I have a slow cooker (er, crockpot) for the same reasons everyone else does. I on occasion like a great, easy meal that I can toss into the pot and not have to fuss with. A Dutch oven over low heats works just as well, specially if you need to brown something first. For this spicy spaghetti and meatball soup it doesn’t matter whether you go low-and-slow in the crockpot or Dutch oven, the end result is great. It’s like having Campbell’s SpaghettiOs™ but with much better, richer flavor, and a nice kick. And really big meatballs. Who didn’t want more meatballs in their SpaghettiOs™ when they were a kid? Well, problem solved! I used packaged frozen meatballs for this slow cooker spicy spaghetti meatball soup, but our homemade Italian meatballs (made on the stovetop or in the Char-Broil Big Easy) would be great too. Outstanding, even.
You can leave out the red pepper flake, but I think you’ll want to add at least a little. And don’t be shy with the basil either.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try out my homemade SpaghettiOs. They’re fun to make and even more fun to eat.
I was looking for something a little different for an appetizer to serve for the Superbowl. I’ve done the beef and pork meatballs, and those are great, but I wanted something new. I thought, let’s try chicken and turkey meatballs instead. But let’s make sure they aren’t bland. These fire-eater chicken meatballs are definitely not bland. They are tender and tasty by themselves, but made even more perfect with a kicked-up dipping sauce that also has a bit of sweetness to it.
I am definitely going to use the meatballs in other dishes. I’m already planning to make meatball sandwiches with them. A hoagie bun, a few fire-eater chicken meatballs, a little of the sauce and some melted habanero cheese and I’m happy! Or, serve them over pasta with a spicy Alfredo sauce (made spicy by adding it a bit of the sauce).
I used my fire-eater spice rub to give the meatballs and the sauce a great kick. You can substitute any spicy mix you like. Just don’t be shy with it.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the meatball ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
Form into balls. Depending on how you want to serve them, make smaller or bigger balls. The cook time is for balls that are golf ball-sized so you might want to adjust the cook time depending on how large you make yours.
Place balls onto the baking sheets. Do not crowd them.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they reach 165 F internal temperature.
Brush the meatballs with a bit of the sauce and return to the oven for 2-3 more minutes to 'set' the sauce.
Serve with more sauce on the side for dipping if serving as appetizers.
For the sauce
While the meatballs are cooking, place all of the sauce ingredients into a medium saucepan.
Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer, whisking often, until the sauce thickens.
Anita reminded me of this recipe the other day. It was a favorite of ours years ago, when we started our first blog, Crossroads Of America. I was just starting to learn how to cook. I am still learning every day. I have a lot left to learn. This recipe for slow cooker creamy Italian chicken was simple enough for me to not mess up, but still great tasting and looking. Over the years I’ve changed it up a bit, but that same great creamy texture and Italian flavor is still there.
The original recipe calls for using a packet of Italian salad dressing mix, which is perfectly fine. Since first making this dish I have come up with my own mix that I think has a bit more flavor. Making your own also lets you adjust the flavors to your tastes, such as adding more garlic salt or onion powder, or just more basil (I love basil).
Oh, how I dream back to the day that I cooked Alaskan King Crab legs on my Char-Broil Big Easy. Wow, that was great eatin’. I don’t ever need an excuse to chow down on some crab legs, so as I was wandering through the grocery store the other day and came upon a big ole package of Canadian wild-caught snow crab legs, I grabbed them.
The beauty of cooking crab legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy besides the fact that they taste fantastic is that they cook (well, warm up… they are already cooked) in absolutely no time at all, with no fuss at all. In no time you are devouring crab meat. Oh, and grab a bib if you’re as messy as I am when you eat crab legs. You can fit a few pounds of crab legs into the Big Easy. As long as you don’t cram them in the basket really tightly they’ll cook up just fine. I like to add a few lemon slices for squeezing over the cooked legs, and I make a little clarified butter for dipping.
I’m pretty much in cold weather cooking mode this week. Time-to-hunker-down, it’s-brrrr-cold-outside cooking mode. Time to make three-meat spicy chili! Great meaty flavor, beans, and of course, a spicy kick. I know it’s not ‘traditional’ but I love Italian sausage in chili. Love it! This chili also is full of one of my other favorite flavors: chipotles in adobo. Chipotles add that great smokey flavor, and just enough heat that you’re going to notice it. The chili comes out rich and flavorful, absolutely perfect for a cool fall day. I make sure to make a big batch of three-meat spicy chili and freeze some of the extra in single-portion containers for easy lunches throughout the week.
2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped, with some of the sauce
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 bottle Sam Adams beer
1 16 ounce can dark kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 16 ounce can light kidney beans, rinsed, drained
Crumble the meats into a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat.
Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned. Drain any fat that accumulates, if desired.
Reduce heat to medium-high.
Add the minced garlic, bell peppers, chipotles, onion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the peppers and onion have started to soften.
Add the tomatoes and beer. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Stubb’s recently came out with a line of marinades and what they call anytime sauces. Our local grocery store had them all on sale, so I grabbed two or three bottles of each and headed on home with thoughts of the many things I was going to use them in. First up? Wings of course, so I grabbed a bottle of Stubb’s Texas Sriracha anytime sauce and went to work.
I cooked up a batch of wings (that I had first dusted with my Fire-Eater rub) on my charcoal grill using the Vortex insert. I then tossed the wings with a generous pour of Texas Sriracha sauce and proceeded to absolutely devour them. My goodness me oh my, Stubb’s Texas Sriracha sauce is goooood! It’s like the Rooster sauce (er, Sriracha) we all love, but with fantastic southwestern spices and flavors thrown in. I could drink it straight out of the bottle. The heat from the sauce isn’t overpowering. Great flavor and a bit of a kick. It’s what I’d call the perfect bottled sauce, and absolutely the best thing for wings (or grilled chicken, or steak for that matter). It makes for the perfect (kicked up) substitute for the ‘normal’ Sriracha sauce you already use.
I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.
There’s good and then there’s great. Nothing beats Nashville hot chicken when it comes to great fried chicken. The best, light, crunchy coating that you can imagine. Tender, moist chicken. And of course, heat. Plenty of heat. I could make and eat Nashville hot chicken any day of the week.
Because I prefer chicken wings over say, split chicken breasts, I used wings for this dish. They were crazy good. No need for blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce, either. Just pick them up and get to eating.
I don’t recommend being too shy with the spicy coating that you brush on the chicken just before serving. It’s hot, trust me, but I didn’t find it to be so hot that I couldn’t stand it. But don’t get me wrong, your eyes will water. At the minimum.
You’ll find that the coating is so good you’ll want to use it for other things, like chicken nuggets or fingers.
Anita and I definitely both agreed that these slow cooker spicy Italian beef sandwiches were absolutely fantastic. Besides tender, juicy beef, you get great Italian spice flavors, pepperoncini and Giardiniera, along with the kick of hot pepper and the pickling juice from the pepperoncini. All served on a sub bun with plenty of smokey provolone cheese. Every bite of this sandwich is perfect.
To really kick up your sandwiches use hot pepperoncini and Giardiniera, and substitute habanero jack cheese for the provolone. You’ll have the perfect game-time sandwich.
You may or may not need all of the peppers and Giardiniera I listed for the sandwich build. It all depends on how much you like on your sandwiches. Me, I like pepperoncini, and lots of it, on top. I only used the Giardiniera in the slow cooker and didn’t add any to the sandwich. To each his own!