.

This salad gets better after getting happy overnight in the fridge. Most of the inspiration comes from the Deep South Dish, a great blog, well worth following!

Makes: 8-12 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 cups uncooked pasta (elbow macaroni, mini shells, whatever you have)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish (or roasted red bell pepper, diced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard (or 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon basil, chopped (or a large pinch of dried)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 6 radishes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of sliced radishes
  • 1 big handful Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 big handful pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, cubed
  • 2 green onions, sliced

1. Cook pasta per package instructions.

2. In a bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, milk, relish, mustard, Creole seasoning, and basil. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

3. Stir the mayo mixture into the pasta. Add in the remaining ingredients, blending carefully. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving. You may need to add more mayo or sour cream if the salad gets too dry.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bacon Cheddar Waffles

Why not do something fun next time you're making waffles?

This great recipe from Tillamook (makers of my favorite cheddar cheese) makes a nice fluffy, tasty waffle. With cheese and bacon in it, you can't go wrong! Make sure you use real maple syrup, warming it up just a tad before serving.

Makes: 6 waffles
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (or more) Tillamook® sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 pieces thick cut bacon
  • Butter (softened) and warmed real maple syrup, for serving

1. Cook bacon.

2. Preheat your waffle iron.

3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and oil. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Continue whisking until the batter is smooth.

4. Fold in the cheese.

5. Add batter to waffle iron. Top with a slice of bacon. Cook per manufacturers instructions.

6. Serve with softened butter and warmed maple syrup.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fried Chicken Po'Boy

Yep, they're messy. And messy means they're good! You can pick them up and eat them as sandwiches, and you should. But, if you don't, it's still ok.

I made these sandwiches using brined chicken breasts. You could also cut the chicken into nuggets.

Makes: 3 sandwiches
Prep time: 1 day
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 quart buttermilk
  • 1 cups water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large loaf French bread, cut in half lengthwise and then into thirds
  • Gravy (see below)

1. Place chicken in a large resealable baggie. Add buttermilk, water, salt, sugar, lemon pepper, rosemary and sage. Seal and shake to combine. Place in refrigerator overnight.

2. Heat oil to 350 F.

3. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, remove chicken from brine and coat well in flour. Fry for 10-15 minutes (cook time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken pieces) or until chicken is done. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

4. Serve chicken over French bread, cut into sandwich-sized pieces, topped with gravy and sprinkled with additional rosemary as desired.

For the Gravy:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch (or more)

1. Heat a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add butter and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms, green onion and pepper and saute for another 10 minutes.

3. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.

4. Combine starch and water in a cup and slowly stir into the gravy. Whisk to combine. Gravy should thicken. If not, add another batch of water and corn starch.

5. Remove from heat and serve.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pinto Beans

I've been trying to use more and more dried beans in my cooking. I think they're tastier than the canned ones. And cheaper.

Have you noticed that some canned beans aren't just beans? There can be other things in the cans, including sugar and who-knows-what else. So I'll stick with just beans whenever I can.

These pinto beans came out very tasty and tender. They may take a little while to make, but they are worth it.

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


  • 1 lb dried pinto beans, soaked overnight, drained
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter, halved
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 small red onion, halved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Put beans into large pot. Add stock and half of the butter. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Add the water and onion and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

3. Add remaining butter and salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, for another hour or until beans are tender. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spicy 4-Meat Po'Boy with Kaw-Cajun Comeback Sauce

We've become very addicted to these sandwiches and Kaw-Cajun comeback sauce. You can put the sauce on anything, but it really, really works great on po'boys. I keep a squeeze bottle of it on hand at all times.

The sauce is an original from a friend of ours, Chez John. Swing by his blog and tell him hi, and while you're there, drool over the great food pics.

The sandwich idea came from a guest post on the Cajunlicious blog. Jessica posts great looking Cajun-themed foods, so swing on by her place too and tell her hi too! You'll be drooling over her food too!

For the po'boys:

Makes: 2-4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 tube Pillsbury French bread
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • Your favorite 4 Sandwich meats (salami, ham, olive loaf, whatever you like!)
  • Sliced cheeses
  • Roasted red peppers, cut into strips
  • Jalapeño slices

1. Open dough package and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake bread per package instructions. Let cool slightly, then cut in half lengthwise. Add remaining ingredients and return to oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

For the Kaw-Cajun Comeback Sauce:

Makes: A big ole batch, but its never enough!


1. Blend all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least one hour before using.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baked Ziti

I have to say I was pretty happy with how this recipe came out. I used a good mozzarella, and I think that made a difference. If you don't have fresh mozzarella, substitute 1 pound of shredded.

I wanted a bit of heat, so I added red pepper flake to the Italian sausage when I cooked it.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Crumble sausage into a large skillet and cook until done.

3. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are softened.

4. Add in the tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste and continue simmering while the pasta cooks.

5. Cook pasta according to package instructions, minus 1 minute. You want the pasta to be slightly undercooked. Drain somewhat, but keep moist.

6. Remove skillet from heat. Add pasta and half of the mozzarella and mix.

7. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray.

8. Transfer pasta mixture to pan and spread out evenly. Top with mozzarella cheese slices and the Parmesan.

9. Bake, uncovered, 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned and good and bubbly.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grilled French Bread Sausage, Pepper and Onion Pizza

Nothing's easier than a grilled French bread pizza. Just grab a loaf of bread, halve it, toast it, top it with whatever you have on hand, and heat until the cheese melts.

Of course you can make these in the oven too, but I prefer to use the grill whenever possible. I think it adds a little more to the flavor.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 loaf French bread, halved both ways
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Brush cut sides of bread with 2 tablespoons of oil.

2. Preheat grill (or oven to 400 F). Place bread on grill, cut side down, for a few minutes or until starting to char. Remove.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add crumbled Italian sausage and cook until done. Remove.

4. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to skillet and heat. Add onion and pepper and cook until softened. Alternatively, you can roast the onion and pepper on the grill.

5. Sprinkle sausage over bread. Top with onion and pepper rings. Dollop with ricotta and sprinkle with Parmesan. Grill, cut side up, until cheese begins to melt.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jone's Diet Black Cherry Soda

I'm always on the lookout for a good diet soda. I'm not a soda aficionado, I just enjoy a nice soda every once in a while.

I picked up a four pack of Jone's Diet Black Cherry soda at the market the other day. I have to say, it was pretty darned good. I couldn't tell that it was diet at all.

I think I'll put up another four pack and try it over black cherry ice cream in a float!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Muffuletta Dip

This dip is fantastic. I found the original recipe on the Cajun Delights blog, one of my favorite places to go for all things Cajun!

Normally we make our own olive salad when making muffulettas. I used a pre-made salad this time, and it was pretty darned spicy I have to admit. I loved the kick!

We served this dip with toasted baguettes, but you can also have it with crackers, such as wheat thins. If the dip is too thick, just stir in a bit more of the half-and-half.

Makes: 12 or so servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup Italian olive salad, drained
  • 1/2 cup salami, diced (I used sandwich meat)
  • 1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 1/4 lb provolone cheese, diced (I used about 6 slices of deli cheese)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) Cajun seasoning
  • Tabasco, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons (more or less) half and half

1. Combine all but the cream in a bowl. Add half and half slowly, until dip is the desired consistency.

2. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Stir before serving and add a bit more cream if needed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Queso Dip

It's a big ole pot of yummyness!

I made up this great dip from the Grill Grrrrl for an afternoon of football watching. I served it up in a fondue pot, but you can just serve it out of a bowl if you want. If you don't like heat, use regular chorizo and beans.

Makes: A big batch
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb Mexican chorizo (I used hot)
  • 1 15 oz can chili beans, undrained (I used hot)
  • 1 16 oz Velveeta Mexican Mild, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) hot sauce
  • Big bag of chips (we used Frito Scoops)

1. Crumble chorizo into a hot skillet and cook until done. Drain. (At this point I transferred the chorizo to a fondue pot set to Low and finished cooking the dip there.)

2. Add beans and heat.

3. Add cheese. Stir and continue heating and stirring until melted.

4. Add the milk, chili powder and hot sauce. Stir. Once warmed thru, smash the beans slightly with a fork or back of a large spoon.

5. Serve hot with chips. Add more milk if the dip becomes too thick.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spiced Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze

This is quite easily our favorite recipe from Giada de Laurentiis.

The glaze on these chops is outstanding. I'm going to try it on boneless, skinless chicken thighs next.

Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bone-in pork chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes, softened

1. Season pork chops with salt, pepper and the red pepper flakes.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the chops and cook 5-6 minutes per side until done. Remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile, place glaze ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for 7-9 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve chops drizzled with glaze.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Coffee-Crusted Porterhouse Steak

Anita's not a big fan of steak. So, when she went out for dinner with friends the other evening, I ran to the grocery store and picked up a porterhouse steak.

Usually, I just salt and pepper my steaks, but I thought I'd try something a little different (to me, at least). I have been drinking some Community Coffee lately, and I absolutely love it. So, I tossed some ground coffee bean in with my salt and pepper, rubbed it onto my steak real good, and tossed it on the grill.

Good eats!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee bean

1. Combine all ingredients. Rub onto steak (or pork tenderloin, or burgers!). Grill as desired. Chow down!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Smoked Onion Dip

I had the smoker fired up a few days ago for some ribs and other things, so I figured I'd throw a couple of big white onions on there too for some smoked onion dip.

This dip is super easy to make, really tasty, and it makes a big batch so its perfect for that big game on Sunday! The original recipe came from the Tasty Kitchen.

Makes: 12 servings
Cook time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (or more)

1. Smoke onion on smoker for 3 hours. (You can also grill the onion over indirect heat until tender).

2. Cut onion into quarters and place into blender. Pulse until finely chopped. Remove to a bowl.

3. Add remaining ingredients and stir.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shrimp Scampi Pizza

These are soooo delicious! They're quite easy to make.

The original recipe made a rather large batch. It really depends on how large your baguette is. The version below made enough for a single baguette about 20" in length.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • Pinch of Creole seasoning (optional)
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled, deveined and chopped (I used 20-24 count shrimp)
  • 1 baguette, halved lengthwise and crosswise

1. Preheat oven to 500 F.

2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add smashed garlic and saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and place in a food processor.

3. Add parsley, ricotta, Parmesan and Creole seasoning (if using) to food processor. Pulse until combined and creamy.

4. Add minced garlic to skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add in the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook until opaque and done. Stir in 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture. Remove from heat.

5. Spread the remaining cheese mixture on the cut sides of the bread halves and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Top with shrimp mixture and some more Parmesan cheese.

6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese has melted and bread is golden brown.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Smoked Sausage With Broccoli and Cheese

I picked up some smoked sausage on sale the other day. I usually just throw it in the Dutch oven, brown it up, and make some sort of soup.

This time I searched around a bit and found this recipe over on This time I followed the recipe exactly. Next time I think I'll substitute some freshly shredded Tillamook sharp cheddar for the Velveeta.

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


  • 1 lb smoked sausage, cut into coins
  • 2 medium bell peppers (red, green, orange... whichever you prefer)
  • 1/2 lb Velveeta cheese cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flake (optional)
  • 2 medium heats broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cups dried pasta (whatever kind you prefer)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta per box instructions. Drain.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli. Return to a boil and boil 2-3 minutes. Drain and place in an ice bath.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and brown, 1-2 minutes per side.

4. Add the bell pepper and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.

5. Reduce heat to medium. Add in the Velveeta, milk, and red pepper (if using). Stir until cheese is melted.

6. Add in broccoli and warm.

7. Serve over pasta.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Spicy Pork Chili

When I found this recipe over at Fine Cooking, I was going to make it pretty much as they had it. But, then I decided to not puree the soffrito. I kept it chunky, and it really came out great.

I roasted all of the vegetables for the soffrito on the grill. You could roast them in the oven instead, but I think there's just something better about fire-roasting them. I used dried black-eyed peas instead of canned. I just let them soak for a few hours before using them.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small head garlic (cut the root section off so the bottoms of the cloves are exposed)
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 dried New Mexico chiles
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 lb ground pork
  • 1 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 (15 oz) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • Sour cream and sliced green onions, for serving

1. Place the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeños, onion, and bell pepper in a large bowl. Add half of the olive oil and red vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Roast on a grill until dark and charred, 20-40 minutes. Some vegetables will get done roasting before others, so keep an eye on it. Alternatively, you can roast the vegetables on a baking sheet in the oven at 500 F, rotating often.

2. Let vegetables cool slightly. Stem, seed and remove the skins from the jalapeños and bell pepper. Remove skins and core from the tomatoes. Rough chop all vegetables.

3. Meanwhile, roast the dried chiles in a skillet over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Place in a bowl and add 2 cups hot water. Let soak 20 minutes or until softened. Reserve the soaking water.

4. Remove seeds from dried chiles. Place them an the two chipotles into a blender along with a few tablespoons of the soaking water. Puree.

5. In a Dutch oven or large pot, add the remaining olive oil, pork, cumin, chili powder, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Brown.

6. Add the chopped vegetables and pureed chiles, along with the rest of the soaking water, the chicken broth, and black-eyed peas. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue cooking until peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Add more salt to taste.

7. Serve topped with sour cream and green onions.