Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich

I can now throw away the old recipe I had for making French dip sandwiches. You know the one. Beef, French onion soup, beef broth and beer and that’s it. This version takes that concept to new places. The combination of soy sauce, red wine vinegar and spices really gives these sandwiches a rich fantastic flavor. Of course the meat is fall apart tender, but it’s tasty through-and-through. And the dipping sauce? Straw-worthy.

Slow Cooker French Dip SandwichI put fresh mozzarella slices on the bottom slices of bread before piling them high with the moist meat. The cheese helps keep the bread from getting too soggy. My rule with a messy sandwich has always been: once you pick it up, don’t set it down. Then you won’t have any ‘problems’.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
For the shredded beef
  • 3-4 lb chuck roast (browned first, but that's optional)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can French onion soup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
For the sandwiches
  • French Rolls
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Pickled Peppers or banana peppers
Instructions
For the shredded beef
  1. Brown the roast in a large pot or Dutch oven if desired.
  2. Place remaining beef ingredients into a slow cooker set to high and stir to combine.
  3. Add the beef, cover, and cook 5 hours until the beef is fall-apart tender.
  4. Remove beef (careful as it will crumble) and shred completely. Return to slow cooker for 30 more minutes.
For the sandwiches
  1. Slather rolls with mayo.
  2. Add cheese.
  3. Top with meat and peppers and serve with a bowl of additional slow cooker juices for dipping.

 

Torchbearer Buffalo Chicken Wings

This is the second flavor of Torchbearer wing sauce that I’ve tried. The first, Chipotle, was beyond crazy good with fantastic flavor and heat.

This Buffalo wing sauce is a little tamer in the heat department, but still oh soooo good. This was Anita’s absolute favorite sauce. And her favorite wings of all time. Of all time! Man, that says a lot when you consider how many wings get eaten around here.
Torchbearer Buffalo Chicken WingsI coated these wings first (ala Hooter’s wings) and then deep fried them. Tossed them in Torchbearer sauce and chowed down. And kept chowing. Oh, and don’t waste your time with those scrawny frozen uncooked wings that look like they came off crickets and not chickens. Get the big, fresh family packs.

Get you some of this sauce. You will not be sorry.

Torchbearer Buffalo Chicken Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings, separated
  • 1/2 bottle Torchbearer Buffalo wing sauce
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika in bowl. Divide in half and reserve one half of the mixture.
  2. Coat chicken pieces in half of the mixture mixture and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Coat chicken in leftover flour mixture. Shake off any excess.
  4. Working in batches, cook wings using the Deep Fryer method.
  5. Place wings in a large bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of sauce and toss gently to coat. Serve.

 

Copycat Five Guys Fries

Who doesn’t love a batch of hot, crunchy, tasty fries? Not the kind that are deep-fried just once and have been sitting under a heat lamp for the better part of a day. Hot out of the fryer, after being twice-fried. Perfectly delicious.

Five Guys FriesThe keys to great fries are: consistent sizes, rinsing, and double frying, making sure to let the fries cool down completely between frying. Yummy!

Five Guys Fries
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Russet potatoes, cleaned, but not peeled, cut into fries
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Peanut oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. Preheat 2" of oil in a Dutch oven or deep fryer.
  2. Place the fries into a large bowl and add ice cold water. Agitate the fries and drain. Repeat until the water runs clear of starch.
  3. Dump fries out onto a large towel and pat dry.
  4. Working in batches, deep fry the fries until they turn a light brown color. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Let fries cool to room temperature, at least 10 minutes.
  6. Working in batches, add the fries back to the still hot oil and fry until they reach the desired color and crunch. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

 

Easy Pimento Cheese

There are a lot of variations on pimento cheese. But what really sets this version apart from others is the addition of smoked paprika and celery seed. It takes a somewhat regular tasting salad to a whole new happy place.

Easy Pimento CheesePimento cheese isn’t just great on bread. I love it on baked potatoes and grilled burgers and hot dogs too!

Easy Pimento Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, not drained
  • 1/2 red onion, small diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Your favorite bread
Instructions
  1. Mix all but the salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Refrigerate at least an hour to let flavors blend.
  4. Serve on bread.

 

Copycat Heinz Ketchup

Well, by-golly, this is darned good ketchup! Whether you’re trying to replace the store-bought version or just looking for a nice base recipe to start with for making your own special ketchup, this is it.
Copycat Heinz KetchupI found the honey to really add a very nice sweetness, almost floral hint to the ketchup. I really liked that. And the celery seed also added a really nice twist. I love celery seed, I use it in a lot of sauces but mostly in meat rubs. Start with a little and see how you like the flavor before adding the full 1/4 teaspoon.

I also made a french fry dipping sauce the other day that is rather nice if I say so myself. Check it out!

Copycat Heinz Ketchup
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (I used low salt)
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (I used honey instead)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (try red wine vinegar for a really great twist!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon more or less, celery seed (optional, but adds fantastic flavor)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely before refrigerating.
  4. Ketchup gets even better the next day.

 

Copycat McRib Sandwich

Now, it has been a long time since I had a McRib sandwich. Years. Decades, actually. But, boy did I eat a lot of them in my younger years. So I was happy to run across this copycat version that really brings back (food) memories.

These sandwiches come out very tender, and very tasty. The great taste is thanks to a fantastic sauce. The sauce is so good that I doubled the ingredients to make a bigger batch, enough to serve over boneless wings (awesome!) later. Even if you don’t make these sandwiches, make the sauce. It’s the boss.
Copycat McRib SandwichThe addition of chipotle peppers to the sauce is what gives it that fantastic smokey flavor, with just a little kick. Real McRib sandwiches are also topped with chopped onion, which I omitted because I felt that there was enough onion in the sauce.

Copycat McRib Sandwich
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
For the sauce (which is great on anything!)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, minced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced, in adobo sauce
For the sandwich
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 sandwich rolls
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Dill pickle slices
  • Chopped white onion
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  5. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering until the sauce is thick, 15-20 minutes.
  6. I prefer the sauce to be chunky, so I used the sauce as it was at this point. If you want a less chunky version, blend the sauce using an immersion blender or transfer (after cooling) to a blender to puree.
For the sandwiches
  1. Preheat a large skillet or Griddler to medium-high heat.
  2. Form the pork into thin rectangular patties that are the size of the buns. Season with salt.
  3. Cook 3-5 minutes on one side then flip and cook until pork reaches 165 F.
  4. Brush pork with sauce and flip. Brush other side with sauce. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until the sauce sets up.
  5. Meanwhile, combine butter and garlic salt and brush onto insides of the rolls. Place rolls butter side up under broil for a minute or two to get a little brown.
  6. Serve pork patties on rolls topped with dill pickle slices and onion, if using.

Slow-Cooker Shredded Mexican Beef

Wow. Just wow. I admit, I usually make quick tacos when I’m making tacos. Ya know the kind. Brown some ground beef with taco seasoning. Add some taco sauce. Boom. Done. And good.

Well, that version is good. This version is outstanding. Sure it takes a day to make the beef, but man is it ever worth it. The meat comes out unbelievably flavorful and tender and juice. It has a bit of a kick, but not so much that your I-don’t-like-heat friends won’t like it. There’s nothing it isn’t good on, from tacos to nachos to quesadillas to burritos to whatever.
Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Beef NachosIf you’re looking for a great spicy sauce to top your nachos (or tacos) with, try our Southwestern sauce. It really goes well with this shredded beef.

Slow-Cooker Shredded Mexican Beef
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 4 ounce cans fire-roasted diced green chiles (I used La Victoria)
  • 1 4 ounce can fire-roasted diced jalapenos (I used La Victoria)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 pounds boneless chuck roast,, trimmed as desired
Instructions
  1. Combine all but the roast in a small bowl.
  2. Rub the spice mixture over the roast, getting all sides.
  3. Place roast into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until fall-apart tender.
  4. Remove roast (carefully, as it will tend to fall apart) to a cutting board and chop or shred as desired. Return to the slow cooker for serving.
  5. Note: The meat gets even better the next day. I made this on a Sunday for several easy weekday meals.

 

Dill Hummus with Toasted Pita Wedges

The beauty of hummus is that it is open to almost endless taste options. I’ve made roasted garlic and roasted red pepper hummus, for example. Both were easy to make, and had fairly classic flavors. This dill version is different, with a much more complex flavor. It was absolutely fantastic. You taste every ingredient.

I’m not sure I’d make ‘normal’ hummus again after tasting this.
Dill Hummus with Toasted Pita WedgesI used dried dill since I didn’t have fresh dill on hand, but if you do have the fresh stuff substitute a tablespoon of chopped dill for the dried. Or use more, if you’d like.

Dill Hummus with Toasted Pita Wedges
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
For the hummus
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained, divided
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the toasted pita wedges
  • 6 pita pockets
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
Instructions
For the hummus
  1. Add one can of the beans and the remaining hummus ingredients to a food processor and process until very smooth.
  2. Add the remaining beans and pulse until the beans are mixed in but still chunky.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with a little extra paprika and cayenne pepper for garnish.
For the toasted pita wedges
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Brush pitas with a little oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bake on a sheet pan for 5 minutes until crispy.
  4. Sprinkle with more salt while still hot and cut each pita into 6 wedges.

 

Lentil Soup with Smoked Turkey

I love smoked turkey wings. They have an incredible flavor (and they smell so insanely good too). You can smoke your own, or grab a pack or two of already-smoked wings from your grocery store. In ours, the smoked turkey wings can be found near the smoked hocks in the meat department.

The smoked turkey adds just the right something to this soup. The soup could stand on its own without it, it’s just that good, but add in the turkey and oh yes, soup happiness!
Lentil Soup with Smoked TurkeyI made an extra big batch of this soup and froze some in single serve containers. It’s the perfect winter-time lunch.

Lentil Soup with Smoked Turkey
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 16-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3/4 pound smoked turkey wing (the entire thing, not cut up or skin removed)
  • 4 small red potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add the celery, carrots and onion and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, lentils, smoked turkey and 2 quarts of water.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for about an hour, until the lentils are tender.
  6. Add the potatoes and continue simmering until tender, about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the turkey wing from the pot. Let cool until you can handle it, then remove the meat from the bones and shred or chop slightly. Return the meat to the pot.
  8. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with grated Parmesan for sprinkling if desired.

 

Beer-Battered Fried Mushrooms

Wow, these mushrooms are dangerous. I require some serious restraint around them. The beer batter is perfect. Light and crunchy, it’d work on anything from shrimp to green beans.

Beer-Battered Fried MushroomsI liked dipping these in a tangy (with a bit of horseradish) remoulade from Louisiana Fish Fry products. Ranch dressing would work too, but the kick of the horseradish in the remoulade really made this something special.

Beer Batter Fried Mushrooms
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • Oil, for frying
  • 2 cups beer
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 -2 pounds whole fresh mushrooms (I used a mix of button and baby bellas), dirt brushed off (if you decide to rinse them clean, make sure you dry them thoroughly)
  • Dipping sauce (I used Louisiana Fish Fry's Remoulade Sauce)
Instructions
  1. Bring enough oil to cover the mushrooms (about 3") to 375 F in a Dutch oven or deep fryer.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the beer, flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley flakes until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Add in the mushrooms and toss to coat.
  4. Working in batches, deep fry the mushrooms until golden brown.
  5. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  6. Serve with dipping sauce.