We had a sort-of-good turnout this year at Halloween. Trick-or-treaters came in waves, but not big waves like we had last year. That means we were left with a big ole bowl (actually, three bowls) of leftover Halloween candy. I’m a big fan of Skittles candies, so we had lots of Skittles… so I made Skittles popcorn! Fun to make, the popcorn tastes a bit like caramel corn, but with the sweetness cranked up a few notches. Tangerine, lemon, berry, grape and pear flavors exploded everywhere! Skittles popcorn is mighty darned tasty (and sweet). It doesn’t get super-duper crunchy like caramel corn but it’s still a great treat. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of Skittles candies to make a while lot of popcorn, either.
Some of the colors get a bit thin as they melt, so don’t be afraid to have a few drops of food coloring on hand to bump up the colors.
3/4 cup of Skittles® (make sure single flavor used
Notes: 4 cups cooked per half recipe
Pop your corn according to package instructions. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Rip a sheet of waxed paper (about 8 – 10? long) and lie on your counter.
Melt butter and brown sugar on the stove on medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid scorching.
Pour in the Skittles® candies. Stir until melted (you might need to mash them down to help them dissolve).
Once done melting pour the hot candy mixture over the top of the popcorn.
Use a spatula and fold in the mixture throughout the popcorn until will covered.
Dump the popcorn onto the waxed paper and spread thinly to allow to cool.
If you wish to make popcorn balls, allow mixture to cool for 3 – 4 minutes (or until you can touch it). Then, spray cooking spray or butter your hands and form the popcorn into balls shapes. Set aside.
I’ve made my share of Stove Top Chicken Stuffing. It’s fast, easy, cheap and good. In my bachelor days you’d always find a box or two in my pantry. Now that I cook a lot more from scratch, I decided it was time to give making a copycat of the classic boxed stuffing a shot. And you know what? Man, was it ever as good as the boxed stuff and mighty fun and easy to make! I will definitely double (or triple) this recipe for copycat Stove Top Chicken Stuffing next time. I admit, as much as I love Thanksgiving turkey, I’m really more partial to the stuffing and mashed potatoes, each loaded up with tons of gravy. And for me, my go-to gravy is my make-ahead holiday gravy. I don’t just double the gravy recipe either. More like 6 times as much as the recipe states. Maybe 7. Or 8. Like I said, I love gravy.
I set out to prove to myself just how easy it can be to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving (or any time of the year). That meant no brining, no basting, no rubs, no oils, no injecting. Nothing. Just a turkey breast. To achieve what ended up being a fantastic result, I used a turkey breast that was already in a basting solution. Turkeys that are already pre-brined (or ‘pumped’) are common and they do save you a lot of time and hassle. I was very, very happy with this easy smoked turkey breast. It was completely fuss-free. The skin was nice and crunchy. The meat was tender and moist. All that greatness and all I did was put it on the smoker and make sure the cook temperature stayed around 325 F. I used plenty of wood to get plenty of smoky flavor, which I think made up for the spices or basting sauce I would normally add. This is a great way to make a turkey breast for a crowd while still leaving yourself free for other things.
This recipe uses a 'pumped' turkey breast, or one that has already been brined. The package will state 'contains up to 8% of a solution of water, salt, spices to enhance tenderness and juiciness'. Normally I would use a natural turkey that does not contain such a solution, but the goal was to make as easy a turkey breast as possible.
This is my year-after-year go-to technique for making gravy for turkey. Smoked turkey wings make an absolutely delightful turkey broth that, with just a few more ingredients added, makes a gravy that is perfect for Thanksgiving turkey. Or turkey any time. Making this gravy takes a little effort, but it is very much worth the time. If you want to skip the trouble of making smoked turkey broth, you can make a gravy using roasted turkey wings instead. In a pinch you can use store-bought turkey broth instead, but it truly won’t be as magical. Using smoked turkey to make the broth really adds a tremendous flavor to the gravy. It is something I look forward to all year long.
What fun these smoked spiral hot dogs were to make and devour! I’ve made spiral dogs before, but this technique is much better than my old way. The key is inserting a skewer thru the dogs to keep them together after slicing. And of course, the skewer keeps you from slicing in too far. I smoked my spiral dogs, but you could just as easily grill them. Anita and I recently ran across The Mustard Man at an event at the Jungle Jim’s market in Fairfield, OH. After sampling each of mustard I instantly picked up a bottle of each one. They are truly fantastic. I squeezed a bit of the Simple Pepper and Simply Maple on each of our spiral dogs. The mustard runs down into the spirals, filling each bite with mustardy goodness. We cannot recommend The Mustard Man’s mustard enough!
Love hot dogs as much as I do? Check out my free eCookbook that is packed with tons of hot dog recipes.
Fire up your smoker for 225 F. You can also make these hot dogs on a grill
Carefully guide the skewer through the center of the hot dogs. If you get the skewer crooked at it pokes out of the side of the dog just pull it back and try again. I found that laying the hot dogs down on a flat surface and sliding the skewer in from the side, parallel to the counter top, worked best.
Lay the skewered dog down onto a cutting board or flat surface.
Holding a knife at a 45 degree angle, starting at one end of the dog, cut into the dog down to the skewer. Start rolling the hot dog, keeping the knife inserted into the hot dog, making cuts that are about 1/2" apart. Continue rolling and cutting until you reach the other end of the hot dog.
Gently pull the dog apart, separating the cuts. Be careful, you don't want to break it.
Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning.
Place dogs onto the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. If grilling grill until done as desired.
I’m usually a pecan kind of guy, but these cheddar walnuts made a walnut believer out of me with just one nut. Great buttery texture with a sharp cheddar coating, these nuts disappear in no time. I made the nuts two ways: a nice mellow cheddar version, and a spicy fiery cheddar version. Anita took these walnuts to work, and I can tell you I definitely didn’t make enough. They were loved by all! There’s no reason you couldn’t use the same approach I used to make cheddar walnuts on other nuts, such as pecans or peanuts. Just keep in mind, smaller nuts will roast quicker, so you might want to cut back on the baking time.
I like spicy foods, so I wouldn’t be afraid to double the hot and spicy ingredients and make a super-duper double-spicy version either. But I would put up a little sign by them if I was serving them to a crowd. No point in hurting someone!
Cauliflower is something we make often on the Big Easy. It takes absolutely no time at all to prepare and always comes out perfect. In the past I’ve roasted entire heads of cauliflower in the Big Easy. The only trick to using a whole head of cauliflower is that you have to make sure you buy one that’ll fit into the Big Easy basket. This time (aka Version 2.0) I thought I’d try using florets instead. And for a little color and ‘ahhhhh’ factor, I used a combination of purple and orange cauliflower. Topped with what has become our house-favorite seasoning, Casa Seasoning from AlbuKirky Seasonings, this cauliflower was tender and tasty. Perfect. To keep the florets from failing thru the Big Easy baskets I lined them foil. With the addition of two bunk bed baskets you could easily cook a good-sized head of cauliflower. You can also use this same recipe for making broccoli.
Roasted Cauliflower Version 2.0 on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 4 servings
Too cook a medium head of cauliflower all at once I used two bunk bed baskets, both lined with foil. You could get by with a single bunk bed basket and then also line the bottom of the Big Easy basket with foil.
1 medium head cauliflower, steamed or boiled until just softened
Note: I prefer to remove the florets from the cauliflower and then steam them. You can also boil them, but steaming them isn't as violent so they tend to stay together. Also, if you are using purple or orange cauliflower boiling tends to remove some of the color.
Fire up your Big Easy.
Lay a single layer of foil inside the basket and/or bunk bed baskets.
Add the cauliflower in a single layer. Try to not over-crowd too much. A little is ok, but stacking them won't result in even roasting.
Lower the basket into the cooker and cook for 10-20 minutes depending on how done you want your cauliflower.
Remove and let cool slightly before seasoning with your favorite seasoning and serving.