Skittles Popcorn

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.

5 from 1 reviews
Skittles Popcorn
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups of popcorn (plain, unsalted)
  • 4 oz butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of Skittles® (make sure single flavor used
  • Waxed paper
Instructions
  1. Notes: 4 cups cooked per half recipe
  2. Food coloring
  3. Pop your corn according to package instructions. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Rip a sheet of waxed paper (about 8 – 10? long) and lie on your counter.
  5. Melt butter and brown sugar on the stove on medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid scorching.
  6. Pour in the Skittles® candies. Stir until melted (you might need to mash them down to help them dissolve).
  7. Once done melting pour the hot candy mixture over the top of the popcorn.
  8. Use a spatula and fold in the mixture throughout the popcorn until will covered.
  9. Dump the popcorn onto the waxed paper and spread thinly to allow to cool.
  10. 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.
  11. Allow all to fully set (around 15 – 20 minutes)
  12. Store in airtight containers for about a week

Copycat Stove Top Chicken Stuffing

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!
Copycat Stove Top Chicken StuffingI 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.

5 from 1 reviews
Copycat Stove Top Chicken Stuffing
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 10 slices Texas bread, cut or torn into 1/2" x 1/2" pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 rib celery, chopped small
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Spread the bread pieces out on a large baking sheet. Lay the sheet on the counter top for one day, stirring occasionally. You want the bread to get slightly crunchy and dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Note: Baking is only required if you desired a stuffing with a more crunchy texture.
  3. In a pan or pot large enough to hold all of the bread, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Add the celery and saute for 5 minutes.
  5. And all remaining ingredients (do not add the bread yet). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Stir in the bread crumbs and gently stir to coat. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove lid and fluff the mixture and let sit for another 5 minutes.
  8. If baking, transfer to a 9" x 9" baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 20 minutes or until the desired color and texture has been achieved.

Easy Smoked Turkey Breast

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.

I served the turkey with my smoked turkey gravy, made using broth from turkey wings that I smoked on a few days before smoking this easy turkey breast.

5 from 1 reviews
Easy Smoked Turkey Breast
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 turkey breast
 
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.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for cooking at 325 F. If you're using a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker (or any smoker that uses a water pan), line the water pan with foil and do not add water.
  2. Use a fruit wood or lighter wood such as hickory.
  3. Place the turkey breast meat side up in the center of the smoker.
  4. Smoke until the meat reaches 165 F as measured in several locations.
  5. Remove and let rest 30 minutes before slicing. Do not cover with foil as this will cause the skin to get soggy.

New Char-Broil Big Easy Cookbook

It’s here! I just wrapped up the late 2017 Life’s A Tomato free cookbook of recipes for the Char-Broil Big Easy. Now with over 270 pages, it’s bigger than ever!

Here’s just a sample of what you’ll find:

Stubb’s Chicken Rub Chicken
Apple Ale Beer Can Chicken
Bacon BBQ Chicken Bombs
Beer-Can Cabbage
Baby potatoes
Daddy’s BBQ Chicken
Hot Dogs

To download the new Char-Broil Big Easy cookbook, just click Our Free eCookbooks in the menu on the right.

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Smoked Turkey Gravy

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.

5 from 1 reviews
Smoked Turkey Gravy
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 quarts
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of smoked turkey broth
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, more or less (start with 2 tablespoons and add more if needed)
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until golden in color.
  3. Slowly pour in 2-3 cups of the stock, a little at a time, whisking constantly.
  4. Add the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Whisk in some of the milk. Taste and add more if you wish, but don't make the gravy too thin. Let simmer until the desired thickness is achieved. Add more milk if it gets too thick

Smoked Spiral Hot Dogs

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.

5 from 1 reviews
Smoked Spiral Hot Dogs
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Large hot dogs
  • Wooden or bamboo skewers
  • Your favorite rub or seasoning (I used my Fire-Eater seasoning)
Instructions
  1. Fire up your smoker for 225 F. You can also make these hot dogs on a grill
  2. 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.
  3. Lay the skewered dog down onto a cutting board or flat surface.
  4. 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.
  5. Gently pull the dog apart, separating the cuts. Be careful, you don't want to break it.
  6. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning.
  7. Place dogs onto the smoker and smoke for 2 hours. If grilling grill until done as desired.
  8. Serve hot.


Cheddar Walnuts

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!

5 from 1 reviews
Cheddar Walnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 cups
 
Ingredients
For the dry ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons white (yellow is fine too) cheddar popcorn seasoning, such as Kernel Season's
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (for fiery walnuts only)
For the wet ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons red chili pepper hot sauce (for fiery walnuts only)
For the nuts
4 cups walnut halves and pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the dry ingredients
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.
For the wet ingredients
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl.
For the nuts
  1. Add the walnuts to the wet ingredients and stir until well coated.
  2. While still stirring, slowly pour in the dry ingredients, coating the nuts completely.
  3. Pour the walnuts out onto the parchment paper, spreading out evenly.
  4. Bake for 6 minutes, then stir and bake another 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Roasted Cauliflower Version 2.0 on the Char-Broil Big Easy

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.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

5 from 1 reviews
Roasted Cauliflower Version 2.0 on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
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.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Fire up your Big Easy.
  3. Lay a single layer of foil inside the basket and/or bunk bed baskets.
  4. 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.
  5. Lower the basket into the cooker and cook for 10-20 minutes depending on how done you want your cauliflower.
  6. Remove and let cool slightly before seasoning with your favorite seasoning and serving.